By Lisa Byers
When Titusville won the coin flip and the right to pick the matchups for Thursday night’s Region 4 dual match against Crawford County rival Meadville, it looked as though the wind was blowing in the Rockets’ favor.
But a few of the Bulldogs had some unfinished business to take care of against the Rockets.
Titusville did pick up three falls and won another bout by technical fall, but it was Meadville coming up with the clutch wins en route to a thrilling 33-31 victory over the Rockets at the House of Thrills.
“We worked to our strengths during the match,” Meadville coach Barry Anderson said. “We found a way to win a few of those matches, the pivotal one being the first one. That set the table.
“Then Ashton Longstreth comes out in that second-to-last match and comes up big for us again.”
The 170-pound bout between Patrick Adams and Tristan Nadolny; the 132-pound bout between Derek Ridgeway and Chase Ackerman; and the 152-pound tilt between Longstreth and Cameron Daugherty wound up being big ones for the Bulldogs.
The match started at 170 pounds. Adams, who weighed in at 153 pounds, took the lead on Nadolny with a takedown 45 seconds into the bout. Adams extended that lead to 4-0 with a reversal with 1:47 remaining in the bout. A penalty point and escape pulled Nadolny within two. He tied it with a reversal with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.
“That was an intense match,” Adams said. “I knew what I had to do and fortunately I was able to come away with the win.”
Nadolny and Adams circled momentarily, but just 13 seconds into the overtime period Adams drove Nadolny to the mat for the takedown, giving him a 6-4 win. And it also gave the Bulldogs a crucial 3-0 lead.
Meadville extended that lead to 9-0 with Louis Crawford’s forfeit win at 182 pounds.
Titusville got on the board at 195 pounds with Dan Stearns’ 17-9 major decision over Dakota Turk.
Luke Carr answered at 220 for the Bulldogs with a 5-1 decision over Tyler Nicol. But the Rockets followed with pins at 285 and 106 to take a 16-12 advantage.
Aaron Ehrgott put Meadville back in the lead with a 16-1 technical fall over Kaleb Chase at 113 pounds. That was a satisfying bit of revenge for Ehrgott. Two years ago, he and Chase met in a 106-pound bout in a regular season dual. Chase won the match 8-3, giving the Rockets a 36-33 victory.
Ehrgott’s victory last night gave the Bulldogs some important bonus points. However, another fall for the Rockets allowed Titusville to regain the lead at 22-17.
Meadville did pull to within one (22-21) with Kyle Luben’s major decision over Hunter Wagner at 126 pounds.
The Bulldogs then retook the lead on the second of three two-point decisions by the Bulldogs. This pivotal one belonged to Ridgeway in a rematch with Ackerman, who beat the Meadville sophomore 12-7 a year ago in Titusville’s 42-28 win.
Ackerman had a 2-1 lead after the first period. In the second, Ackerman deferred choice. Ridgeway picked bottom and earned the escape early in the period to tie the score at 2-2.
Ridgeway turned Ackerman to his back with 1:13 to go for three near fall points and a 5-2 lead. Ackerman scored the reversal and let Ridgeway go in an attempt to work the takedown. But time ran out and Ridgeway finished with a 6-4 win.
“It was tough,” Ridgeway said about last year’s loss to Ackerman. “I had a good match and was almost going into overtime with him, but I tripped at the end of that third period. So it was nice to get some revenge.”
Titusville did retake the lead at 138 pounds with Dalton Burns’ major decision over Brock Ridgeway. But a forfeit victory to Kris Nottingham at 145 pounds gave Longstreth the opportunity to win it for the Bulldogs at 152 pounds. And he seized that opportunity, edging Daugherty 3-1.
“It felt kind of good,” Longstreth said. “I just went out there and got tough with him. I felt pretty good through the first period and then I got kind of tired, but I stuck it out and rode him out in the end.”
Returning state qualifier Ehrin Lee finished off the match with a 16-0 technical fall at 160 pounds for Titusville. The match, however, already belonged to the Bulldogs.
“You tip your hat to those guys,” Titusville coach Mo Burns said. “They got wins where they needed to get wins and bonus points where they needed to get bonus points.
“They did what they had to do to score more points than us (last night).”
Meadville improved to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in Region 4 with the win. The Bulldogs are now off until the 35th annual Tool City Tournament, which begins Jan. 3 at the House of Thrills.
Titusville is now 1-2 overall and in Region 4.