Dual disappointment

HERSHEY – If you had to describe Mifflin County’s first foray into the state’s biggest dual meet event, there’s only one that would do the job: humbling.

For the second day in a row the District 6 champion Huskies found themselves outmatched at nearly every turn, as North Allegheny sent them home with an 0-2 record in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championships Friday.

Mifflin County was able to muster only three wins – the same total as Thursday’s opener – in a 46-12 loss to the Tigers.

Oh, it started well for the Huskies Friday morning – getting a draw for 132 pounds, Lucas Besch was first on the mat, and the returning state (individual) qualifier tossed Blynn Shideler around in a 9-5 decision.

While it wasn’t a big win from a team standpoint – and wasn’t the biggest the Huskies had in the contest – it was notable because it was a rare time to see Mifflin County score offensively in the match. Besch had three takedowns – one in each period – which accounted for almost half the team total of seven when it was over.

“It didn’t matter if we were on our feet, top or bottom – we got beat,” Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said.

Kevin Bair, at 138, scored from standing in his match. And Kyle Kahley picked up two as the 220-pound bout was running out of time. But both of those were losses. In the case of Kahley, one of three Huskies to win Thursday, the lone takedown came after he’d been tilted three times.

North Allegheny won all the bouts between those, too, including a pair of major decisions and a technical fall to build a 28-3 lead before the next close one, a 4-3 decision that went against Caleb Rhodes at heavyweight.

“Down here, these are the best teams in the state. What makes them so good is just balance,” Martin said. “They have quality kids all the way up through.”

The outcome was a mere formality by the time the District 6 team put another point on the board. The Huskies won the last two, as both Isaac Underhill and Noah Stewart won, the only members of the team to do so on both days here.

“I don’t necessarily want to highlight individual kids. It was a team effort to get here,” Martin said, but admitted those two – among seven freshmen and sophomores who have started for Mifflin County this year – are a big part of the team’s future.

“We knew it was going to be a rough road,” he said. “Hopefully the young guys will remember the experience and want to improve for next year and years to come.”

Underhill – who had the last two of the seven takedowns – flattened the Tigers’ Connor D’Amato in the second period at 120. Stewart scored a third-period reversal over Sal Peluso in a 3-0 decision.

Whether Mifflin County – which finished the dual meet season at 16-7 – comes back here depends on the level of dedication the youngsters bring to the room, Martin said.

“You’ve got to have kids that are committed to wrestling all year round, strength training and just wrestling tough kids all the time,” he said. “Those are some of the elements that we’re missing right now.”