Mifflin County Stuns the Field to Claim D6-AAA Championship

| February 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

The 2017-18 District 6 Class AAA Dual meet champions.                              Photo by Tish Maclay


For the fourth time in seven years, Mifflin County is the king of District 6 Class AAA wrestling.

The third-seeded Huskies stunned number two seed Central Mountain and top seed Bald Eagle Area to lay claim to the crown after a year’s absence from the event.

No one expected Mifflin County to knock off a 12-1 squad like the Wildcats, who beat them twice in convincing fashion or the Eagles, who came in unbeaten and looking to win their first duals championship since 2006.

But the Huskies picked the most convenient time of the season to wrestle at their best and the results were staggering and shocking – a 36-35 win over Central Mountain on criteria eight (most first points scored) and a convincing victory over BEA 36-33 in which Mifflin County built a 36-12 advantage.

“Today was a very good day. We talked over and over again about how we needed every guy to bring it each match, and if we did that, we stood a chance. As you can see, it worked,” Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said. “I’m so proud of these kids. It hasn’t gone smoothly the last month of wrestling in dual meets and again, I’m just so proud of the kids who have stuck it out to this point and given us everything they have. I’m so glad these kids wrapped up the District 6 team dual meet title.”

The Husky hammers did their job as Christian Fisher (113), Logan Wise (126), Trey Kibe (152) and Trent Hidlay (170) all went 2-0 on the day. In district duals, you need others to stand up and make significant contributions. That’s just what Mifflin County received and the heroes of the day where young men named Kross Todaro, Bronson Smith-Price, John Retherford, Derek Burk and Josh Snook.

In the semifinals against the Wildcats, the trio of Todaro, Smith-Price, and Retherford where the gold standard – picking up the key wins that gave the Huskies the exciting victory.

“When you have two good teams you have to have guys step up and get wins where they had losses before and that was the big difference in the Central Mountain match,” Martin said.

With the score 16-10 in favor of Central Mountain, Todaro and Smith-Price shifted the momentum on the Husky side for the remainder of the dual.

With the score 1-1, Todaro hit a lateral drop with two seconds on the clock to beat Mahlik Houtz 3-1. The Husky senior lost to Houtz in the previous two meetings.

“I waited for my takedown because I didn’t want to get too tired during the match. I tried it early. I timed it out to see how it was going to work and went for it in the last seconds to see if I could get it.” Todaro said.

Smith-Price, who lost to Jacob Edwards twice as well, proved the third time a charm with a fall in 5:59. Smith-Price was in control the match up 6-1 before his fall brought the Mifflin County crowd to its feet.

“Every since he beat me the last time at Central Mountain I prepared and worked as hard as ever,” Smith-Price said. “I knew that today was the day and I had to work harder than ever to beat him. We knew as a team we had to go out and get the points we needed to win.”

Fisher’s 9-0 major over tough Johnny Shreffler made it 23-22 Huskies before the Wildcats reeled off three of the next four bouts to take a 35-29 advantage with one match remaining.

Martin bumped John Retherford up to 145 and needing a fall to send it to criteria the Husky junior did just that – pinning Lane Porter in 2:13 in what ended up a Mifflin County victory.

“My plan was to break him mentally, take him out of his comfort zone, and do what I had to do to put him on his back,” Retherford said. “I knew I could pin him when I had him on his back the first 20 seconds of the match. I rode him strong the rest of the period and caught him on his back again in the second. We wrestled strong as a team, won the close ones, and got pins where we needed them.”

In the finals, the Huskies and the Eagles each won seven bouts with the difference coming in bonus point victories where Mifflin County had six and BEA four.

In a strange twist, the victory and the district championship was locked up thanks to a loss. Snook, wrestling all season long in place of Joey Taptich, went out at 132 with Mifflin County leading 36-12 with four matches left. All Snook had to do was avoid the pin and the Huskies win.

It didn’t look good at the start as Snook was turned to his back in the second with a tight cradle by Lucas Holderman, but the Husky junior fought off his back and scored a takedown of his own in the third in a 7-2 loss to Holderman.

“At the end, he looked excited and knew what his job was. He scored the last points in the match and you can’t ask for anything more out of him. He laid it all out there for the team,” Martin said.

