---- — By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- A young Shikellamy wrestling team had one major goal this season, qualify for the District 4 Class AAA dual meet.
After Tuesday night's Big Seven meet with Central Mountain, the Braves' margin of error for meeting their goal got a little smaller.
Central Mountain won nine of 14 bouts, including six of the first seven to start the meet on its way to 45-17 Big Seven League win over the Braves.
The loss drops the Braves to 7-7 on the season with two matches remaining before Saturday's deadline for qualifying, Thursday against Williamsport and Saturday against Bald Eagle Area.
"We have to win Thursday to qualify for district duals. We are favored to win that," Shikellamy coach John Supsic said. "We'll have our guys ready and the guys know what is on the line. I'm pretty confident we'll take care of business on Thursday night."
The Wildcats were coming off a long weekend down at the Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock South High School where they finished eighth. Coach Doug Buckwalter knew his charges were tired with the addition of Tuesday's long road trip to Sunbury.
"It was definitely a long weekend and it will be a long drive home (tonight)," Buckwalter said. "(The kids) responded real well. I gave them a little incentive that if they wrestled hard tonight, we might even give them a day off tomorrow."
Shikellamy (7-7) hoped to get the night kicked off with a close win in the opening bout at 145 pounds. Shikellamy's Nick Cashdollar and Zach Knepp of Central Mountain were evenly matched and were scoreless for the first two periods. Cashdollar let Knepp up, allowing an escape and Knepp then capitalized with a takedown to open up a 3-0 lead. Cashdollar answered with an escape with 27 seconds left in the match and a takedown with 20 seconds left to tie the match.
Knepp was able to take the victory, 5-3, when he picked up a reversal with five seconds left in the match.
"That was match we could have won at the beginning," Supsic said. "It was so close, when you are wrestling a good team, that would have been good for momentum, but we didn't get it."
That's how the night went for the Braves, especially early on, as every even match seemed to go the way of the Wildcats (10-1, 4-0 Big 7).
"Obviously we didn't win some of those close matches we would have like to have won, but we wrestled hard," Supsic said. "I told the kids before we went out there, that if we wrestled hard, I'd have no complaints. I didn't like the outcome, but I liked the effort I got (from the kids)."
The Wildcats won the first four bouts of the meet before Jesse Shambach got the Braves on the board with a major decision at 182 pounds, but Shikellamy was unable to get another victory until Nick Gittens at 106.
Dylan Houseknecht (120), Tristan Paul (132) and Jared Brown (138) were the other winners for Shikellamy.
Devin Stacey (170), Blaze Buckwalter (195), Bryce Hanley (285) and Aaron Confer (126) all had pins for Central Mountain.