Carson’s Corner: Don’t Worry Folks, Mifflin County Wrestling is Alive and Well

| October 6, 2013 | 10 Comments

MugI wasn’t going to comment about the transfers of Quentin Milliken and Andrew Wert, two up-and-coming freshmen, from Mifflin County to Trinity (District 3) High School until the cat came out of the bag recently on the District 6 Wrestling Forum.

Don Milliken, father of Quentin, said on the forum, “I’m not sure who will be where @ MC. A lot has happened since the week before school started.  I was offered a great opportunity and our family will be relocating to the Camp Hill /Mechanicsburg area. Since we are in the process of selling & buying a home, Q is cyber schooling this year in the 8th grade. Wert is following the same path. They are focused on becoming scholar athletes, not dumb jocks (thank you Ken Chertow).”

Hello. Scholar athletes? Are you kidding me?

Look, the parents of Milliken and Wert have every right to take their kids wherever they want them to go, but don’t insult our intelligence by saying the move was for academic reasons.

If that’s the case, why are Quentin and Andrew cyber-schooling as eighth graders when they should be going into ninth at Mifflin County?

I’ll tell you why in one word – redshirt.

It’s a practice all-too common in high school wrestling but it doesn’t make it right. Redshirting in college I understand. The maturity level of a true freshman and a fifth-year senior is like night and day. Most kids aren’t ready to jump into athletics and academics their first-year of college.

Maybe it’s just me, but deliberately holding a kid back doesn’t sound like you’re focusing on their academics. The move happened so when Quentin and Andrew get to Trinity next season, they will have four years of eligibility when it should only be three. Sounds like an athletic move to me.

This brings us to Chris Bentley, head coach of Trinity and the Renegade Force wrestling club. Quentin and Andrew wrestle for Renegade Force and he obviously is a good recruiter because they all are drinking the Shamrock Kool-Aid.

And make no mistake; recruiting is exactly what he did to entice both boys to come to a school that was 0-12 last season. How could it be otherwise?

I have a serious beef with high school coaches who run summer wrestling clubs because of what just happened here. I don’t want to sound like our socialist president but high school coaches shouldn’t be running their own clubs. Most will use it for what Mr. Bentley is doing now.

Let’s look at this from an athletics standpoint. How are Quentin and Andrew going to be better off at Trinity?

The Shamrocks have never been a wrestling power…they are a basketball school. Coach Bentley obviously can’t win with home-grown talent (let me repeat, they were 0-12 last year), so who are Quentin and Andrew going to have in the wrestling room to make them better?

Answer: No one. Unless he brings in more recruits.

The Huskies are the power team right now in District 6 and are close to making the jump to becoming a regional and hopefully, a state power. Methinks Quentin and Andrew would have better competition in the Mifflin County wrestling room than Trinity. Competition makes you better. Without competition there’s no barometer to gauge what you have to do to improve yourself.

Unfortunately, like a lot of coaches these days, Mr. Bentley will try and mooch off the hard work of others and recruit his lineup, just so he can pile up the W’s and be credited with changing the fortunes of the unlucky Shamrocks.

Make no mistake, the coaching these kids received in Mifflin County was high level stuff, despite what the nameless idiot, who keeps emailing me about how great Renegade is, thinks.

The junior high coaches – Bill and Justin Shafranich, Mark Cavanaugh and Dave Wray – are the best in the state and have been voted so by their peers. The varsity coaches get what the elementary and junior high coaches molded and polish it up.

Which brings me to my third and final point. This one bothers me the most. I have people, too many in my opinion, texting me or calling me and saying Mifflin County could have been dominate this season, but now they aren’t so sure.

The loss of Milliken and Wert, plus the ACL injury to Brandon Wilson, does weaken the Huskies some but by no means are they about to fall off the wrestling map.

No offense to Quentin and Andrew, but Mifflin County didn’t lose Chance Marsteller or Thomas Haines. They are, or would have been, freshman and there are no guarantees in wrestling. Success at the PAJW states doesn’t necessarily translate into high school success – just ask Sam Brownlee (4x champ), John Ferens (5x champ) or Nico Cortese (8 x champ) if it does. None of them lived up to their reputations or expectations.

Those who tell me the Huskies are in trouble must have forgotten we still have Hayden Hidlay, Ike Underhill, Kyle Kahley, Noah Stewart, and Wilson when he comes back. Youngsters like Noah Meyers, Trey Hartsock, Mike Bielski and Kyle Smith are on the way with more coming through the pipeline at the elementary level.

Hidlay had a monster summer season, placing second at the Cadet Nationals in both Freestyle and Greco; Kahley is a returning state qualifier, and Stewart and Wilson are defending District 6 champions, who were one win away from states. The cupboard is far from bear. The only real question marks are at 106 and 285. The rest of the lineup is solid.

