PIAA Class AAA Duals: Mifflin County vs. Parkland Preview

| February 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Nobody said it was going to be easy for Mifflin County in the PIAA State Duals and coach Kirby Martin didn’t expect it to be, but the bracket the Huskies were put into is downright harsh.

Mifflin County (16-5) opens its first-ever state duals appearance with a showdown against Parkland, the fifth-ranked team in the state. If the Huskies win, a rematch with second-ranked Central Dauphin is the most likely scenario. If they lose, a date with North Allegheny, ranked No. 12 in the state, looms on Friday morning.

Throw Franklin Regional and Owen J. Roberts into the mix and no matter how you look at it, the top-half of the bracket is brutal.

“I don’t know if any team down there is an easy matchup. If you want to be the state champs you have to beat the best kids and the best teams,” said Martin. “No matter where you are you have to wrestle your best, so I’m not concerned about where we are in the bracket.

“It was awesome to win the district duals and now we are only one of 16 teams to make it this far for a chance at winning the state duals. It’s quite an honor and I want the kids to enjoy this moment and appreciate it.”

The Trojans come into the match with a 15-3 record and are coming off a 38-18 win over Wilson (West Lawn) in a play-in match.

Parkland’s only losses on the season are to Easton, ranked third in the state, twice and Nazareth (31-29) in its dual meet opener. The Trojans bounced back to beat Nazareth 54-15 late in the season. The losses to Easton were close affairs, 30-27 in the regular season and 28-26 in the District 11 championship.

Parkland defeated Garnet Valley (53-12), Upper Perkiomen (53-14), Delaware Valley (44-18), Pleasant Valley (63-10), Western Wayne (64-3), Allentown Allen (82-0), Allentown Dieruff (58-12), Wilson Area (35-18), Allentown Central Catholic (66-6), Wallenpaupack (56-19), Whitehall (58-9), Emmaus (58-9), Nazareth, Bethlehem Liberty and Wilson (West Lawn).

The Trojans feature seven ranked wrestlers led by Ethan Lizak, a returning PIAA champion who sports a 29-2 record and the No. 2 ranking at 113. Lizak defeated ninth-ranked Hayden Hidlay in overtime at the King of the Mountain tournament back in December. The rematch will be worth the price of admission.

Parkland finished second at the KOM behind Bethlehem Catholic. Mifflin County finished in 19th place.

Shaun Heist (220), Nezar Haddad (182) and Josh Ortman (138/145) are returning state qualifiers ranked fourth, eighth and No. 13 at their respect weights this year.

Other ranked wrestlers for the Trojans include Ian Evans (No. 10 at 132), Jacob Lizak (No. 11 at 106) and Omar Haddad (No. 20 at 195).

Parkland has a tough, balanced lineup with only one regular sporting a losing record. Ryan Nunamaker, former PIAA champion from Nazareth, is the coach.

“I know they are a very good team. Coming out of District 11 they only lost to Easton by two points at district duals, so they’re good,” Martin replied. “They are balanced with very good kids from top to bottom. It will be a tough dual meet for us. I’m excited to see how we stack up.”

Mifflin County is riding high after claiming the District 6 championship with wins over Bellefonte (43-18) and Central Mountain (31-26). The Huskies stormed back from a 26-6 deficit to end the Wildcats five-year dominance at the D6 Duals. It was the first District 6 team championship for any Mifflin County school.

The Huskies have decent balance in the lineup as well, one that features two ranked wrestlers, Hidlay at 113 and Lucas Besch, ranked 25th at 132.

Mifflin County owns victories over Daniel Boone (57-9), Columbia (63-11), Ephrata (53-17), Garden Spot (52-17), Altoona (49-23), CD East (51-15), Shikellamy (48-15), Harrisburg (60-9), State College (54-9), Wellsboro (66-6), Souderton (70-3), Pen Argyl (49-22), Conestoga Valley (33-22), Penn Manor (51-12), Bellefonte and Central Mountain. The losses came to Downingtown East (43-20), Cumberland Valley (42-18), Central Mountain (33-29), Chambersburg (31-23) and Central Dauphin (50-16).

The Huskies will be without two starters in the lineup, Brandon Wilson (18-5), a solid freshman at 145 and junior McKenon Todaro (8-7) at 160.

With the exception of Besch, the Husky lineup has never been in the bright lights of the Giant Center. The inexperience factor could be a potential problem for Mifflin County.

“I’m concerned a little bit about that. The kids have watched the state tournament but I don’t know that any kid has watched the dual meet tournament,” Martin said. “There’s going to be some nerves. I’m just hoping not too many nerves. More than anything. I want them to enjoy the experience and have fun.”

Here are the potential match-ups for tonight’s dual:

(Mifflin County wrestlers are listed first)

106: Daulton Wilson, 10th (17-11) vs. No. 11 Jacob Lizak, 9th (26-3)
113:  No. 9 Hayden Hidlay, 9th (21-2) vs. No. 2 Ethan Lizak, 11th (29-2)
120: Isaac Underhill, 10th (26-7) vs. Brayson Haas, 9th (18-13)
126: Noah Stewart, 9th (24-5) vs. Tom Yankanich, 10th (4-13)
132: No. 25 Lucas Besch, 12th (20-8) vs. No. 10 Ian Evans, 12th (25-10) or Grady Millick, 12th (18-10)
138: Kevin Bair, 12th (11-9) vs. Evans or Millick
145: Timmy Pearce, 11th (3-4) or Carter Saxton, 11th (1-4) vs. No. 13 Josh Ortman, 11th (27-9) or Mike Marano, 12th (21-7)
152: Joe Knarr, 12th (20-11) vs. Ortman or Marano
160: Darion Pierce, 11th (4-11) vs. Billy Hoh, 11th (13-6)
170: Keith Corson, 11th (5-13) vs. Nathan Christman, 11th (11-8) or Marques Sturdevant, 11th (9-11)
182: Jake Lilley, 11th (7-13) vs. No. 8 Nezar Haddad, 11th (29-5)
195: Tre Carter, 11th (14-13) vs. No. 20 Omar Haddad, 10th, (24-11)
220: Kyle Kahley, 11th (20-8) vs. No. 4 Shaun Heist, 12th (27-7)
285: Caleb Rhodes, 12th (12-9) vs. Zach Maclean, 12th (14-12)

Category: High School Wrestling

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