ALTOONA - Once there were 13, and now there are eleven.
That is the picture painted by the Mifflin County Husky wrestling team as the opening day of the 2013 District 6 Class AAA tournament concluded Friday night at the Altoona Field House.
Going into the tournament one brick shy of a load, the Huskies advanced 11 of their 13 wrestlers into this morning's championship semifinals.
Sentinel photo by CHRISTOPHER?SHANNON
Mifflin County’s Isaac Underhill, top, controls Hollidaysburg’s Mark Kociola during their 120-pound bout in the District 6 Class AAA wrestling tournament Friday in Altoona.
With their solid effort, the Huskies are perched in first place with 68 team points, seven ahead of second-place Central Mountain (61). Bellefonte (48.5), Bald Eagle Area (47) and Altoona (43.5) round out the top five.
Gaining berths in the championship semifinals for the Huskies were Daulton Wilson (106 pounds), Hayden Hidlay (113), Isaac Underhill (120), Noah Stewart (126), Lucas Besch (132), Kevin Bair (138), Brandon Wilson (145), Joe Knarr (152), Drew Hannon (195), Kyle Kahley (220) and Caleb Rhodes (285).
Wilson, Hidlay, Underhill, Bair, Knarr, Hannon and Kahley all picked up valuable bonus points with falls, while Besch contributed to the bonus points situation for the Huskies with a major decision.
Stewart and Wilson benefited from shortages on other rosters - both received byes into the championship semifinal round.
The only two casualties for the Huskies were Darion Pierce (160) and Keith Corson (170). who both dropped decisions.
"We stressed attacking with the guys to try and score first," Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said. "We told them don't go out there and be afraid of losing and I thought they a pretty good job of doing that. Of course (in the semifinals) is where the rubber meets the road. The deeper our guys can go into the tournament, the better we are going to be."
As is the case in any tournament, there are always one or two wrestlers who come up with a pleasant surprise.
"We definitely had a couple of pleasant surprises," Martin said. "(Drew) Hannon at 195 came in with an 0-3 record and he got a big pin for us and at heavyweight, Caleb Rhodes wrestled a really good match. He was the lower seed (to BEA's David Gawryla) but he did what he had to do to beat the higher seed. Those two guys provided us with great surprises and I feel that everybody else did what I felt they should have done."
Hannon stepped into the lineup in place of Tre Carter, who was injured in the state team championships two weeks ago.
Wrestling will continue this morning at 11 a.m. with the championship semifinals and first round of consolations wrestled simultaneously on three mats.
The consolation finals for third and fourth are slated to begin at 5 p.m. with the championship finals to follow at 7 p.m.