3 Southern wrestlers, 1 from Line Mountain advance to state quarterfinals
HERSHEY - Southern Columbia's football team has had a lot of success in Hershey over the years. Maybe some of that has rubbed off on the wrestlers.
The Tigers went 3-for-3 Thursday in the first round of the PIAA Class AA State Wrestling Championships, with Kent Lane (126), Blake Marks (152) and Jake Becker (285) all winning. They were joined by Line Mountain's Seth Lansberry (138) in advancing to today's quarterfinals, and although the Eagles' other entrant,
Cam Newman (106), lost his first round bout, he came back to win in the consolation round and will also be wrestling today.
Lane (38-0) was a 7-0 winner at over Pen Argyl's Andrew Sutton, Marks decisioned Fort Leboeuf's Taylor Harrington and Becker pinned Biglerville's Trevor Stover, a sixth-place finisher last season, in 8:17 of overtime ultimate rideout.
Lansberry was a 9-0 winner over Saegertown's Matt Humes at 138.
Newman dropped a 10-4 decision in the first round to Palisades' Jacob Wasser but bounced back for a 10-3 consolation win over Wilson's Jaryd Flank.
"It's a great day for Southern wrestling," said Tigers head coach Jerry Marks. "But this place is funny. Anything can happen down here. It's all a big mental game. We're there, but you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. We have to come out tomorrow and be ready or this won't mean that much."
Lane's 7-0 win over Sutton was not as decisive as it sounds. After a first period takedown, he couldn't do much with the Pen Argyl wrestler for the next four minutes.
Lane almost had a reversal in the second period but couldn't pop his head out from underneath for the points. He finally got a third-period reversal and slipped from there into a cradle for three late back points.
"That kid was funky," said Lane. "He didn't have any legitimate moves. When you wrestle someone like that you have to stay in good position. You get in trouble when you get out of position.
"He just pretty much put himself into that (the cradle). But that's exactly what happens with those kids. You live by that stuff and you die by it."
"Kent had to be careful with that kid," Coach Marks said. "We knew the kid was kind of funky and you just never know what will happen when you wrestle a kid like that."
Lane will wrestle Jefferson-Morgan's John Demaske (27-4) in today's quarterfinals. Demaske was a 6-0 winner over Saegertown's Nick Monico.
Lansberry (36-4) was also frustrated early in his bout with Humes. The bout was scoreless after the first period but Lansberry quickly escaped from the bottom in the second, got a takedown and two back points.
"You're always frustrated when a kid is really defensive on his feet and they don't do anything," Lansberry said. "But that's what the other periods are for. I've been going to workouts at Bucknell and Coach Ian (Assael, of the Bison Legends Wrestling Club) pounds it into our heads that you can't think too much when you're wrestling. You have to do things by instinct. I knew I could ride him on top, and then I got some back points too, and the whole match just changed."
Lansberry will face Nick Gavazzi (35-2) of Charleroi in today's quarterfinals.
Blake Marks, wrestling in his first state tournament as a freshman, said he had a real flareup of nerves before his win over Harrington.
"Butterflies doesn't say it," Marks joked. "I felt like I was going to puke. Usually that's all gone by the time I'm on the mat but I was more nervous than usual because this was states."
Marks thought he had a first-period takedown but Harrington countered and got the takedown instead, and almost got back points as well but time ran out.
"Thank God it was at the end of the period," Marks said.
But Marks, working from top, took a 5-2 lead in the second period with two back-point combinations, one for two points and the other for three. He escaped in the third period and gave up a takedown as time ran out.
"That was a good kid he beat," said Blake's dad, Coach Marks. "We looked at him on tape and knew it was going to be tough."
Marks (35-5) will wrestle Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog (29-4) in the quarterfinals.
Becker (37-4) saved the best for last. Giving up at least 40 pounds to Stover, the bout went into overtime 1-1 after each wrestler had an escape. After the one-minute overtime in which neither wrestler scored, each rode the other for 30 seconds. Stover (36-4) had a chance to win by riding out Becker again, but this time Becker got a reversal and put Stover on his back for the pin.
"It feels great," Becker said. "He placed sixth last year so I planned everything on beating him and then just taking one match at a time. I was giving up a lot of weight."
Stover almost rolled Becker into takedowns several times but the Southern wrestler was able to work out of the jams.
"Every time I could feel he was close I tried to get to the edge of the mat," Becker said.
Becker almost got back points during his rideout period but wasn't quite strong enough to get Stover turned over.
Becker will wrestle Burrell sophomor Allan Beattie (37-8) in today's quarterfinals.
Newman comes back
Newman took an early 2-0 lead in his first bout, but Wasser used an escape and takedown to take a 3-2 lead, then dominated the second period with an escape, takedown and three back points on a cradle.
But the Eagle sophomore bounced back strong in his consolation bout against Flank. Ironically, Flank (32-4) was the Southeast Region runner-up and Wasser (37-6) only placed fifth at that regional.
"I think I was a little overconfident this morning," Newman said.
"After that match I just went and sat and thought about the next match. I knew if I lost it would be my last match."
Flank had 3-2 lead going into the final period but Newman, wrestling from bottom, scored a reversal and two three-point tilts for an 8-0 third period. It was Newman's first state win in four tries.
"It sure does (feel good to win)," he said.
Newman (35-8) will wrestle in the second consolation round today against the loser of a quarterfinal bout.
North Schuylkill's Auston Hummel dropped a 17-5 decision to Kane's Evan DeLong in the first round at 160 but came back for a 5-2 consolation win over Penns Valley's Corey Hazel.
The Spartans' Tanner Dean (220) lost his first round bout to Cochranton's Cam Cyphert by pin.