Mother lode

Kibe delivers fourth straight gold for MC

Sentinel photo by TAMI KNOPSNYDER
Mifflin County's Trey Kibe, right, puts Luca Frinzi of Bethlehem Catholic on his back for near fall points in a 160-pound semifinal Saturday morning.

HERSHEY — Trey Kibe didn’t want to wrestle Clayton Ulrey on his feet, but Ulrey wasn’t going to make it easy to go to the mat.

Late in the third period of the 160-pound championship bout in the PIAA Class 3A wrestling tournament Saturday, the two were clamped together, turning on the mat and it was difficult to tell who would get a takedown, if either of them.

If Kibe scores, the match is all but over. Ulrey? Then it’s headed to sudden victory overtime.

When the official signaled two points for red, the Mifflin County fans knew they had a winner.

Kibe came out ahead 6-2, and Mifflin County had its first sophomore state champion — and its fourth in as many years.

Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
Mifflin County's Trey Kibe stands atop the podium after winning gold in the Class 3A 160-pound tournament Saturday in Hershey.

“He was close to having two,” Kibe admitted. “He was popping up, he was sitting back. I was in a dangerous position but I was gritty and held on. I didn’t want to give up that takedown.”

The key to the win may have come in the second minute of the match. Kibe shot for a single-leg takedown, stayed on it until he was able to grab the second leg and was awarded the first takedown on the edge of the circle with 40 seconds left in the first period.

He almost lost it, and did get a stall warning as Lower Dauphin’s Ulrey aggressively tried to kick out in the final seconds of that period.

“It was huge for me to get that first takedown because I know he’s good on his feet. Honestly, his offense is probably better than mine on his feet,” Kibe said. “For me to get to my offense right off the bat felt great.”

Kibe got the choice to start the second, took defense and was neutral in 17 seconds. With the score now 3-0, Ulrey needed some offense — and just past the midpoint of the second he got it. That scramble could have been costly, though — rolling through, Kibe came precariously close to pinning himself (and not surprisingly, the fans from Hummelstown insisted he had).

But after getting his own takedown at the 54-second mark, Ulrey quickly cut Kibe instead of trying for back points.

“I wasn’t surprised — I knew he wanted to be on his feet. That’s where he felt comfortable,” Kibe said. “He’s uncommon. He’s so aggressive and he’s good in neutral. I knew that’s how he was going to be and I knew I had to stop him.”

Ulrey chose neutral to begin the third, but it didn’t take long until the two were on the mat. The two were all but glued together and it was difficult to guess who actually had an edge.

With 11 second to go in the match, referee Larry Deiter cleared up that question.

“He got to my legs a couple times but I was able to hold him off. In the third period I went on a mass scramble and got the takedown. I was able to wear him down,” Kibe said. “We had so many good scrambles by my defense was able to hold off.”

Kibe’s style changed as the tournament progressed, playing defense against one opponent and offense another. Against Ulrey, his best move was not to panic — he didn’t allow the match to control him.

“Generally speaking, we try to talk strategy for each match, especially at the state tournament,” Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said. “It does take a unique wrestler to make those adjustments as you move through a tournament like this one. He’s very tactful and smart in that way.”

Martin was more excitable than Kibe, leaping off his chair as the third period wound down, looking as though he was ready to go out on the mat and wrestle it himself.

“It’s too emotional not to get out of your seat and get excited,” he said. “I don’t regret that at all.”

Kibe also had the first points against Luca Frinzi of Bethlehem Catholic in the semifinals. In fact, he had a 5-0 lead with a three-point tilt in the first, and Frinzi’s first entry in the scorebook came when he was hit with a pair of cautions before the second started.

“After that I was really confident I was going to win the match,” Kibe said. “After I got that five I think it flustered him a little bit. It was on me from there on.”

Kibe seemed to relish not just the win, but everything that got him to it.

“I came here last year and didn’t get a medal. I made a big leap from last year to this year — I worked a lot harder,” he said. “All of my matches this week were tough and it feels great to come out on top. I believed in myself and my coaches were always telling me I can do it. It feels great that it actually came true.”

NOTES: Kibes 7-2 semifinal victory not only advanced him to the title match, but gave the Huskies a 2-0 record against the Frinzis — 106-pounder Nic Allison slipped by Dante Frinzi in a consolation match Friday. … This was the first postseason tournament in which Kibe did not wrestle Juniata’s Tyler Wileman in the finals. Wileman would have faced Ulrey had he won his opener. … Kibe is the third sophomore (Lewistown’s Ken Whitsel, Mifflin County’s Trent Hidlay) to wrestle in a state final. … Both wrestlers were 40-1 entering the final (Ulrey’s loss was to Luca Frinzi). Ulrey, a junior, was fifth last year and made his third state appearance. Kibe qualified last year as a freshman.

PIAA Class 3A wrestling

championships

Final

160: Trey Kibe, Mifflin County, dec. Clayton Ulrey, Lower Dauphin, 6-2

Semifinals

160: Trey Kibe, Mifflin County, dec. Luca Frinzi, Bethlehem Catholic, 7-2

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