I do believe Quentin and Andrew will be successful and I wish them all the best.  I hope they win multiple state titles. I really do. They are good kids. I like Don Milliken. He seems like a nice guy, but I feel it’s a mistake to leave Mifflin County right when there is a wrestling renaissance happening.

In closing, there is an old saying that goes like this, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” However, in real life, most of the time, it isn’t.

Thanks for reading.

 

Category: Carson's Corner, Columns/Features

Comments (10)

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  1. Michael Milliken JR says:

    I would like to call attention to this article about the underage defenseless student-athletes.

    First off, let me say they are talented CHILDREN who are in no way at fault for anything they are being accused of in this article. They are kids in the households of their parents that have no say in the matter of what is happening in their lives. It is unfortunate that a man with an obvious Napoleon Complex feels the need to masquerade as a macho man to exploit these families to the extent of an old-fashioned tar and feathering. Get off your soapbox already! Are we that barbaric that we must stoop to such a low level to receive attention? Are we that desperate that we have to cut the self-esteem of these two for the sake of a mediocre at best article? Come on, Mr. Carson, why don’t you just look up the credit history of the families and publish their social security numbers as well and hide behind your computer screen.

    Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Have you ever had to move to a new school? Do you know what these children are going through? No sir, you must not know any of this. These CHILDREN—and yes I emphasize this purposely—have no say in the matter of what they will eat for dinner tonight, let alone where they will live tomorrow or go to school. Do you allow your children to choose their school district? No, you live in a house and your children live with you. If you move, they move. If you make liver and onions for dinner, they eat liver and onions for dinner. It is not a democracy where the children vote and the parents must abide by their children’s requests in fear of a revolution. It is very fortunate that Don has taken a career path choice that will place him with a company he used to work for, but unfortunately shut down their Belleville office. It is also very fortunate that this same company is near Trinity High, as is the house they will be purchasing. It is unfortunate, however, that you just pick a subject and write your biased article against Trinity and these two children as they are leaving town in hopes that they won’t respond. Kick them in the rear as they leave and shut the door so they can’t retaliate.

    Sure it’s a great opportunity for these two adolescents to help rebuild a program with a coach they have grown to love, but did the children have a say in the matter? Also, if you are such a great writer why are you living in Mifflin County, writing articles about small-town families and their fortunes in an attempt to make your jealousy seem righteous? Read your own article before you publish it. In no place in Don’s comment does it say Quentin will strictly focus on academics, it says “They are focused on becoming scholar athletes, not dumb jocks.” Hello. Scholar Athletes? Glasses anyone?

    You have no right to publish an article like this about the Milliken and Wert families and their life choices. Nor do you have the right to plant a seed in the heads of your mindless readers to get them to discriminate against these children and their families so that they will not feel a warm welcome, should they return. So no, he is not insulting your intelligence; he is stating what is going on. Your lack of intelligence caused you to infer a conclusion and write with reckless abandon in an attempt to destroy everything in your path. When really all you are doing is losing respect for yourself.

    Red-shirt you say? Why don’t you do your job and do a little research. According to ncld.org, “Currently 2.4 million students are diagnosed with LD and receive special education services in our schools, representing 41% of all students receiving special education.” Am I a doctor? No, and I am in no way labeling either of these children with a learning disability (LD). But, did you stop to think that maybe this was the case? Or did you even think about bullying in our schools before you published your article, in which you think you are cunning and witty, being a cyberbully yourself? This is a practice all-too common in journalism, but it doesn’t make bullying right. Especially when it is at the expense of two defenseless teenagers.

    You make your point about maturity levels of true freshman and fifth-year seniors, but what about 14 year old boys with twitter and Facebook and 47 year old “men” with countless newspapers and Internet forums? That, sir, makes you a hypocrite. Are you the one not ready for the big leagues? Preying on these children and making your cyber fame on your articles about these children’s real world accomplishments so that you can relive your “glory days.” So, maybe I misdiagnosed you with a Napoleon Complex, and should have said a Peter Pan Complex?

    Let’s rewind a bit to cyber bullying. According to stopcyberbulling.org: “Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.” So, I was right in my accusations, but wrong in the sense that you are a bully—you have harassed these children, and hopefully not to the point to cause them any more stress than they are already feeling.

