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Carson: Promising start for MC

Editor’s note:

Brian Carson’s wrestling column will usually run on Saturdays. This week’s column is in today’s paper because the King of the Mountain Tournament begins today.

Mifflin County started the season off with a bang, taking down preseason Mid-Penn Commonwealth favorite Chambersburg 39-27 at the Trojan Duals last Saturday.

The Huskies won nine matches, gaining bonus points in four. With the score knotted at 21-21, the Husky upperweights took over, winning four of the last five bouts to clinch the victory.

Mifflin County has four ranked wrestlers, three of them from 170-on-up. Returning state champion Trey Kibe is second at 170, Brycen Hassinger comes in at No. 20 at 182 and Blaine Davis is eighth at heavyweight. Nic Allison is No. 2 at 106.

They didn’t disappoint.

Kibe won by a 7-1 decision over state-ranked Carson Mello, Hassinger picked up a fall, Jacob Krepps won by decision at 195 and Davis recorded a fall. Allison had a pin to kick off the match.

The Huskies, ranked 19th in the state by PA Power Wrestling, rolled over York Suburban (58-12) and New Oxford (43-25) to go 3-0 at the duals.

Mifflin County has depth from top to bottom, a big reason for the well-deserved buzz and early success to start the season. All good teams seem to have quality bookends and the Huskies are no exception with Allison and Davis.

The firepower isn’t just in the heavier weights. The lightweights feature Allison, standout freshman Hunter Johnson (113) and former state qualifier Derek Burk (126). The middleweights highlight Kyler Everly (132), Ethan Kauffman (145) and Trey Shoemaker (160) ­ all regional qualifiers last season.

Coach Kirby Martin has a nice mix of veterans and youth. The three-time District 6 Coaching Staff of the Year has a solid philosophy in place to build winners while Junior High coach Tim Davis knows how to develop and prepare wrestlers to handle the rigors of varsity.

It’s the perfect combination – a balanced lineup and with solid coaching through every level, this is a team to reckon with and one to enjoy watching throughout the 2019-20 season.

King of the Mountain

Next up for the Huskies is the prestigious and always tough King of the Mountain tournament at Central Mountain High School today and tomorrow.

The KOM is one of the toughest in-season events in the state attracting some of the top teams and best wrestlers in Pennsylvania. This year is no different.

Of the 32 teams at the event, 13 are state-ranked. In Class 3A we have Bellefonte, Canon-McMillan, Central Mountain, Council Rock South, Cumberland Valley, Owen J. Roberts, Thomas Jefferson and the Huskies. In 2A, you have Brookville, Burrell, Chestnut Ridge, Forest Hills, and Muncy.

Individually, six returning state champions are in the field. In Class 3A, you have Carter Dibert (Franklin Regional), Kibe, Garrett Njienhuis (Canon-McMillan) and Kyle Swartz (Northern York). Class 2A features Jackson Arrington (Forest Hills) and Colby Whitehill (Brookville).

The KOM features 124 wrestlers who placed or qualified for states. Thatás how loaded this field is and why it’s a good thing Mifflin County is involved. It makes a difference facing quality competition like this when you get to the postseason.

Seven Huskies picked up KOM seeds – Allison and Kibe are first, Davis is second, Burk and Hassinger are fifth, Kauffman is sixth, and Johnson is eighth.

The New-Look Penn State Lineup

Penn State unveiled a new lineup before the holiday break resulting in easy victories over Lehigh and Penn. For those who were ready to hand the crown to Iowa after the loss to Arizona State, think again.

Coach Cael Sanderson pulled the redshirt off Aaron Brooks at 184 and moved Brandon Meredith into the starterás role at 125. Both moves paid immediate dividends.

Brooks is the real deal ­ a potential national championship contender this year. Yes, I believe he can beat Zahid Valencia right now. The Maryland native is that talented. He proved it by crushing Chris Weiler of Lehigh, a solid wrestler, and Jesse Quatse of Penn. Brooks will have a similar impact to the lineup Mark Hall did when Cael burnt his redshirt.

Brooks making a home at 184 can only mean Shakur Rasheed will bump up to 197. The sixth-year senior is full go in the room, but Cael will wait until after the break to give him even more recovery time.

Rasheed moves up to replace Kent State transfer Kyle Conel, who injured a shoulder against the Quakers. Even a healthy Conel couldn’t beat Rasheed and this strengthens the weight. Intermat and Flo will rank Shakur second behind Kollin Moore (Ohio State) once he’s full go and stands a much better chance of defeating him than Valencia.

Meredith looked good in his upset win over 10th-ranked Michael Colaiocco of Penn last Sunday. He fought back from a 4-1 deficit to control the final two periods. Meredith may not be blessed with supernatural talent, but he works hard and never quits. Perfect qualities for any wrestler.

With Brooks and a healthy Rasheed in the lineup to go along with Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Brady Berge, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall and Anthony Cassar, Penn State looks to be in fine shape for a ninth championship in 10 years.

Gruesome Twosome Make History

The Gruesome Twosome, otherwise known as the Hidlay brothers made some history this week. Hayden & Trent, both ranked second, are the first set of brothers in the NCAA to be ranked among the top two at the same time since 2013.

The Steiber brothers – Logan and Hunter were ranked first and second for Ohio State.

Kirsch in the Hall of Fame

Former Mount Union standout Josh Kirsch will be part of the 2020 class inducted into the District 6 Wrestling Hall of Fame in February.

Kirsch won a PIAA Class 2A championship and the Outstanding Wrestler Award at 215 pounds capping a 41-0 season in 2003. It would be 15 years before another Trojan reached the top of the podium when Josh Boozel did the trick in 2018.

Kirsch finished with a 123-17 career record and 85 falls from 2000 to 2003. He placed sixth at states in 2002. Kirsch was a two-time District 6 champion and a Southwest Regional champ in 2003.

On a personal note, Kirsch was the first PIAA wrestling champion I ever covered and the first-ever champion in the 215-pound weight class. I’m glad to see he’s finally in. It’s a well-deserved honor.

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