Carson’s Corner: This Year Was Great, Next Year Could Be Even Better

| March 11, 2015 | 2 Comments

MugThe Mifflin County wrestling team had a very special 2014-15 season.

An 18-win regular season followed by a District 6 Dual Meet championship, a Northwest Regional team title (the first for any county school) and a top 10 finish at the PIAA championships.

Individually, the Huskies produced four regional champions (a county record), five state qualifiers and three PIAA medalists (both school records).

To top it off, coach Kirby Martin and his staff of Dale Searer, Joe Eckenroth and Adam Stout won the District 6 Class AAA Coaching Staff of the Year for the second time in four years.

Yes, no matter how you look at it, this was a great season for The Huskies. One of the best in county history.

Now for the kicker – next year could be even better.

The Huskies bring back all three PIAA medalists – Hayden Hidlay (third at 145), Noah Stewart (fourth at 160) and Trey Hartsock (seventh at 195) and both state qualifiers who didn’t place (Noah Myers at 120 and Trent Hidlay at 138).

In addition, regional qualifiers Kyle Smith (113) and Mike Bielski (182) return.  If Brandon Wilson and Isaac Maclay can bounce back from injuries, this could be the best team ever assembled in county history.

Wilson, injured each of the last two seasons, would have won districts and regionals at 182, if healthy. He was 19-5 and on a roll when he injured his knee the week of districts.

Maclay never got a chance to wrestle. He was injured during football and missed the entire wrestling season. He would have likely been in the starting lineup from day one.

Throw in Jonah Kile and Logan Wise, both a year older and experienced on the mats, add newcomers in junior high standouts Christian Fisher and Drayson Sullivan, and you have the makings of one very tough team to beat.

A potential lineup for next year could look like this:

106: Christian Fisher
113: Joey Taptich
120: Kyle Smith
126: Noah Myers
132: Jonah Kile
138: Logan Wise
145: Trent or Hayden Hidlay
152: Trent or Hayden Hidlay
160: Drayson Sullivan
170: Noah Stewart
182: Brandon Wilson or Mike Bielski
195: Trey Hartsock or Isaac Maclay
220: Hartsock or Maclay
285: Christian Smith or Gavin Erb

Not too shabby is it?

This lineup or something very close to it will be the favorite at districts and regionals and could end up a top 5 team in Hershey.

It all depends on the health of Wilson and Maclay and the maturation process of the younger wrestlers.

Make no mistake, 2014-15 was awesome and we must take the time and honor the accomplishments of these young men. But 2015-16 could be a season we never will forget.

No pressure Kirby.

My PIAA Predictions

I didn’t do near as well this year as I did last season in my annual PIAA predictions.

I was 21-7 combined last season – 11-3 in AAA and 10-4 in AA. This year I was 9-5 in both classes for an 18-10 record. Ugh!

John Michael Maclay even pointed out how bad my 106-AAA prediction was (Matt Parker placed fifth). Thanks buddy.

All kidding aside, D.J. Hollingshead losing shocked me the most and I thought Luke Pletcher would bounce back from his regional loss to A.C. Headlee. No such luck.

The Spencer Lee Machine

Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional) is the most dominate Pennsylvania High School wrestler since Cary Kolat was doing back flips way back when.

The sophomore, now 95-0 for a career, would probably be the top ranked wrestler in the nation in two weights – 113 and 120.

His march through the state tournament is more than impressive – a tech fall in 1:48 and three pins of 1:06, 1:17 and 2:38. If you count his freshman campaign, he is 8-0 with four falls, three technical falls and a major decision in Hershey.

He is a combination of solid technique, supreme athleticism and confidence through the roof. Look for an unbeaten career and four state titles for this young man.

Oliver Impresses

I am very impressed every time I see Jacob Oliver (Huntingdon) wrestle.

This was my second year covering the PIAA championships from MERF Radio and broadcasting Oliver’s matches.

He was fourth as a freshman and second this year, losing to Jake Wentzel of South Park, 4-2, in the finals.

Oliver is a solid, not flashy wrestler who is strong in all three phases – top, bottom and neutral. He came up short this year but a PIAA Gold medal is definitely in this young man’s future.

Local College Grapplers

Good luck to Kaleb Loht (Messiah) as he goes for his second Division III National title.

You couldn’t ask for a better script even in Hollywood. Loht, a senior, has a chance to not only win a second national championship, but set the all-time Messiah win record in the process. Plus, he gets to do it in his own backyard and the Giant Center in Hershey.

Also, wishing good luck to Joe Knarr (Penn State-DuBois) and Nick Grimm (Penn State-Mont Alto) at the NWCA Championships this week in Texas.

I’ve known Joe’s dad, Tom, for a long time, and covered Joe during his Mifflin County career. All I can say is thank God the son turned out different than the father.

Just kidding my friend. You should be very proud of Joe’s accomplishments on and off the mat.

Category: Carson's Corner, High School Wrestling

Comments (2)

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  1. Jeremy says:

    Brian,

    Just wanted to say thanks again for all the time and effort you put in to cover the Mifflin County wrestling program. As you know, I’ve been out of the area for quite some time now, and until you started this site, it was difficult at best to keep up with what was going on back home. I truly appreciate the local boys getting the coverage and recognition they have earned!

    Thanks again,
    Jeremy

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