Mifflin County takes 11 of 13 bouts, drops Altoona 59-15

LEWISTOWN – An important quality of a successful team is having a collective short-term memory. The ability to move on from a loss separates the haves from the have-nots.

The Mifflin County wrestling team suffered some bumps, bruises and scrapes in a rough defeat against Cumberland Valley Saturday. Fortunately for the Huskies, the Altoona Mountain Lions provided the salve to heal those wounds.

Mifflin County captured 11 of the 13 bouts contested, ringing up bonus points in nine of those to come away with a 59-15 demolition of Altoona on a frigid Wednesday evening at the Husky gym.

“The frustration of Cumberland Valley is they are a good team, our kids know that, and we didn’t match their intensity,” Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said. “The good thing about being in the Mid-Penn is it’s a higher level of wrestling and it’s making us better as a team. The kids were not happy with the outcome with Cumberland Valley and they showed that here tonight.”

The Mountain Lions (1-5) opened up a 6-0 advantage when Cole Manley (15-3) received a forfeit at 106. From then on, it was the annihilation of Altoona.

Mifflin County (8-2) won six straight to open up a 32-6 advantage before the visitors got back on the scoreboard.

At 113, Noah Myers (13-5) used a takedown in the first, an escape in the second, two back points and a takedown in the third to control Hunter Hileman for a 7-2 victory. Daulton Wilson made it 15-6 with a 2:45 fall over Daniel Querry at 120.

Brandon Fultz locked up a double arm bar and recorded a pin in 3:16 over Jay Rimback at 126, which was followed by a sweet 16-1 technical fall by Jeff Murphy over Jarrell Kephart in at 132. Murphy used the three-quarter Nelson to perfection, racking up eight near fall points to go along with two takedowns and two reversals.

The Huskies made it 26-6 when Hayden Hidlay, now 17-2 on the season, made quick work of Kyler Bender at 138. Hidlay, leading 8-1 in the first, cranked Bender over for the pin in 1:38, making the score 26-6.

At 145, Isaac Habbershon made his varsity debut one to remember with a 3:56 pin over Zach Reidell. The sophomore was up 4-0 at the time of the fall.

“It’s a great start for him. Just like everybody on the team, you want to be a starter and he’s been itching to get in the lineup,” Martin said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting used to being in the starting lineup and improving every week.”

In the feature match of the evening, Altoona’s D.J. Hollingshead faced Noah Stewart in a battle of two state-ranked wrestlers at 152.

Hollingshead, ranked third in the state, came away with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Stewart, who came in ranked seventh.

Hollingshead (16-2) scored a takedown with 12 seconds left in the first, but Stewart (16-6) received a penalty point when the Mountain Lion junior locked hands. Stewart chose defense in the second and escaped with 57 seconds remaining to knot it at 2-2 heading into the third. Hollingshead escaped to make it 3-2 and the match ended with both grapplers on their feet.

Altoona cut the lead to 32-15 when Brinton Simington pinned Mike Bielski in 46 seconds at 160. That would be the last victory of the night for the Mountain Lions.

Eli Habbershon handed Michael Doucette a 6-3 loss at 170; Trey Hartsock (15-7) won by injury default in 2:40 over Trent Kephart at 182; Timmy Pearce (15-6) decked Nate Buckrop in 2:54 at 195; Kyle Kahley (2-0) flattened Jacob Turner with a headlock in 1:22 at 220 and Colton Craig pinned Jacob Scheinberg in 5:25 at 285.

“The focus at this time of the year is to accomplish our team goals. I talked tonight about making sure we are working on battling every single match, that we are working on scoring bonus points and not giving up bonus points,” Martin said. “I told the kids this needs to be the beginning of what we are doing the next couple of weeks as we get ready for District 6 opponents, winning more matches in the Mid-Penn, district duals and beyond.

“We have been talking the last couple days about our goals as a team. Every kid on this team wants to repeat as district champions and improve on what we did last year.”

The Huskies dominated on their feet, winning the takedown battle by a 20-2 margin. The junior high squad won 76-22.

Mifflin County hits the road for a Mid-Penn Commonwealth matchup with State College tonight at 7 p.m.

“I have no worries,” Martin said, when asked if he was concerned about back-to-back matches. “The kids would rather wrestle than practice, so that shouldn’t be a problem for us.”