LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County wrestling team went a perfect 5-0 on the day to capture its third straight Husky Duals championship, while Hayden Hidlay tied a county record with the fastest fall in team history.
The Huskies, now 16-3 on the season, defeated Wellsboro (78-0), Souderton (56-17), Pocono Mountain East (40-22), Conestoga Valley (40-14) and Penn Manor (45-27) to cruise to the crown. The victory over Wellsboro was the first shutout in the history of the three-year program.
"The last two weeks have been a grind. We had three matches last week and we had Wednesday, Thursday and the Husky Duals today," Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said. "Our kids wrestled with grit. We have had a long stretch here where we've been wrestling constantly. It wasn't pretty wrestling, but it got the job done for us to win the Duals again. It will be nice to have a couple days of practice and a weekend for them to rest before district duals start."
"I mean even if a kid loses it's not a failure if he does his job and doesn't give up bonus points. I tried to emphasize that to them. It's always a work in progress. What I want to see is that fire in their belly getting ready for Central Dauphin and district duals. That is our focus right now."
Isaac Underhill (132), Hidlay (138), Noah Stewart (152), Trey Hartsock (182), Timmy Pearce (195) and Colton Craig (285) all went 5-0 on the day to lead the Husky contingent. Hidlay, in particular, thrives at the Husky Duals and this year was no exception. The 26-2 sophomore was involved in the premier match of the event and broke the school record for fastest fall in the same day
Hidlay, ranked fifth in the state at 138, hooked up in a hard-fought match with Lucas Ortiz, ranked 15th.
Ortiz opened the scoring with a takedown, but Hidlay quickly reversed to make it 2-2 after one. Hidlay chose down and escaped to make it 3-2. Ortiz took bottom in the third and escaped with 27 seconds left in regulation, forcing overtime.
The one-minute sudden death ended scoreless. Ortiz chose down in the first 30-second OT and Hidlay rode him out. Hidlay escaped in the second 30-second OT and won by a 4-3 score.
In his next match against Penn Manor, Hidlay set the school record with a seven-second demolition of Matt Loiseau of Penn Manor. The seven-second fall broke the record set earlier in the day by Keith Corson, who had a 12-second pin over Aaron Buckwalter of Wellsboro. The pin tied Lewistown's Clint Chambers for the quickest fall in county history. Chambers had his back in 1999.
"The match before I was really upset about the way it happened," Hidlay said. "I was in on two shots I should have finished. I should have tilted the kid but it ended up going into double overtime, which really didn't make me happy. I just decided I wanted to be done with the day and get out of it quick."
Craig had his coming out party with a solid day at heavyweight. After struggling in the early part of the season, the Husky senior looks more comfortable and seems to be finding his groove. His biggest win of the day came against Jeremy Candelario, ranked 17th in the state, from Pocono Mountain East.
"Our studs certainly did their jobs and most of them were tested at some point. Hidlay was tested and he needs that getting ready for the postseason," Martin said. "I'm proud of Colton Craig, a first year wrestler; he really looked like a heavy weight today. It was a total team effort. I think everyone contributed in some way and that's very significant."
"I like where we are right now," Martin said. "I would like it a little bit better if we had everybody in the lineup. Hopefully, that will come together at the district duals."
Noah Myers (113) went 4-1 on the day, Daulton Wilson (120) and Kyle Kahley (220) were 3-1, Jonah Schultz (106) and Keith Corson (160) finished at 3-2. Kyle Smith (1-0 at 120), Tre Carter (1-0 at 220), Isaac Habbershon (1-2 at 145), Eli Habbershon (1-3 at 170) and Dalton Hildebrandt (0-3 at 145) also competed for Mifflin County.
The day wasn't all peaches and cream for the Huskies. There were too many late points given up at the ends of periods or matches. It's these situations the coaching staff continues to work on.
"We are never happy about losing in overtime, losing in the third period, giving up a major decision and kids giving up points at the end of the period," Martin said. They are all little things we don't like at all. The kids know it, but we still have to emphasize it with them. Maybe we need to set up these scenarios with them in practice a little bit more to get ready for district duals. Those are things we've got to improve on. We still are not good in all of those situations."
Pocono Mountain East finished second at 4-1, Conestoga Valley (3-2) took third, Penn Manor (2-3) was fourth, Souderton (1-4) placed fifth and Wellsboro (0-5) was last.