    Now, on to the academic aspect, which you repeatedly mention, yet fail to site any sources whatsoever. Let us take a look at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Academic Achievement Award from the 2011-12 school year and compare the schools. This information can be found at http://paayp.emetric.net. Mifflin County School District has 55.8% of its high school students at or above the proficient level in Math and 54.2% in Reading. Trinity on the other hand, has 61.4% in Math and 73.9% in Reading. So it seems as though Trinity is on a higher level than Mifflin County when it comes to academics. Which could also be the reason the kids are cyber schooling, only validating what was said in the quote about being SCHOLARLY. You state eligibility of these students and sports? If they can’t pass a class in a school district with better academic credentials, they won’t be eligible at all. When you think about it with doing research, and an open mind in regards to what’s best for the children and their future, it does start to seem like an academic move.

    Now, on to recruiting, how can you say that these students were recruited? It’s not like they are going on to college and the coach can offer them housing as well as scholarships based upon skill level. Once again, let me repeat my main point, they are CHILDREN! This is not the children’s choice at all. They are still minors and are not legally allowed to make choices for themselves. You however, are a grown man, and make choices for yourself, as well as your family. You also have the liberty to go where you please and to whatever district you want, and I for one will not make a fuss about it.

    So in closing, Brian, before you post a closed-minded bias article about a family and their choices as a whole, I ask you to take a step back and think about how it may alter their lives. Life is not about Mifflin County athletics, contrary to what your article leads us to believe. Also, losing you as a sports writer is not like losing a John Clayton or Chris Berman, in fact would you be missed? No offense to you, but you are a mediocre at best writer, and there are a million other newspapers out there. I too believe that no matter where these *ahem* CHILDREN end up, they will be successful. Hopefully where ever it is, you will not be there to piggyback off of their success or write about possible misfortunes of other 14 year olds. The grass can always be greener, depending on perspective, and to whom you are biased.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Milliken JR

    P.S. Yes, I am related to Quentin, his father is my uncle, but I would write this no matter whom you wrote this malicious propaganda towards.

    • Brian Carson says:

      First off, if anyone is being malicious it’s you sir. If you would have actually read my article instead of forming an opinion, just because it mentions a relative, you would’ve seen I never accused Quentin or Andrew of anything.

      I even said at the end of the article they are good kids. I even said I’ve met Quentin’s dad, Don, and I like him a lot. The fact is sir, they were recruited and this I know for a fact. The source who told me this is very accurate and well informed but didn’t want to give his name and I will abide by his wishes and protect him.

      My article only states that I believe they made a mistake transferring out of Mifflin County. You see, what I wrote is a column sir. A column is a person’s opinion. I know we live in an age of political correctness and what not, but I still believe we are allowed to have our opinions heard.This is still a free country, for now.

      I have harassed no one and if you think that’s what my column was about than you sir need to understand what you’re reading a little bit better. Just because you disagree with what I wrote doesn’t make me a cyber-stalker or any other inane comments you come up with. It was to talk about the rampant recruiting going in wrestling and that Mifflin County will still be a good wrestling team in 2013-14 and beyond.

      As far as my glory days, I have none. I live in the present and am comfortable in my own skin and stand by all I write. I have zero bias towards Mifflin County. I didn’t even go to high school in Mifflin County. What I am against is coaches who use their summer wrestling clubs to recruit, like Mr. Bentley does at Trinity.

      Attacking me for my sports writing ability is laughable. I have three writing awards on my wall and a resume that boasts working for CBSsports.com telling me different. I don’t just cover Mifflin County sports. I have covered Penn State football, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the State College Spikes and many more teams and organizations.

      You need to do a little research yourself, John Clayton and Chris Berman are broadcasters, not journalists. I have no desire to be a broadcaster, although if I did, I’d probably be good at that too.

      Brian

  2. larry niemond (hayden's grandfather) says:

    well said–I’ve been so looking forward to the MC wrestling fortunes for the future then this happens. We have been providing support for these two young men for many years.I wonder how much support they’ll get at Trinity. Whatever happened to being true to your school and community? Keep up the good work.

  3. A transfer wrestler (different school) says:

    Brian Carson.. you are an idiot. transferred from one school to another my junior year and was accused of it being for athletic reasons. accused by people who i did not know and they did not know anything about me but my name and wrestling ability. just like I’m sure you know nothing but that about these kids your accusing. the truth is unless your in the family or a close friend then you don’t know anything and you are nothing but another jealous hater. whether or not these kids moved for athletic reasons i do not care because its not my business. and guess what its none of yours either. maybe the did transfer to go to a school where they know the coach very well and feel that that coach gives them the best opportunity at reaching their full opportunity. maybe they didn’t like the school district they’re in. maybe they have friends that theyd like to be closer to so they moved and switched schools. are any of these reasons for you to attack them? its not wrong for someone who’s not an athlete to move and change schools if they see a better fit. so why is it wrong for these kids or any other athlete that wants to go somewhere else if they wish. leave it up to the PIAA to make that decision. again your nothing but a hater jealous of these kids, their coach, and the school they’re going to. you are ignorant to attack kids the way you just did as if they committed a crime

    • Brian Carson says:

      For the 100th time, I never attacked these kids. Just read the article and show me where I attacked them?

