MEADVILLE — It had been nine years since a Corry wrestler had taken down a title in the Tool City Tournament.
That all changed on Saturday night as Beaver senior Michael Pollard completed an awesome weekend winning the 189-pound championship 11-1 over defending champ R.J. Malson and earned the Class AAA "outstanding wrestler" award.
Pollard, who plans to attend Mercyhurst College, snowballed his way through the tourney with two first-period pins before his stellar effort in the finals against a top-notch foe.
Malson not only won at Tool City last season, he was a Class AA district and regional champ, finishing fourth at states.
Besides Pollard, Corry's Jake Kondrlik made the finals at 145 pounds before losing 3-1 in the finals to Greenviille's second-seeded Cody Copeland.
Nash Walters (215) and Dustin Taubert (171) won fifth-place matches while Levi Catalfu (112) wound up sixth.
Corry, as a team, was ninth in a tough expanded field with Ridgway first followed by Greenville and Fort LeBoeuf.
“Both of our guys in the finals wrestled well, it’s so competitive here,” said coach Skip Laird. “Jake put on a great effort, he has nothing to hang his head down about,
“For Michael it’s a nice step along the way. I’m pleased but he needs to continue to work hard,” he stated. “He finished strong, that late takedown was important — he’s rounding into 6-minute shape.”
Pollard, now 21-1, pinned Clearfield's Cliff Hill in just 1:21 in the semis.
In the finals, he wasted no time in taking down Malson and nearly getting back points, settling for a 2-0 lead after one period. He made it 4-0 at 1:38 of the second with a takedown, using a bar arm move for two nearfall points and a 6-1 lead after a late escape for a five-point lead after two stanzas.
In the third, Pollard started on the bottom and registered a reversal, finishing Molson off with a power half-nelson for three back points.
Kondrlik also had a first-period pin in the noon-time semifinals decking Ridgway's Nate Donish. In the finals, Greenville's Copeland scored an early takedown and led 2-0 after one. A second caution call against the Beaver senior gave Copeland a 3-0 lead after two. Kondrlik’s lone point came with :10 seconds left for stalling.
A year ago here, Kondrlik clipped Copeland 7-2 for third place at 140.
Taubert bounced back from Friday’s 6-5 loss by winning 1-0 , losing by pin and winning 3-1 over LeBoeuf’s Craig Cihon.
Walters lost 6-1 in the semis, then 1-0 in consolations before 6-4 win over General McLane’s Travis Bryant.
Catalfu won 8-2 Saturday morning, then lost 18-2. For fifth place, he had a rematch with Cathedral Prep’s Adam Sallott who had won Friday’s quarterfinal match, 12-5. This time it went two overtimes before the Rambler prevailed, 3-2.
Dan Scouten (135) had a 41-second pin before getting pinned and wound up one win from placing.
“I can’t say enough about Nash’s effort, giving up so much weight,” said Laird. “Dustin and Levi had good tournaments and Daniel just missed a medal.”
Corry was again without two of its top wrestlers with Austin Gillihan second here a year ago, and Kevin Kerr, still sidelined with injuries.
The Beavers have an important region dual match at home on Wednesday night, then host the Corry Duals this weekend with eight matches on tap including bouts with Cathedral Prep, General McLane, Conneaut Lake and Keystone (who are coached by Corry grad Tim Curtis).
“We’ll have our hands full Wednesday, we’ll be the underdog against Meadville,” said Laird, who expects Kerr back in the lineup and Gillihan for the duals.
“One thing, we are home all week,” he added.