LEWISTOWN - Tyson Searer's status in Mifflin County wrestling lore was cemented at this year's PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships, where he became the first to ascend the award stand wearing Husky purple.
The exclamation point at the end of the sentence came Thursday, when he was presented the Rod Tate Award as the county's top wrestler.
It's the perfect ending for his career, which included three years at Lewistown prior to the formation of Mifflin County High School.
Tyson Searer was the winner of the Rod Tate Award as the county’s best wrestler.
"It's sad to see it come to an end, but I can't think of a better way than to get the award in front of all these people," Searer said. "The big applause at the end was nice. It's a good way to go out after it's all said and done."
Searer's coach, Kirby Martin, said there are several reasons his 220-pounder was worthy of the recognition.
"The biggest reason is his commitment to wrestling and training all year-round, setting high goals and following through," Martin said. "The last two years he really did things right as far as what it takes to be a state placewinner."
Searer went through the regular season with a perfect record, winning district and region titles for the second straight year, along with titles in the King of the Mountain and Conestoga Valley tournaments. He pinned 12 of 32 regular-season opponents, getting technical falls in three of those bouts and major decisions in seven.
He advanced into the state bracket at 38-0, and won his first-round match before a setback in the quarterfinals meant he could finish no better than third.
He wrestled back to the third-place match, which went into overtime before he captured the state bronze.
"This trophy means a lot to me. It's just a great honor to have," Searer said. "Behind a guy's name like Rod Tate, it means a lot to have the award.
"The names that are on the Rod Tate award list are some great, great wrestlers."
Second in the running for this year's award was Brandon Michael. Joe Knarr was the third nominee.
The award is named for Mifflin County's first state champion, who coincidentally wrestled during the Penn Highlands era, the last time all of the high school students in Mifflin County competed under one banner.
The Rod Tate Award is presented annually by MERF Radio to Mifflin County's top wrestler. Nominees are voted on by local media, including The Sentinel, and representatives of the Mifflin County High School's athletic department. This year, due to the merger of Lewistown and Indian Valley high schools, each voting outlet chose three candidates, with points awarded to first-, second- and third-place vote recipients and the award going to the player with the highest vote total.