No. 2 Rams handle Huskies

HARRISBURG – It’s been five years since Tyson Dippery resided in Mifflin County, but he hasn’t forgotten the place. Nor has he forgotten his former workout partner, senior Kevin Bair.

Bair, on the other hand, might have a little selective amnesia after Thursday night.

Dippery, whose wrestling career has flourished during his high school years at Central Dauphin, showed Bair little mercy during their 138-pound match in Central Dauphin’s 50-16 cruise over the undermanned Huskies.

Dippery, now a senior, rolled up a 15-1 lead before flipping Bair with a bar for a pin in 2:29, the first of eight consecutive match victories for the Rams, who wrapped up a perfect 17-0 regular-season with the triumph.

Perfect regular seasons have become something of a habit for the Rams during this spectacular six-year run that has resulted in seven PIAA team championships – four dual titles and three in the individual championships – and an extraordinary run of dual meet success. The Rams last lost a regular-season dual in the 2007-2008 season, 34-30, to Cumberland Valley.

Since that match, Central Dauphin established the state record for consecutive dual meet victories with 95, a streak that was finally broken by Canon-McMillan in last year’s PIAA Class AAA team championship semifinals. The Rams have won 19 straight since that day, won 114 of their last 115 duals and have not lost at home since the school relocated 10 years ago.

And Dippery has been a big part of that.

“I’m a competitive person,” said Dippery, who will wrestle for Rutgers University next year. “I hate losing and so do my teammates. So hopefully, we’ll keep winning right on through states again.”

Dippery’s dominating victory over Bair (“We talked a little a weigh-ins, but we didn’t text before the match or anything like that,” Dippery said) was a pre-ordained microcosm of the match itself, one that left Mifflin County with a 14-5 record and a likely second seed for next week’s District 6 Class AAA team championships.

The Huskies were without four starters, making the already slim hopes for a major upset virtually impossible.

“Our kids showed some fight,” Mifflin County head coach Kirby Martin said. “This match will definitely help us for next week’s district duals and our postseason plans.”

The Huskies had some bright spots despite the thin lineup that resulted in two forfeits.

After the Huskies yielded the first of those forfeits at 126, the first weight of the match, Mifflin County’s Lucas Besch turned in a very solid 13-4 major decision over 17-match winner Zach Bentz at 132.

At 220, Mifflin County junior Kyle Kahley, a second-year wrestler, lost 3-1 to CD’s Deitrik Ferster in a bout that was dead even save for Ferster’s takedown near the edge with four seconds left in the first period.

And in the top matchup of the night, Mifflin County freshman Hayden Hidlay (19-2) knocked off 20-match winner Austin Camacci (20-6) with a 6-4 decision after falling behind 2-0.

“Hidlay suffered a concussion a few weeks ago, and he’s still recovering from that,” Martin said. “He got four forfeits in our duals last weekend, and that was a killer. Mat time at this point of the season is huge, so that was a big match for Hayden.”

The Huskies’ other winners were Caleb Rhodes, who used a point for locked hands and a reversal in the third period stand up for a 3-0 win over Aaron Wolfgang at 285, and sophomore Isaac Underhill, who pinned Nick Ward in 5:06 at 120.

Central Dauphin head coach Jeff Sweigard, who is in his 20th season for the rams, said Mifflin County is welcome in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth, which CD has ruled for six straight years.

“Mifflin County brings some tradition to our league,” Sweigard said. “They’ve had some great wrestlers in the past. They’re hard-nosed country kids, and we like that kind of wrestling.”