HERSHEY – Mifflin County earned its way to the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championships when it ended Central Mountain’s five-year run of District 6 supremacy.
But the Huskies ran into a brick wall in the first round of the state event at the Giant Center Thursday. Mifflin County got wins in only three matches – all straight decisions – as Parkland cashiered the Huskies in the first round, 49-9.
Mifflin County’s opportunity for redemption comes at 10 this morning, a first-round consolation date with District 7 third-place team North Allegheny, which was a 33-14 victim of Central Dauphin in the opening round.
Parkland, the District 11 runner-up, quickly showed the youngsters from the middle of the state why the Lehigh Valley is famous as a wrestling hotbed.
“District 11 (has) very strong wrestlers. We’re not there yet,” Huskies coach Kirby Martin said.
Martin’s team couldn’t have been given a much worse draw. The Huskies’ strength is below 160 pounds; the match started at 152 – even under the best of circumstances the District 6 champs were likely to be trailing after heavyweight.
But even Martin likely didn’t expect the utter domination by Parkland that his team experienced. Three pins, a technical fall and two decisions were registered by the Trojans before Mifflin County got its first points, from Kyle Kahley at 285. It didn’t help that the Huskies had to shuffle the lineup to cover for a pair of missing wrestlers, although that made little difference.
“I think we were overwhelmed by just about everything – how good they were, the atmosphere,” Martin said, trailing off.
It really came down to one thing, he said.
“We didn’t wrestle well. We didn’t even do the fundamentals well, which is why I’m really frustrated,” he said. “I can handle a loss, but if we don’t even do fundamentally sound things then it’s very, very frustrating.”
Kahley’s win over Zach MacLean was at least exciting, as he scored first with an escape in the second then gave one in the third. Kahley got the only offensive score of the match as time was expiring to prevent a shutout, winning 3-1.
But the outcome of the dual meet was determined before Mifflin County won another one. Parkland clinched it when Ethan Lizak won a 3-2 decision over Hayden Hidlay at 113, a match in which Hidlay seemed to have control late but never got the two points.
Isaac Underhill and Noah Stewart won back-to-back decisions after that. Underhill had a third-period reversal to get by Brayson Haas 2-0 at 120, then Stewart scored a takedown and two reversals against Tom Yankanich in a 6-0 match.
The Huskies have a chance to stay here with a win this morning.
“There’s always a chance to come back. This will test the character of our team, especially how young we are,” Martin said. “If they want to continue to come down here, they’re going to have to show a little bit more (today).”