LEWISTOWN – If Mifflin County wrestling coach Kirby Martin had any worries about an emotional letdown from his team Thursday night, those fears were alleviated quickly.
About 2:26 into the dual meet to be precise.
Early in the second period of the 220-pound bout, Kyle Kahley flattened State College’s Joaquin Alvarez for the first of five pins and eight bonus-point victories for the Huskies (9-3, 3-1) in a 54-9 rout over the visiting Little Lions in a Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division dual.
The resounding win came on the heels of a tough loss the night before, but Martin and his coaching staff had his grapplers ready to go.
“There’s a little bit of a concern coming off the emotions of (Wednesday) night,” Martin said. “But as I told the kids, we wanted to keep moving forward, pushing, getting ready for the district duals. I thought we were still pretty crisp tonight.”
The Huskies dominated the night in just about every facet. The home team enjoyed a 19-2 takedown advantage and once it got on top, it stayed there more often than not. Even the occasional State College escape or reversal came after the Huskies exhausted a large portion of the clock and tallied several near falls in the process.
“We’ve been working on trying to have a first move on top and take them down and go to work,” Martin said. “Tonight was a better night for winning in the top position.”
After the Huskies’ Caleb Rhodes won a 1-0 war of attrition at 285, State College tried to garner some momentum.
The Little Lions saw Kyle Catral score their only contested win of the night in a 4-1 decision over Daulton Wilson at 106 and then collected six more points when Anthony Myers took a forfeit to tie the score at nine.
But then 120-pounder Isaac Underhill quickly seized control for the Huskies once again, grabbing a quick reversal off a defensive start in the second period and a two-point tilt before finally putting Daniel Stills’ shoulders to the mat at the 3:42 mark.
Mifflin County then went on a scoring binge.
Noah Stewart pitched a 5-0 shutout over Jake Haun at 126 before a parade of major decisions began.
Lucas Besch did yeoman’s work to earn a 12-4 win over Mike Kauffman at 132. Kevin Bair twice used a cradle to earn a three-point near fall in his 12-3 victory over J.B. Holden at 138. And then Brandon Wilson (145) turned in a well-rounded 13-5 triumph in which he tallied three takedowns, two tilts and a reversal.
The bonus points barrage didn’t end there either as Joe Knarr earned a whopping 11 near fall points in four tilts in the first period at 152 before scoring a reversal off a defensive start in the second and quickly finishing the Little Lions’ Jarred Price 3:12 into the contest, sealing the win for Mifflin County.
“That’s going to be huge for things like district duals,” Martin said. “We need bonus points. That’s why we were pushing for bonus points tonight. Getting the first takedown in matches is huge. We were in spots, too, where we had to counter and I thought we did a good job of countering as well.”
Countering in a different sort of way were the next three combatants for the Huskies. Darrion Pierce scored a near fall from the top in the third period in what would be the only points of a 2-0 win over Alexander Stover at 160. McKenon Todaro needed just 38 seconds to dispatch David Fremberg at 170 and Jacob Lilley hit a five-point reversal-near fall combo to break a tie with just seconds remaining in an exciting bout at 182.
All three had suffered tough defeats the night before against Central Mountain.
“For those kids, they’ve been working hard and tonight was a chance for them to reap some of the benefits of their hard work,” Martin said. “To their credit, there was no letup from last night. It would be easy for them to hang their head and not show up tonight, but that wasn’t the case.”
Mifflin County’s Tre Carter earned fastest pin honors in the final bout of the evening, decking State College’s Aaron Forrer-Levis in just 34 seconds to close out a wildly successful night for the Huskies.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to focus on is when we get a chance to tell the kids that they’ve done a great job or to correct small things they do, it’s only going to boost their morale and keep them focused,” Martin said. “Now I like the direction we’re headed.”
Mifflin County will next hit the mats Jan. 17 at Chambersburg.