MC Wrestling 2017-18 Preview: Kirby Martin

| December 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Last year was a transition one for Mifflin County wrestling coach Kirby Martin and his squad. After five years at the top of District 6, the Huskies fell to 6-9 after losing ten starters to graduation.

Mifflin County begins a new season with high expectations, thanks to eight starters returning, including PIAA 160-pound Class AAA champion Trent Hidlay. The past is behind them, and Martin believes ability married with hard work will be the key for the Huskies to return to the upper echelon of the district and beyond.

“Every year I have high expectations and hard work is going to be one of those. I want to make sure our practices are quality ones every time,” Martin said. “On the other end of it, it’s important to remind the kids they need to work hard every day. It’s a choice, so if you can work hard every day, you’re going to get that much better. If you choose to take a day off, you’re going to fall behind your opponent and your goals.”

Hidlay, 38-0 last year and 111-14 overall, is the unquestioned leader of the Huskies. The North Carolina State-bound senior comes into the 2017-18 season chasing history. Hidlay has a chance to join Chief Logan’s Joe Heller as the only two-time state champ in county history. He’s a solid bet to become the first wrestler in county history to advance to three state finals.

“Trent has developed into a very mature wrestler and leader. The reason we have many of the kids on the team this year is because of him going out and saying, you need to wrestle,” Martin said. “His approach to the wrestling team, his training, and getting kids to wrestle, is all excellent. You need guys like that to have someone to look up to and see how it’s done. You can tell them until you’re blue in the face, but until you watch someone who went through the process and is going through it again; he wants to be excellent in everything he does. It is so valuable just to have that person to copy.”

Hidlay is not the only state medalist back in the fold. Junior Christian Fisher (31-9 at 106) placed eighth in Hershey and looks to return as a 113-pounder. Also back are regional qualifiers Joey Taptich (24-12 at 113), Derek Burk (14-18 at 120), and Logan Wise (19-9 at 132). Wise and Taptich are seniors and Burk is a sophomore. Other starters returning are juniors John Retherford (11-15 at 138), Dylan Grassmyer (195) and Brian Smink (145/152).

“If we are going to be more successful than last year they’re going to have to take it up another notch. We need them to be beating good kids ranked in the region, ranked in the state, and if they take that next step, we could have a really good year,” Martin said. “Another thing we need to do is fill all the weight classes. The big thing from last year is we have to cut down the pins and forfeits we gave up last year. That was our real Achilles last year – going into matches knowing we could be giving up five or six pins. If we can put a kid out there who is going to battle and not get pinned, that’s going to be huge for us.”

The Huskies have to replace multiple state qualifier Noah Myers and regional qualifiers Austin Haubrick and Scout Kyper. Luckily for Martin, a solid group of newcomers led by two-time PJW state champion Trey Kibe, sophomore Jacob Krepps and freshman Brycen Hassinger are on the scene.

Additional help and depth arrived thanks to the Husky football team. Besides Krepps and Grassmyer, seniors Cole Baker and Kross Todaro, along with sophomore Bronson Smith-Price dot the roster.

“I’m super excited to have them on the team because number one they bring that competitive edge and that’s not something you can teach,” Martin said. “Number two they are athletic. That in itself is a huge step in the right direction of putting a quality wrestler on the mat. We’ll see how far they can go this year.”

In the end, the goal for Martin is always to do better than the year before with hard work and leadership the foundation to a successful season.

“I want to do better than 6-9. Obviously, that was very frustrating. I want to have a better team record. I do want us as a team to be scrappier. I want us to show more fight in every single match,” Martin said. “I’m hoping for quality practices every day. I think if that’s happening success will build on itself. It’s going to come down to the leaders on this team constantly reminding kids to work hard. The harder you work, the more successful you’ll be.”

Familiar rival Central Mountain is the top dog in the district with Erie Prep the runaway favorite in the Northwest region.

“Central Mountain is going to be super balanced again. No real all-stars but solid all the way through. They have a lot of kids returning who are good wrestlers. They are going to be the top team in District 6,” Martin said. “In the region, it’s not even going to be close. Erie Prep is nationally ranked starting out the year and should be because they are a loaded team. They are going to do really well this year.

Mifflin County Huskies

Overall: 6-9. Mid-Penn Commonwealth: 2-4

Head coach: Kirby Martin. Assistant Coaches: Dale Searer, Tyler Bedelyon, and Dave Wray.


Category: High School Wrestling

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