BETHLEHEM – Three area wrestlers made it to the second day of this year's Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic.
All three found their way into fifth-place bouts Saturday afternoon at Liberty High School.
Northwestern's Mike Ortiz earned fifth place by forfeit, while Ty Herzog (Northern Lehigh) and Connor Frey (Lehighton) settled for sixth place.
Ortiz, who is wrestling this season with a torn ACL, was hoping to finish higher. But didn't make any excuses or blame his injury for his finish.
"It's difficult because I have to change everything I do," said the Tiger senior. "But I'm not going to say I would have finished better if I wasn't injured because you just have to wrestle."
Ortiz lost in the 170-pound quarterfinals, but won a consolation match Friday night to secure a medal and a return for more wrestling Saturday.
He won a second wrestle back on Saturday, beating Liberty's Noah Klingborg 7-1. He dropped his consolation semifinal, 5-2 to Central Dauphin's Colton Pappelman, and earned the fifth-place medal by forfeit.
"I would have liked to end the day with a win," he said. "I'm definitely happy, but I would like to have finished higher.
"I could have wrestled a couple matches better. I've got a couple months until districts and that's the time when I have to work on what I've got to work on."
Herzog (152) also went to the consolation bracket after a quarterfinal loss.
He won two consolation matches, beating Liberty's Mike Lovell, 4-3, Saturday before falling 2-1 to Wyoming Seminary's Ty White in the consolation semifinal.
Herzog dropped his fifth-place bout, 12-4 to Phillipsburg's Jim Schuitema.
"Overall I thought maybe I could get a little higher, maybe third or fourth place," he said. "I can't complain too much. I know it's a hard tournament. I am satisfied, but I wish I could have done a little better."
Herzog, who will wrestle the postseason at either 145 or 152, enjoys facing the difficult competition that he has seen each year at Liberty's tournament, formerly known as the Hurricane Classic.
"It's tough because you can have more than one state champion in one bracket if it turns out right," he said. "It's a double-A and triple-A tournament, you have all those guys in there. Even when you drop down into the consolation it's really grueling to wrestle back."
Lehighton's Frey, a freshman, stayed away from the consolation bracket until losing a semifinal bout Saturday morning.
After three wins on Friday, Frey (160) dropped three straight close matches on Saturday to take sixth place.
"I wanted to make it to the finals," he said. "I knew I had a good chance. I just lost 3-2."
Frey's one-point loss in the semifinal came at the hands of Northampton senior Bobby Fehr. Frey dropped another 3-2 decision to Freedom's Joshua Young in the consolation semifinal.
He lost to Nic McGinley (St. Marks of Wilmington, Delaware), 4-1 in the fifth-place bout.
Frey wasn't too disappointed with sixth place in his first trip to such a deep tournament, but after reaching the semifinals he was hoping for at least one win Saturday.
He got a medal and some valuable experience at the event.
"I learned a lot,' Frey said. "I learned where I have to be to be able to compete at the level of those kids in the finals.
"It gives me more confidence and now I feel like I can be more of a leader in the room."
Lehighton head coach Dan Williams was overjoyed to hear that his best wrestler not only wants to compete well himself, but also wants to help guide the team to greater success.
"I love to hear that," Williams said.
This year's Holiday Classic team trophy went to Wyoming Seminary, which cruised to the title with 245 points. Central Dauphin was second at 163, followed by Phillipsburg (157.5), Big Spring (123) and Delaware Valley (119).