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Carson: local wrestlers shining in early matches

The Mifflin County wrestling machine kept on rolling with an impressive performance at King of the Mountain last week and a gusty one against State College on Thursday.

Now 4-0 on the season and PowerAde looming on the horizon, we can take stock of what to expect from the Huskies the rest of the way.

A healthy squad had an impressive showing at KOM with nine place winners and a program-best second-place finish behind traditional power Canon-McMillan. Nic Allison (106) and Trey Kibe (170) came away with championships.

Even more impressive was the win over the Little Lions because of the injuries they had to overcome to get the 36-29 victory. The team needed to be gritty, a favorite word of Coach Kirby Martin, and score bonus points. They went out and got the job done.

The only thing that could derail the high expectations of the Huskies is injuries and they are coming fast and furious.

Hunter Johnson (113), Derek Burk (126) and Jaxson Pupo (220) are out of action. Johnson and Burk went down at King. Pupo missed the tournament and the State College match.

Haydn Crum is doing a masterful job taking over at 220, going 6-2 in the early part of the season. He placed fifth at KOM and took a 3-1 decision on Thursday.

Johnson and Burk are a different story. There is no one to replace them. Mifflin County has talent but lacks depth. Martin had to forfeit two weights against State High. Not good if the duo is out for any length of time.

PowerAde is a more individual tournament than a team competition. No worries there. However, if Martin and company hope to have the season they’re capable of they need a full lineup with Central Mountain, Central Dauphin and Cumberland Valley lurking in the New Year.

The Huskies have the grit and talent to make this a special season. They work hard, are eager to learn and have confidence in their ability. The goals are simple – win districts, the Mid-Penn Commonwealth, beat Central Dauphin for the first time and make more noise at the PIAA Duals.

In order to hit their targets, the Huskies must stay healthy.

New Rankings Out

PA Power Wrestling released its latest rankings and 13 area wrestlers made the list.

Mifflin County, ranked 21st in the state, leads the way with six – Allison (2nd at 106), Johnson (No. 21 at 113), Burk (No. 19 at 126), Ethan Kauffman (No. 17 at 145), Kibe (No. 1 at 170), and Blaine Davis (No. 5 at 285).

Kibe moves up to the top spot after Clayton Ulrey of Lower Dauphin dropped to 160. The Husky junior should have been the number one guy right from the start. After all, he beat Ulrey for the state title last season.

Midd-West has four ranked in Connor Heckman (No. 10 at 113), Ethan Zevan (No. 22 at 120), Avery Bassett (No. 3 at 145) and Trey Lauver (No. 19 at 195).

Mount Union put two on the list with Bryce Beatty (No. 17 at 120) and PIAA heavyweight

runner-up Jake Ryan (No. 2 at 220).

Reynolds is the number one team in Class 2A and Nazareth holds the top spot in Class 3A.

Juniata Rising

Don’t look now but the Juniata wrestling team is 2-1 and fielding a complete team after having only eight wrestlers on varsity last season.

The Indians defeated Upper Dauphin 42-31 on Thursday to match their win total from last year. They won their TVL opener after going winless in the league in 2018-19.

Co-coaches Adam Barrick and Jared Dressler have the two P’s going for them – passion and a plan. They are on a mission to rebuild Juniata back to its former glory and know it will take time.

The team is loaded with youth. The varsity lineup comprises six freshmen, six sophomores and two juniors. Plenty of growing pains lie ahead, but the future looks bright for the Indians.

Penn State at Wilkes Open

With the holiday’s approaching and a break in the collegiate action, Penn State coach Cael Sanderson wants to make sure his guys get some wrestling in.

Nick Lee, Aaron Brooks and Anthony Cassar will be at the U.S. Senior Nationals over the weekend.

The Nittany Lions have 19 entries at the Wilkes Open on Sunday, including Shakur Rasheed. Other starters registered include Brandon Meredith, Roman Bravo-Young, Jared Verkleeren, Brady Berge, Mark Hall, and Kyle Conel.

Michael Beard will compete at the Southern Scuffle on January 2.

Sweigard Wins 500th

Congratulations to Central Dauphin coach Jeff Sweigard for getting win number 500 after the Rams defeated Cumberland Valley 39-23 on Thursday.

An amazing accomplishment for a classy guy and a great coach.

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