Cochranton senior Samantha Boozer, in many ways, personifies the Cardinals wrestling team.
Both Boozer and the team are small. Boozer is a 106-pounder, while the Cardinals are dressing just nine wrestlers in total. Such size issues may cause an opponent to overlook her or the team in general.
Yet, both Boozer and the Cards are capable of using the tools that they have to do some damage on the mat.
And Friday night against Cambridge Springs, Boozer and the Cardinals did indeed do some damage.
Boozer’s pin in 1:25 over the Spa’s Archie Loop during the 113-pound bout provided the exclamation point to the Cards’ 46-30 victory over the Blue Devils during Region 2 action at the Birdcage.
“It was senior night,” said Boozer, who will be wrestling for the Lock Haven University women’s wrestling team next year. “I’m always considered an underdog, and I was bumping up a weight class. So, it was a big win.”
Her victory did indeed receive the night’s biggest ovation from the crowd.
“Everybody just roots for her,” said Cochranton coach John Svirbly. “They know she’s an underdog. She works so hard to be where she’s at right now. Everybody just sees that and they want her to win. Everybody always cheers for her.”
It being the Cardinals’ last home match this season, Svirbly made sure Boozer would see some action, even if that meant bumping her up to 113.
“We were going to wrestle her at 113 no matter what,” he said. “I wanted her to wrestle on senior night. Whether we were going to win a match or lose a match, it didn’t matter. I wanted her to wrestle.”
Boozer’s was the eighth victory for the Cardinals out of nine contested bouts. Seven of those victories came via fall.
“They really showed up tonight,” said Svirbly, “starting with our two freshmen.”
The match started at 126, where 9th grader Jake Yarnell scored a 13-5 major over the Spa’s Zach Krien. Then at 132, fellow freshman Kris Whitman followed that up with a pin in 1:40 over Chris Crouse.
“Kris had been hurt,” said Svirbly. “But he came back and wrestled tough. And everybody just started rolling from there.”
Matt Bryer at 138, R.J. Boozer at 145 and Caleb Peterson at 152 made it four consecutive wins by fall for Cochranton. Bryer — ranked eighth in the state by Pennsylvania Wrestling Rankings — ended his match with Jake Pond in 1:03. Both Boozer’s (over Casey Lydic) and Peterson’s (over Colton Cox) were in the second period.
Then, Cambridge Springs’ Dylan Reynolds interrupted Cochranton’s run with a pin in 1:49 over Cochranton’s Chris Powers.
But 15th-ranked 170-pounder Austin Andrews turned it back around for the Cardinals, working Weston Stafford’s shoulders to the mat in 3:21.
And fifth-ranked Cam Cyphert added a 59-second fall over Matt Lydic to win the 220-pound bout.
Cambridge received forfeits at 120, 182, 195 and 285. The 106-pound match was a double forfeit.
Interestingly, the win for Cochranton (9-4) comes on the eve of Cambridge Springs (15-11) taking the Cardinals’ place in the District 10 Class AA Team Duals Tournament. The Cards pulled out because they have such a small squad.
“With the low numbers, and we had a few guys get hurt, it’s kind of disappointing,” Sam Boozer said. “But to be accepted to go to it, that was pretty awesome, with just nine kids. We showed it (on Friday), we can hang with these teams.”