Snook knew going out that he was the key to victory with the strength of the Eagles lineup coming in Seth Koleno, Garrett Rigg, and Gage McClenahan.

“I was just trying to stay tough at the end. My teammates told me not to give up back points. I was out there trying to stay off my back and that was huge for us,” Snook said. “We came out pretty strong and didn’t let up until the end. Wrestling the strong kids I have this year helped me out for this match.”

Bonus point wins for the Huskies against BEA came in the form of falls by Kibe, Todaro, Smith-Price, a technical fall from Wise, a major decision from Fisher, and a forfeit to Hidlay. Burk had a critical 6-4 decision in sudden victory over Garrett Giedroc at 120.

Martin gives some credit to the Husky schedule for making his charges ready for the rigors of the postseason.

“Our schedule beats us up. We take punches and you just hope the kids get hardened from it and respond in situations like this,” Martin said. “Winning district duals is a testament to wrestling tough kids and tough teams all the time.”

For Hidlay, who had just 26 seconds of mat time, winning the duals his senior year with an underdog team makes all the ups-and-downs this season worthwhile.

“We knew coming into this week we could beat Central Mountain and definitely Bald Eagle or Bellefonte. We worked really hard this week and got our heads right,” Hidlay said. “When you come out here and do the right things consistently, good things happen. Today is a great win for our program and a great win for these guys. I love this team so much. I know how hard we work and to get this recognition and a District 6 title is awesome. I can’t wait for state duals.”

Mifflin County travels to the Giant Center in Hershey Thursday night for first-round PIAA duals action against the Nazareth-Spring Grove winner. Match time starts at 8 p.m.

District 6 Class AAA Duals

Mifflin County 36, Central Mountain 35 *

152: Logan Long (CMH) over Brycen Hassinger (MCH) (Fall 2:45) 160: Trey Kibe (MCH) over Alonzo Henry (CMH) (MD 12-4) 170: Trent Hidlay (MCH) over Austin Confer (CMH) (Fall 0:26) 182: Tanner Weaver (CMH) over Jacob Krepps (MCH) (MD 11-3) 195: Tanner Riggle (CMH) over Dylan Grassmyer (MCH) (Fall 4:50) 220: Kross Todaro (MCH) over Mahlik  Houtz (CMH) (Dec 3-1) 285: Bronson Smith-Price (MCH) over Jacob Edwards (CMH) (Fall 5:59) 106: Jason  Rinker (CMH) over   (MCH) (For.) 113: Christian Fisher (MCH) over Johnny  Shreffler (CMH) (MD 9-0) 120: Dalton  Bechdel (CMH) over Derek Burk (MCH) (Dec 7-5) 126: Logan Wise (MCH) over Davis Seyler (CMH) (Fall 1:15) 132: Cody Coleman (CMH) over Josh Snook (MCH) (MD 13-2) 138: Seth Andrus (CMH) over   (MCH) (For.) 145: John Retherford (MCH) over Lane Porter (CMH) (Fall 2:13)

* Mifflin County wins on criteria 8 – most first points scored)

Mifflin County 36, BEA 33

160: Trey Kibe (MCH) over Bailey Irvin (BEAH) (Fall 0:30) 170: Richard Taylor (BEAH) over Anthony Fultz (MCH) (Dec 6-5) 182: Trent Hidlay (MCH) over   (BEAH) (For.) 195: Dylan Bisel (BEAH) over Jacob Krepps (MCH) (Dec 6-4) 220: Kross Todaro (MCH) over David Close (BEAH) (Fall 0:40) 285: Bronson Smith-Price (MCH) over Asher Burkett (BEAH) (Fall 2:39) 106: Zander Ballock (BEAH) over   (MCH) (For.) 113: Christian Fisher (MCH) over Cooper Gilham (BEAH) (MD 16-4) 120: Derek Burk (MCH) over Garrett Giedroc (BEAH) (SV-1 6-4) 126: Logan Wise (MCH) over Drake Holderman (BEAH) (TF 25-7 5:41) 132: Lucas Holderman (BEAH) over Josh Snook (MCH) (Dec 7-2) 138: Seth Koleno (BEAH) over   (MCH) (For.) 145: Garrett Rigg (BEAH) over   (MCH) (For.) 152: Gage McClenahan (BEAH) over   (MCH) (For

Category: High School Wrestling

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