Tigers' Lane claims D-4 crown
WILLIAMSPORT - It won't be a large area contingent going to next weekend's Northeast AA Regional, but led by Southern Columbia, it will be a good one.
Eight area wrestlers, including four from Southern, advanced through Saturday's District 4 AA tournament at Williamsport High School.
Southern 126-pounder Kent Lane was the only area champion, remaining unbeaten at 34-0 by beating previously unbeaten Logan Everett of Williamson 7-2 in the final.
Southern freshman Blake Marks and Line Mountain senior Seth Lansberry were both second at 152 and 138, respectively.
In addition, the Tigers' Jake Becker and Line Mountain's Cam Newman took third at 285 pounds and 106, respectively, and Shamokin's Zach Biddiscombe was fourth at 220.
Southern Columbia's Brett Shepard (113) and Mount Carmel's Blake Panko (138) each advanced by placing fifth. Southern finished sixth in the team standings with 78.5 points.
"The kids are starting to buy into our program," Southern coach Jerry Marks said. "We don't have a lot of kids but the kids we have are workers. They want to win and are winning. To finish in the top five or so at districts with about seven kids, that's pretty impressive. I think our elementary and junior high programs are starting to pay off."
Nobody was more impressive than Lane. The sophomore domi-
nated Warrior Run's Brian LeBarron, the East section champ, with a 19-4 technical fall in the semifinals, then had not much rougher a time in a 7-2 finals win over Everett (33-1).
"I've worked on some areas of weakness since last year," said Lane.
"I've worked on the bottom and on wrestling on my feet and getting better shots, and I'vedeveloped some better attacks."
"Kent Lane is on a mission after (states) last year," said Jerry Marks. "He is the epitome of the wrestler who will wrestle all year.
He and his family are on a quest. He'll probably be up at 6:30 tomorrow morning to go to State College or somewhere to work out."
Blake Marks (32-4) had the tournament's biggest upset, when he pinned returning state runner-up Kyle Barnes of Hughesville in the semifinal round with a second left in their match. In the final, he dropped a 9-1 decision for the second week in a row to Milton junior Ryan Preisch (26-4).
"Preisch is going to be on the (state) podium somewhere this year," said Jerry Marks. "Even though the score was the same as last week, I think Blake was a little more comfortable this week."
That was because of confidence he gained with his win over Barnes, the younger Marks said.
Marks tied Barnes 1-1 after a late escape. In the waning seconds, Barnes took a shot and Marks rolled him right onto his back at the edge of the mat and got the pin with a second left.
"I faked a shot and Barnes came in on me. He got way on top of me and I grabbed his heel and just kind of flopped him over on his back," Blake said.
Lansberry (33-3) dropped a much-anticipated 138 final to former teammate Zain Retherford. Lansberry initiated much of the early action but Retherford (40-0) had an escape and takedown in the second period and another takedown in the third.
Still, Lansberry was happy with how he wrestled.
"I hadn't wrestled him for awhile," Lansberry. "I hit him on the leg but I didn't finish and you have to do that with someone like him.
I'll go back and watch film with my coaches and we'll try to figure some things out.
Lansberry was a 16-4 semifinal winner over Bloomsburg's Sam Miller.
Newman (31-7) had to work his way through four consolation wins after losing to Lewisburg's Brian Friery on Friday but got revenge with a 5-2 win over Friery in the third-place match. He had two pins in earlier bouts.
Becker (33-3) went 4-0 in consolation bouts Saturday. He was a 3-0 winner over Mount Carmel's Seth Stablewski in the first round of consolations, then had a 4-0 win over South Williamsport's Marco Estrella in the seciond round. He took a 3-1 overtime win in the consolation semifinals over North section champ Dalton Chilson of Wyalusing before finally pinning North Penn's Nate Kriner, the West champ, in 4:25 in the third-place bout.
Biddiscombe (24-11) had a solid tournament, with four wins, all by pins. He had three pins Saturday, over Benton's Marcus Welliver, Northeast Bradford's Richard Forbes and West champion Connor Bassett of Montoursville. He dropped a 13-3 decision to Central Columbia's Eric McCracken (33-5) in the third-place match.
Sheppard lost his first two bouts, dropping a 9-1 semifinals decision to Central Columbia's Taylor Johnson and a 6-3 second round consolation to Mifflinburg's Cooper Wagner, but bounced back for a 7-2 win in the fifth-place match over Hughesville's Trevor Sones. He'll take a 28-8 record to the regional.
Panko won three of four consolation bouts to advance. He was a 10-1 first round winner over Towanda's Matt Bartholomew, then beat Wyalusing's Dave Brown 3-1 in the next round. He was edged by Bloomsburg's Sam Miller 6-5 in the consolation semifinals but came back to win by injury default over Troy's Nick Bruce, the North Section champ, in the fifth-place bout.
Panko (28-9) led 6-3 late in the first period when Bruce (27-6) suffered an arm injury and could not continue.
Benton, with three champions and a runnerup, edged Central Columbia for the team title, 127-119. Line Mountain was 17th with 41 points, Shamokin 23rd (20) and Mount Carmel 26th (13).