By Bill Albright
For The Daily Item
MILL HALL -- It was along, hard day of wrestling for the Line Mountain and Mifflinburg wrestling squads as the first day of the 2013 King of the Mountain unfolded at Wildcat gymnasium.
The young Line Mountain crew ran into some bumps on the road in the first round, but managed to advance four wrestlers into the Round of 16.
Picking up wins for the Eagles were Collin Klinger (106 pounds), Brian Earlston (113), Cameron Newman (120) and Brendan Renn (182).
In the round of 16, the trip didn't get any easier for the Eagles as they could only win one of the four matchups.
Brian Earlston, on the heels of his win in the Top Hat Tournament, defeated Dave Campbell of Boyertown 7-0 for his quarterfinal berth after downing Joel Orlando of Schuylkill Valley by fall in 1:54.
In the quarters, Earlston ran into a tough cookie in Luke Karam of Bethlehem Catholic and was pinned at 2:42 of the bout to fall back into the wrestlebacks.
"He is only a freshman and he went out and competed," said Eagles coach Mike Martz. "That is the way it is with all of our guys. Going into the season, the only pressure on them is to get little bit better every day. As long as they do that, we are going to be happy."
Although the Eagles are without a semifinalist, Martz liked what he saw from his young grapplers.
"I thought they wrestled hard," said Martz. "We have a young team and that is why we come here, to improve. The key for them is how are they going to respond as to whether they are going to learn from their mistakes or just brush them aside. The effort was there, but the results didn't come."
In his next bout in the consolations, Earlston is pitted against Wyatt Long of Cumberland Valley.
The Wildcats found the going tough in the opening round.
After dropping their first seven bouts, they turned things up a notch or two, energized by a Cole Walter win at 152.
Following Walter's lead, Ryan Gessner (170) and Nazar Mironenko (285) each recorded wins.
In the Round of 16, the Wildcats went 2-for-3 with wins by Walter and Mironenko and a loss by Gessner.
Walter was pushed to the limit for a 6-5 win over Dominic Vitale of Benton before Mironenko majored David Crafton of Kittanning 11-3. Sandwiched between the pair of wins was the loss by Gessner when he was the victim of a fall at the hands of Connor Murphy of Boiling Springs.
In the quarterfinals, Walter and Mironenko both kept their hopes alive for possible gold medals as each posted an impressive win.
Walter easily outpointed Jeff Reimel of North Penn 8-1 for his trip to the semis, while Mironenko dominated Noah Davis of Boiling Springs 10-4.
In the semis, Walter will face Mason Bentzel of Spring Grove, while Mironenko is slated against Scott Augustine of Erie McDowell.
Wrestling is scheduled to continue this morning with a round of consolations followed by the championship semifinals and another round of consolations at 10:15. The championship finals and place matches are set to begin at 12:30 p.m.