Huskies Send Four to Hershey, Take Second at NW Regionals

| March 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Mifflin County wrestling team put on a stellar performance – crowning two champions, finishing second in the team race, and most importantly, advancing four to states at the Northwest Regional Class 3A championships on Saturday.

Making the trek to the Giant Center in Hershey are regional champions Christian Fisher (113) and Trent Hidlay (170), along with runner-up Trey Kibe (152) and third-place finisher Derek Burk (120).

Even better news for Coach Kirby Martin – Hidlay is the only senior in the group. Fisher is a junior, Burk a sophomore and Kibe is a freshman.

“I thought we had a really good tournament. Our kids scrapped from day one. The guys in the wrestle backs did an outstanding job of coming through. I’m very proud of this team and how they wrestled this weekend,” Martin said.

Hidlay (39-0) destroyed the competition on his way to a third regional title. The Husky senior collected three pins and a 23-8 technical fall over Zack Becker of Saint Marys in the finals. Hidlay had an incredible 27 takedowns in the tournament – an average of almost seven per match.

“He’s up over 200 takedowns on the season. He wants to go out, score a lot of points, and dominate. Once more, he loves doing it,” Martin said. “His competitive nature is top notch and it’s something our other kids need to copy.”

Hidlay achieved another milestone in his storied career. With his four wins, Trent passed older brother Hayden as the all-time victories leader in Mifflin County High School history. Hayden finished with 149 career wins. With his 151 wins, Trent is only the second wrestler in the history of the county with 150 or more career wins. Former Lewistown standout Matt Bonson is the career leader with 159 victories.

In the finals, Hidlay, winner of 77 in a row, had nine takedowns as he toyed with Becker, a District 4/9 champion who entered the match 32-4.

“It’s really special for me to be on top of the leaderboard with some great guys and friends of mine. It just so happens Hayden was the leader and I passed him,” Hidlay said. “It’s really cool to have the most wins. I don’t think I’ll have it for long though, the freshman we have (Kibe) should pass me, and I hope he does.

“I feel good. I wanted to make sure I came out here, hit everything right and get into a rhythm for next week. Obviously, next week is the big show, but this is just as big. You have to be able to wrestle hard, get some wins, and get into the state tournament. I’m so proud of the team and how we wrestled this weekend. Now we have to keep it going at states.”
Fisher (31-7) owned the 113-pound weight class, going 3-0 with two falls and an 8-1 major decision over Central Mountain’s Johnny Shreffler in the finals. This is the first regional title for Fisher after taking second a year ago.

“Fisher did a great job of attacking the other side of Shreffler’s body because they were ready for his normal single leg,” Martin said. “He kept them off-balance the entire match and that’s what he needs to do going into Hershey.”

Fisher opened with a takedown, added a reversal and another takedown in the second, and a takedown in the third to defeat Shreffler for the fourth time this season.

“It feels a lot better being first than second like last year. I felt strong the whole tournament. I was able to get to my stuff easily. I just felt great,” Fisher said. “I feel really good heading into states.”

Kibe (37-6), fresh off a 5-4 ultimate tiebreaker win over Gage McClenahan of Bald Eagle Area in the District 6 finals, met his budding rival for the third time this season and it was McClenahan (32-4) who won the rubber match by a 5-1 score.

“We did not attempt enough shots in the match, and I think that would have helped a lot, not only for our pace but to keep McClenahan off-balance,” Martin said. “But we can take this and learn from it and the goal will be to place higher than him at Hershey. That’s the mentality we need to have moving forward.”

After a scoreless first period, Kibe chose down, escaped and the middle period ended with the Husky freshman up 1-0. The third period was all McClenahan. The Eagle sophomore hit a reversal, received a penalty point when Kibe accidentally grabbed his headgear and added two back points to get the victory.

“Both weeks we had a battle. He won this one. I won the last one. It stinks right now, but in the end, next week is what’s going to mater,” Kibe said. “I’m upset about it for sure, but I’m ready for next week. I’m feeling good. I know I can beat him next time.”

In the match for third at 120, Burk (25-15), had a rematch with Matt Ryan of Clearfield, who beat Burk in the quarters, 7-3. The Husky sophomore is a quick learner, adjusting to Ryan’s style and gaining a 3-2 victory and a state tournament berth.

“As coaches, we set down and think of who we feel has a chance and Burk was definitely one of the kids we thought had a chance to make it to states,” Martin said. “Again, what he did really well was making adjustments to kids he had lost to. He lost to Ryan early in the tournament. He lost to (Chase) Chapman in the district finals the week before and he beat him in the consy semis. Those are the things you have to do if you want to advance, so super job by Derek.”

Burk came out aggressively – scoring a takedown inside the first 10 seconds of the match. Ryan escaped and the period ended 2-1. Burk chose down to start the middle period and escaped for the 3-1 advantage. Ryan escaped to open the third and despite some harrowing scrambles, Burk’s defense was able to hold off Ryan for the win.

“The takedown set the pace for the match, but it was a lot of him only shooting one shot and once I figured out how to cut him off from getting that one shot it opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” Burk said. “This was my third time wrestling him and I knew what he was going to do. I’m so happy I made it to states. To be honest, I didn’t expect to make it out of here. Now that I have, I’m on top of the world.”

Seniors Logan Wise (132) and Kross Todaro (220) came up short in their third-place matches and saw their high school careers come to a close. Wise (29-15) lost 10-5 to Andrew Stark of Erie Prep and Todaro (26-12) dropped a 3-2 decision to nemesis Mahlik Houtz of Central Mountain.

Joey Taptich (126), John Retherford (138), Jacob Krepps (182), and Bronson Smith-Price (285) failed to reach the consolation finals and saw their seasons come to a close.

“I’m so proud of this group of guys. Getting four in is awesome. There aren’t many teams that get more than one or two,” Martin said. “For this group and how hard they’ve worked this year, they deserve it. I can’t wait for Thursday to get started.”

Erie Prep ran away with the team title, crowning four champions and scoring 189 points. The Huskies took second with 125.5 points followed by Central Mountain (122.5), Bald Eagle Area (107.5), and Philipsburg-Osceola (80).

The PIAA championship run from Thursday, March 8th to Saturday, March 10th at the Giant Center in Hershey. Class 3A action begins Thursday afternoon with the preliminaries and first round starting at 4:00 p.m.

Category: High School Wrestling

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