INDIANA – Sometime, wrestling requires a little luck.
Take the 113-pound weight class in the PIAA Class AA Southwest Region Tournament Saturday at Indiana University.
Calan Bollman, a sophomore from Chestnut Ridge, came into the tournament as the top-ranked wrestler at that weight class in the state.
Bryce Beatty, a senior from Mount Union, came in as fish food for Bollman, carrying a 10-1 record and finishing third in District 6.
Just 20 minutes into the tournament, Beatty had a 5-3 decision and Bollman was struggling to stay in the tournament. Beatty was left comfortably qualified for next week’s Suber-Region right back here at Indiana University.
So how does this effect the local kid in the weight class. Well, Chris Vargo of Bentworth was seated on the other side of the bracket, expecting to see Bollan, not Beatty, in the finals.
“This can be a crazy tournament,” said Bentworth wrestling coach Mike Shrader.
Vargo came away with a relatively easy 8-1 decision in the finals over Beatty.
Vargo got there with a 5-0 victory over Nathan Polenski, a senior from North Star; and 9-1 major decision over Coen Bainey, a sophomore from Bald Eagle Area.
“I figured that if I wrestled the way I can, then no one can beat me,” said Vargo, who is 14-0 and came into this event as the third seed.
“I focused on staying in the middle of the mat. At WPIALs. I wrestled too much at the edge of the mat. After that match, I went home and did a two-hour workout. I worked on my finishes and worked on my tough ride. Actually, that’s what’s been winning me these matches, my tough ride on top.”
Vargo is the first regional champion from Bentworth since his brother won a title in 2018. If named the top-ranked wrestler in Class AA 113, Vargo would be the first one in program history to be recognized as such.
“I didn’t change my outlook,” said Vargo about possibly being No.1 in the state. “I do a lot of film study. It’s probably not a good thing,”
Vargo used three double-leg shots for takdeowns as Beatty seemed confused by each one. After that, it was just a matter of not making a mistake for Vargo.
“There is something out there for everybody,” said Shrader, referring to the scouting that goes on. “Chris is pretty diversified. He’s not just a right leg lead or a left-leg lead. You can’t say he does one thing all the time.”
Other local wrestlers moving on were Parker Sentipal, a freshman from Burgettstiwn at 106; his brother Joey, a senior at 126; Gavin Suica, a freshman from Burgettstown at 120; Kyle McCollum (132), a junior from Beth-Center and his teammate Tyler Berish (145), a sophomore; Ethan Barr (172) of McGuffey; and Shane Kemper (189) of Burgettstown.
“So far, so good,” said BC head coach Gary Welsh. “Like postseason is at this stage of the game, there’s some good, some bad. We found a way to win some of the dirty matches.”
The top five wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Super Region at IUP Saturday.
“Up here, it is what it is,” said Burgettstown head coach Joey Vigliotti. “They are all tough one-point matches. So I tell our guys get ready six to eight minutes.”