Hidlay finishes perfect season with gold medal
HERSHEY — Winning a state wrestling title requires hard work, determination and sacrifice.
And if you’re from Mifflin County, it apparently doesn’t hurt any to be named Hidlay.
Trent Hidlay etched his name into the annals of Mifflin County wrestling history Saturday, winning a 5-3 decision over Joshua Stillings of Pennridge for the PIAA Class 3A championship at 160 pounds.
That match followed a 3-0 victory over Ryan Resnick of Owen J. Roberts in the morning semifinals. Stillings and Resnick finished first and second, respectively, in the Southeast regional.
Hidlay finishes the season at 38-0. His four state matches included a pair of technical falls as he outscored his four opponents 50-13 without giving up a single offensive point. He had 21 takedowns overall.
“It was really emotional out there. I just had to stay with what I was good at all year,” Hidlay said. “I got a takedown, rode pretty tough on top and at the end of the day I did what I needed to do. That’s what it’s all about.”
Against Stillings, Hidlay scored a takedown 15 seconds into the match. Stillings escaped quickly, and the two traded shots for the rest of the first period. Hidlay chose defense to start the second and used most of a minute working free, but dropped Stillings to the mat again and rode him out.
Stillings took the bottom for the third, escaped in 20 seconds, but the only score after that was a stall point to the Pennridge wrestler — Hidlay was warned in the second — with minimal time on the clock.
“I’m sure he had a pretty thought out game plan. He knew I was going with the hooks,” Hidlay said. “I wanted to wait on him to attack so it opened up a little bit. When he came at me I was able to get an underhook in there and get two, and I ended up getting it again later in the match to seal the deal.”
Hidlay was never rattled in the bout — or, for that matter, the three previous ones –although he said there was always some pressure. He said his coaches and brother Hayden — who ended a long drought for the county in the state title department a year ago — were there with advice and reassurance.
“I’m just glad he was here to cheer me on,” Trent said of Hayden. “It was really great having him here.”
He also had positive words for the staff, coach Kirby Martin and assistants Dale Searer and Tyler Bedelyon.
“Without then, this isn’t possible,” he said. “The coaches put you into the position to win state titles.”
Earlier in the day, Hidlay faced an opponent in Resnick who had beaten two regional champions to get to the semis. Resnick was strong and long on the mat, which made it hard for Hidlay to sustain the level of offense he had been able to in the first two rounds.
“That kid is definitely legit, wrestled me hard. I couldn’t get to a lot of my shots. I just kept pressuring the match,” he said. “Sometimes scoring a lot of points isn’t dominating, just controlling the match and riding him tough is domination. That’s what I look for every match.”
Hayden Hidlay, red shirting at North Carolina State, made the trip to cheer on his brother, which the younger Hidlay definitely appreciated.
“I just had so much fun out there tonight. I know he was cheering me on,” Trent said.
The season may be over, but not the work — at least not until Hidlay, who was runner-up in the same weight class a year ago, had a chance to come back and do it again.
“We’re going to enjoy this tonight, take a little time off then we’re going to be right back at it, be here 365 days from no winning another one,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep my foot on the pedal.
“I’ve got to work even harder now — now people are going to be coming after me. I’m going to be coming after them too.”
Trent and Hayden Hidlay become the first siblings from the county to win state wrestling titles. Prior to the Hidlays, the last winner was Joe Daubert, who won with Chief Logan in 1988.
Chief Logan’s Joe Heller (1978, 1979) is the only two-time winner in county history, a feat Hidlay has the potential to match. Daubert had a chance, getting to the finals before falling in Indian Valley’s first year of existence.
Chief Logan still has the most champions of an of the county’s schools (four). The Hidlays helped Mifflin County High School to move into second place ahead of Penn Highlands and Lewistown, with one each. Neither Kishacoquillas nor Indian Valley ever crowned a champ.