Going for the Gold: Hidlay, Kahley Earn Trip to Hershey

| March 2, 2013 | 0 Comments

(Editor’s note: I will be updating this post with some photos shortly).

Success is simple once you accept how hard it is.

If you understand it requires sacrifice , only then will you be prepared to seize opportunity when it comes.

Hayden Hidlay and Kyle Kahley made that sacrifice and now will be rewarded with a trip to Hershey and a berth in the PIAA State Wrestling championships.

The duo earned the right to Chocolatetown by placing in the top three at the Northwest Regional Class AAA championships at the Altoona Field House on Saturday.

Hidlay earned a second-place finish, losing to Erie Prep’s Jake Gromacki 8-3 in the finals.

After a scoreless first period, Hidlay chose bottom and escaped and the period ended with the Husky freshman on top 1-0. The third period was a wild affair. Gromacki (29-2) escaped to tie things up, but with 48 seconds left, Hidlay (27-5) went behind the Prep junior to take a 3-2 lead.

Another Gromacki escape and a penalty point on Hidlay for an illegal hold made it 4-3 with just under 30 seconds left. Hidlay tried to pull off a big move, but Gromacki countered and put him to his back for the four-point move and the victory.

“Gromacki is a returning state qualifier and he’s seasoned. As good as Gromacki is it’s a little pressure-packed out there,” said Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin. “What he needed to do was just drop in on the leg with both hands. He didn’t need to go for the big move and he knows that. Those are experiences he needs to continue to be in and it will help him at the state level for years to come.”

Listen to Hidlay’s interview with Bob Hower on CHX.

Kahley, now 27-12 on the season, punched his ticket to state the hardest way you can – losing in the first round and battling back through consolations.

“He got fourth in our district then lost his first match here and had to battle all the way back for third. To his credit, this type of atmosphere he thrives on,” said Martin. “He seems to get better as the tournament progresses. He doesn’t get too nervous. He seems to get better as the pressure is on.”

In his third-place bout, the Husky junior escaped in the second and scored the decisive takedown in the third to come away with a 3-2 win over General McLane’s Jake Baker.

“I don’t have words to describe how it feels right now (to be going to states). No words at all,” said Kahley. “After I lost that first round the only thing that went through my mind is I have nothing to lose and just go out there and give everything I had on the mat. I just wanted to get a win. I feel it helps me having all these close matches I did this year. It helped me with my self-esteem. I knew what I had to do and I just went out and did it. My conditioning helped. I run hard and I practice hard and it paid off.

“It helps that I’ve been there (Hershey) before with the state duals. The competition is going to be tough. I still have two or three more days of practice to work hard and improve a little bit. Who knows…maybe I’ll place at states?”

The Huskies had a rough time in the third-place matches, losing four of five.

Isaac Underhill (120) lost to Joel Bowers  of Punxsutawney by fall in 1:43. Lucas Besch (132) saw his career come to an abrupt end when Altoona’s D.J. Hollingshead pinned him in 3:27. Joe Knarr, also a senior, lost a heart-breaker to Central Mountain’s Chad Reese, who made an escape in the second stand up for the 1-0 win. Brandon Wilson capped a solid freshman season but came up short in a 9-2 loss to Allderdice’s Brian Estep.

“I thought we actually overall wrestled better than we were predicted to. We had a lot of kids with almost double-digit losses coming in here and they performed very well,” Martin said. “The third-place matches were bittersweet because having five kids with only one win away from states and only coming out with one, that’s a hard round to swallow.

“There was some nerves, but at this level, with the speed and the mental toughness here at regionals is something you need experience and the fire for the tournament trail. Again, I felt like we wrestled well. I think our kids wrestled better than most would have expected because we were so green coming into this tournament. I’m very, very happy with the overall outcome, but the third-place matches will sit with everybody for awhile.”

Erie McDowell won the team title with 152.5 points. Mifflin County finished fourth with 89 points.

Category: High School Wrestling

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