Carson’s Corner: Leftovers From Hershey

| March 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

MugThe PIAA state wrestling championships lived up to the hype with history-making performances by Thomas Haines and Chance Marsteller.

We also saw the emergence of a new generation of stars like freshman state champs Spencer Lee, Cameron Coy and Jake Riegel.

Here are some of my observations as we close out an exciting 2013-14 high school wrestling season here in the Keystone State:

Mifflin County saw four kids qualify for states and one, Hayden Hidlay, got up on the medal stand. Things are only going to get better.

Three of the four qualifiers were sophomores and Noah Stewart was one win away from placing. Stewart majored Carlisle’s Ian Shannon in the regular season and Shannon made the state finals at 160. Anything can happen at Hershey.

Trey Hartsock was a district and regional champion who I think got a little caught up in the bright lights and atmosphere of the Giant Center. He’s a solid wrestler.

They will all be back older, wiser and more mature.

Hidlay was very disappointed with his sixth-place finish and was visibly shaken. That’s good. Champions hate to lose. It drives them crazy. This will be his juice, his motivation in the spring and summer. Look for him to be much higher on the platform next season.

Still, Hidlay is only the second PIAA medalist in the school’s brief three-year history (Tyson Searer was the other) and in time he will come to appreciate just how great an accomplishment it is to be on the medal stand, even if it’s for a sixth-place award.

Add in the experience of Isaac Underhill, Noah Myers,  and Brandon Wilson, throw in newcomers Trent Hidlay and Isaad Maclay, and it’s easy to see Mifflin County will be strong again in 2014-15 with the goal of a District 6 Dual Meet title and more state qualifiers on the docket.

One thing I did see at Hershey our kids need, in my humble opinion, is to get a little bigger and stronger. We had a hard time finishing shots and by the same token, the guys had trouble stopping their opponent’s shots. The kids at the state level just looked a little bigger and stronger than our Huskies. Some off-season weight training and wrestling should do the trick.

I finally got my first look at Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional and all I can say is – WOW!

The kid has serious game.

He is non-stop action and aggression. He stays low, has great balance, doesn’t get out of position and he’s a great chain wrestler. Always on the attack, he’ll take you down, let you up and as soon as you turn to face him, Lee is back at your legs again.

Lee’s first PIAA appearance featured four wins;  16-1 and 19-4 tech falls, a 2:17 pin and a 15-5 major in the finals.

He finished the season 49-0 with 28 falls, 12 technical falls, five major decisions, three forfeits and one regular decision. In 49 matches, only six guys went the full six minutes with Lee.

Absolutely incredible.

We all knew Marsteller was good. Four state titles and a career mark of 166-0 proved that, but how about winning a state title with a stress fracture in your back?

It was announced after the tournament that Marsteller was wrestling with a fracture but he still came through to win his fourth title and remain unbeaten in his career.

How dominate was he?

Here are his results this past weekend – fall in 1:27, 19-3 and 16-1 technical falls, and a 14-2 major decision in the finals. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Class AAA tournament.

Marsteller, wrestling with a cracked back, is better by a wide margin, than most wrestlers 100 percent healthy.

Haines won his fourth title as well making him and Marsteller only the 11th and 12th in PIAA history to accomplish the feat.

Haines finished his stellar career with a 174-5 record. Ironically, Haines may never see the light of day as a starter at Ohio State with Kyle Snyder coming into the fold.

Snyder gave up his senior season to train at Colorado Springs, site of the Olympic training center. Snyder, who went undefeated in high school and has never been taken down, defeated Haines twice. The decisive wins were by major decision and tech fall at the Super 32 and Powerade tournaments.

Haines may have to go to 197 just to break the Buckeye lineup.

How hard is it to win a PIAA title?

Just ask Parkland’s Ethan Lizak, Hempfield Area’s Sam Krivus, Franklin Regional’s Tyler Smith, Father Judge’s Joe Galasso and Derry Area’s George Phillippi.

What do they all have in common? All were returning state champions who failed to repeat in 2014.

Next year we will have 11 returning or former state champs back. Seven of those will be in AAA and four in AA

Below is the list:

AAA

Devon Brown – Franklin Regional (106)
Spencer Lee – Franklin Regional (113)
Luke Pletcher – Greater Latrobe (120)
Cameron Coy – Penn Trafford (132)
Vincenzo Joseph – Pittsburgh Central Catholic (138)
Jan Johnson – Governor Mifflin (195)
Sam Krivus – Hempfield Area (120 in 2013)

AA

Jake Riegel – Bathlehem Catholic (106)
Luke Karam – Bethlehem Catholic (113)
Korbin Myers – Boiling Springs (120)
George Phillippi – Derry Area (113 in 2013)

Another high school wrestling season has come to a close. I’d like to thank everyone who supported MifflinCountyWrestling.com and for all the nice compliments I received for my first-time coverage of the Huskies on MERF Radio during the tournament trail. I truly appreciate it.

Don’t worry. Even though the season is over the site will still march on.

We will follow the youth wrestling all through the spring and summer when freestyle and greco kick into high gear.

Wrestling is now a year-round sport and as long as the Mifflin County kids are out there doing their thing, this site will have the coverage.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

Category: Carson's Corner, High School Wrestling

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