      As far as being jealous and a hater I am neither. Why would I be jealous of a coach who didn’t win a match last season?

      I have met both Quentin and Andrew and think they are great kids. Maybe your your situation was different but recruiting is becoming a big problem in high school sports and I believe the issue needs to be addressed.

  4. Jenny Milliken says:

    I had no intention of responding to this article but out of respect for the all those who have coached, watched and supported our son over the years I feel the need to respond. Our decision to move is based on a unexpected career opportunity for my husband. He was offered his dream job. He was not looking for a job or even applied with this company. It was a company that he had worked for, for nearly 16 years before they closed there Belleville facility. Our family was happy here in Mifflin County. They made an offer that we could not pass up. Unfortunately it came with some very tough choices on our part. Believe me this has been one of the hardest decisions my husband and I have had to make. We are both Mifflin County natives born and raised. We prayed hard about our decision. We feel we have made the best decision for ALL three of our children.

    We have chosen to move into the Cumberland Valley School District, which offers great elementary, middle and high schools along with an awesome wrestling and cheer leading programs. I’m not going to lie, Quentin said, “Since we are moving close to Trinity, can I give it a try”. After researching the school, we are open to his request. Mind you no transfer has been made to any school at this time. But the CV school district is the reason we picked that area NOT Trinity. For those who don’t know, we have a daughter in 2nd grade and one in 5th grade, they will be in school for many years after Quentin graduates. This school district is in their best interest as well. It’s an easy commute to Mifflin County where most of our family lives and a thirty five(ish) mile commute to Dons’ work. Plus the fact that my current employer has an office nearby for me to transfer too. For us this area seems to meet the needs for our girls as well as Quentin. We feel the ninety five mile, one way commute to Don’s job is too much to do every day. After turning into a three hour drive home to Lewistown this past Friday, after work, it has reaffirmed to us that the move is an absolute.

    To address the whole “red-shirting” issue. Why did we make the move to cyber school and repeat the eighth grade? Ninth thru twelfth grade are important years for all kids. These are crucial years to prepare for college. We knew our move was coming in the upcoming six months after Don started his new job. I truly myself felt having Quentin move schools during his ninth grade year would greatly impact his grades. So we made the choice to hold him back. I would rather have him repeat the eighth grade instead of the ninth grade. If you feel that is “red-shirting” then you are entitled to your opinion.

    In closing I would just like to say we are not moving/transferring “ for wrestling”. Nor was Quentin recruited. It is solely due to a career opportunity. I don’t know any family that relocates with athletes that does not consider schools that offer great academics as well as athletic opportunities. Also thank you to all the coaches, friends, family and fans who have helped Quentin become the young man & wrestler that he is. Thank You to Quentin and all the MC wrestlers who have worked so hard to put MC on the map. Mr. Carson you are 100% correct about one thing , MC wrestling is alive and well. But to reiterated the point that I stated at the beginning of my reply, I decided to reply because there are plenty of people in MC that we respect and care about.

  5. Bob Pecht says:

    If it’s all about recruiting what was the need to compare these two young kids to Marstellar and Haines? How was it? “It’s not like we are loosing a Martstellar or Haines.” THat’s not a bash???? Why the need to throw comparisons out there? IDIOT….

    • Brian Carson says:

      Bob,

      You are right. I was an idiot for saying that. I’ll admit it. I wanted to show some of the doubters that Mifflin County would still be a good team, even with the loss of Milliken and Wert. I should have stated it in a completely different way and I apologize to Andrew, Quentin and any other person I offended by the comment.

  6. Bob Pecht says:

    Not sure where my long post went so I’ll type another. Well you dont need to speak on how MC’s good team is still alive, it’ll show in a month or 2. I’m sorry for my personal bashes towards you but I could help myself as I was very annoyed with what I was reading. I dont know much about the Wert case but I do know after spending seat time beside Don at PJW states this past year just before our sons wrestled each other,I know that this isn’t a sports draft or recruitment. He has teased me for years that we should move back to MC and have him wrestle for my Alma Mater and get him in the practice room with all the tough kids around his weight. And as far as Cyber schooling so that they have 4 yrs eligibility at Trinity, I would have done the same if my son was willing. Not just for sports but for an easier transition. These families should take this arguing as a compliment because none of this would be on here if these were 2 first/second year kids or kids that would barely make J.V. this year. There is alot of moving around lately, and I guess there always has been, and alot for wrong reasons, but this is a case of a family being better off, bettering themselves and I dont blame them at all and I’m sure it’s tough on all them too. I say congrats to both from up North and I will be watching for them years to come.

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