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Carson: wrestling campaign is upon us

Who says you can’t go home again?

Back in the day, for those who remember, I wrote a weekly wrestling column for this very newspaper from 1995 to 2003. It was a heck of a time and I enjoyed writing it so much.

After I left the Sentinel full-time I never expected to be writing this column again, but as they say, never say never.

With some back-and-forth communication from new sports editor Will Whisler, I’m happy to be back writing a weekly wrestling column talking about the best sport on earth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do writing it.

Let’s get to the good stuff.

The Trojans Duals

The high school wrestling season kicks off for Mifflin County at the Trojan Duals in Chambersburg this morning.

There’s a strong buzz around the Huskies this season and with good reason. Mifflin County returns 10 starters from a 13-4 squad led by PIAA champion Trey Kibe. Also back are state qualifiers Nic Allison and Blaine Davis.

Throw in regional qualifiers Derek Burk, Ethan Kauffman, Kyler Everly, Trey Shoemaker, and Brycen Hassinger, along with newcomers Hunter Johnson, Lucas Sheetz and Jaxon Pupo and you can see the reason for the optimism.

The Huskies travel to the Trojan Duals for the first time after dropping the Warwick Duals from the schedule.

Mifflin County starts the Mid-Penn Commonwealth season with a big-time matchup against Chambersburg. Both schools, along with Central Dauphin, are the favorites for the conference title. The Huskies and Trojans meet in the first match and the winner should walk away with the Trojans Duals championship and be the front-runner in the Commonwealth.

Chambersburg features state place-winners Karl Shindledecker (3rd at 106), Luke Nichter (4th at 170) and Tate Nichter (6th at 145). Carson Mello (160) and Wyatt Hull (220) were regional qualifiers last season.

Other teams participating include Big Spring, Conestoga Valley, Frazier, Greencastle-Antrim, New Oxford and York Suburban.

A potential stellar matchup could be Thayne Lawrence of Frazier against Kibe. Lawrence, a Lehigh commit, is a two-time state champion and three-time PIAA placer with a 96-12 career mark. He won his second title at 160 in Class 2A and could face Kibe depending on the bracketing and his weight. The Husky junior has a 79-9 career record.

Here are my thoughts on the potential starting lineup for the Huskies this season:

106: Nic Allison, So.

113: Hunter Johnson, Fr.

120: Lucas Sheetz, Fr.

126: Derek Burk, Sr.

132: Marshall Maidens, Jr.

138: Kyler Everly, So.

145: Ethan Kauffman, Sr.

152: Anson Wagner, So.

160: Trey Shoemaker, So.

170: Trey Kibe, Jr.

182: Brycen Hassinger, Jr.

195: Jacob Krepps, Sr.

220: Jaxon Pupo, So.

Hwt: Blaine Davis, Sr.

Looks solid, doesn’t it?

Cedar Crest Duals

Mount Union coach Corey Wertz begins season number 19 at the Cedar Crest Duals today.

Wertz returns nine starters from an 8-12 team including PIAA runner-up Jake Ryan (Hwt) and state qualifier Bryce Beatty (106).

The competition features Abington, Cedar Cliff, Cedar Crest, Conrad Weiser, Donegal, Hershey, Lancaster Catholic, LaSalle, Lebanon, Oley Valley, Phoenixville, Pittston Area, and Plymouth-Whitemarsh.

Besides Ryan, the field has two state placers in Tanner Updegraff of Hershey and Aiden Lewis of Cedar Cliff. Updegraff placed third at 152 and Lewis took fourth at 106 in Class 3A.

Juniata begins its season with new co-coaches Adam Barrick and Jared Dressler on Wednesday, December 11 against Columbia Montour Vo-Tech. The Indians, 2-14 last season, bring back four starters from a year ago.

Midd-West, under Dale Franquet, opens with District 4 rival Lewisburg on Thursday, December 12. The Mustangs return nine starters, including state qualifier Avery Bassett, from a 14-3 squad.

Locals in College

The Gruesome Twosome, otherwise known as Hayden and Trent Hidlay, are rolling through the early part of the collegiate season for North Carolina State.

Hayden owns an 8-0 record and the number one ranking at 157. The Wolfpack junior has a 58-5 career record, outscoring his opponents 85-13 so far this season.

Trent, ranked fourth in the nation at 184, is 6-0 on the season. The redshirt sophomore recorded wins over nationally ranked Ben Darmstadt of Cornell and Lou DePrez of Binghamton.

The Wolfpack wrestle this weekend at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas with Hayden seeded first and Trent getting the third seed. The 184-pound class is loaded with eight of the top 10 ranked wrestlers in the tournament, including two-time national champ and top-ranked Zahid Valencia at Arizona State.

Noah Stewart, a junior at Army, has the number 13 ranking at 184 and enters today’s Patriot Open at George Mason University with a 6-0 record.

It’s unprecedented to have three locals ranked nationally in Division I. We have much to be proud of in Mifflin County in part because of these three outstanding young men.

Kerkvliet to Penn State

The influence of Kyle Snyder coming to train at Penn State is already being felt by the Nittany Lion program.

Heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet, the number one recruit in the Class of 2019, announced he will transfer to Penn State.

Kerkvliet originally committed to Minnesota and then to Oklahoma State before signing with Ohio State. Kerkvliet left the Buckeyes a month ago and speculation ran wild about where he would end up.

The Nittany Lions also have defending national champion Anthony Cassar and four-time California state champion Seth Nevills on the roster at heavyweight.

Kerkvliet recently placed fifth at the U23 World Championships in Budapest.

This is a huge pickup for Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions. Add Kerkvliet to a powerhouse list of redshirts including Aaron Brooks, Carter Starocci, Michael Beard, Joe Lee and Nevills.

The rich get richer.

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