By: Willie Saylor – Editor â€“ The Open Mat
When William Randt was wrestling in an early round of Saturdayâ€™s PAWF Freestyle Championships, his fatherâ€™s face was one of stern concentration. Despite competing against Colin Shober, this yearâ€™s PIAA folkstyle champion, Randt was very obviously convinced he could win. And he did.
The inherent nature of a wrestler usually prescribes a confident, almost impudent attitude. Every wrestler knows that when you take the mat, you wrestle, and expect, to win.
Thatâ€™s why the body language and comments of Dylan and Andrew Altonâ€™s opponents are so rare and comical.
Sure, Randt had already defeated one folkstyle state champion on the day, but when he entered his semifinal bout with Dylan Alton, the uncommon signs of futility showed through early. After being taken down quickly for a second time, Randt returned his fatherâ€™s smile from the mat as if to say, â€˜hey, what do you expect?â€
Mark Hartenstine had beaten everyone in the state entering his finals appearance. In fact, he hadnâ€™t lost a period or even given up an offensive takedown. After losing the first period to Andrew Alton, he came to his corner and looked surprisingly at his father and said, â€œHeâ€™s tough!â€
The Alton twins were two of the three Penn State recruits to win state freestyle titles Saturday, an award that sends them to Fargo, North Dakota, to compete for a national title.
Andrew defeated Luke Lohr by fall in the semiâ€™s before dispatching Mark Hartenstine in the 140 lb. finals 6-0, 7-2.
Dylan won the 145lb title via victories in the semiâ€™s over William Randt, 6-0, 5-0 and in the finals 6-0, 5-0 over Columbia-signee Jake Oâ€™Hara.
Their soon-to-be teammate, Ed Ruth, joined them in the winnerâ€™s circle by capturing the 189 lb title. He defeated James Nicholson in the semifinals 5-1, 3-1, and state folkstyle place winner, Andrei Petroski, 6-0, 6-1 in the finals.
I caught up with Ed after the finals. On a prior occasion he had stated he would not be competing at Fargo. He had this to say, when I asked him if that was still the plan, or if he had reconsidered: â€œNo, Iâ€™m not going to be competing at Fargo. Itâ€™s a great tournament, but itâ€™s not something I want to do this summer. This (the PAWF Jrâ€™s) is a good tournament with quality opponents. I wanted to get in some good matches.â€
I asked him about his weight situation; Ruth is an in-season 171lber who has been wrestling up at 189 in recent tournaments. â€œIâ€™m around 180, 185. I just donâ€™t want to cut weight. Itâ€™s my kryptonite. Especially in the summer.â€
Another potential Nittany Lion, Max Huntley, is Edâ€™s workout partner at Blair Academy. When I asked what Max was up to, and if heâ€™d like to see his buddy as a Nittany Lion, Ruth stated, â€œheâ€™s doing well. Heâ€™ll be taking a post-grad year at Blair and then deciding. I canâ€™t speak for Max, but I think heâ€™s looking at Michigan and Penn St. Of course Iâ€™d love to have him as a workout partner again.â€