Hidlay again top grappler

LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County’s Hayden Hidlay has accomplished more in two years than most high school wrestlers have in a career.

The sophomore owns a 66-12 career record with two District 6 championships, a Northwest Regional crown and this year, a sixth-place medal at the PIAA championships. He also has numerous medals and trophies competing in Freestyle and Greco-Roman during the summer.

Add to that his second Rod Tate Award in as many years and you can see how successful Hidlay has been in a short period of time. Hidlay received the Tate Award Tuesday night at Mifflin County High School.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award. I look back at all the people who won this and I’ve always looked up to those people like Nic Bedelyon, Matt Bonson and Ken Whitsel. It’s a good feeling,” Hidlay said.

Hidlay is the first two-time winner of the Tate Award since Bedelyon won it in 2005 and 2007. No one has ever won the award three times.

“We like to joke around in the room and keep it competitive. I couldn’t get to where I am without all the hard work I’ve put in and the support of my teammates,” Hidlay said. “We battle it out every day in the room and that’s a good upside to it.

“I had a lot of fun this season, it was one of the best seasons I’ve had in my life. I look back on it and I didn’t accomplish exactly what I wanted at states, but I did good. It just gives me fuel for next season to do better.”

Noah Stewart, district champion and state qualifier, came in second in the voting, while Timmy Pearce, also a district champ and state qualifier, came in third. Stewart finished the season with a 34-10 record. Pearce ended his senior season at 33-10.

The Rod Tate Award is given out annually by Merf Radio to Mifflin County’s top wrestler. The award is voted on by local sports media, including The Sentinel. The award is named after the late Rod Tate, the first state champion wrestler from Mifflin County.