Midd-West’s Lieberman finishes runner-up, moves on

WILLIAMSPORT – Alex Lieberman lives to fight another day – at the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships starting Thursday in Hershey.

The Midd-West senior 170-pounder and his coaches agreed not to wrestle him Saturday night in the finals of the Northeast Regional Tournament at Williamsport High.

Lieberman, who steamrolled the District 2 champion Derek Dragon of Lake-Lehman 15-2 in the semis, was to face Garrett Hoffman of Montoursville in the finals. Hoffman defeated Lieberman in the finals of the District 4 tournament a week ago. Lieberman also qualified for states last season.

But a shoulder injury suffered in a flurry with Dragon resulted in an injured left shoulder.

Lieberman, as a runnerup, qualifies for states.

Clint Swartz, the Mustangs’ coach, said “It’s not too serious…give it a rest for next week. We’re down there (states) where we want to be so instead of inflaming anything or doing anything worse we’ll sit it out,

“It happened during a flurry today and he’s a little dinged up.”

Lieberman, the coach said, has come a long way.

“I was looking back over a few things and he was 8-5 as a sophomore and he didn’t get to wrestle most of the time. He’s really improved a lot, honed his way of wrestling. He’s gained a lot of technical skills and improved strength-wise.

“He wrestles only three months out of the year. He just kind of throws caution to the wind and catches people in situations. He has those basic technical skills that you need to wrestle.”

After the medical forfeit Lieberman is 33-7.

The other Midd-West entrants, Tanner Ebright at 132, and Zach Longacre at 220, were eliminated in the consolations. Ebright turned in a technical fall (15-0, 4:39) over Kyle Sorber of Nanticoke Area before falling by 4-3 to Hughesville’s Zach Fry. Ebright finished his junior year at 29-9.

Thor Balavage of Scranton Prep sent Longacre home with a pin in the first round of consolations. Longacre completed his senior year at 27-13.

Notes: Five District 4 fourth-place finishers from a week ago made the finals. They were Kyle Drick of Montgomey at 113, Cody Klinger of Bloomsburg at 138, Dakota Nixon of Muncy at 145, Lucas Shaheen of Montoursville at 182, and Connor Route of Canton at 220. Only Route won a title.

Two District 2 wrestlers won titles, Austin Harry of Lake-Lehman at 132 and Saul Wilkins of Wilkes-Barre GAR at 285. Wilkins, who won a District 2 championship a week ago, is a first-year wrestler who now sports a 30-8 record. The GAR junior was pinned in two of his first three bouts of the season. Benton won the team title with Southern Columbia in second. For the second week in a row Benton did not have a champion.