A highlight for any coach is to see his team, and his athletes achieve success.
On Saturday night at the Schuylkill League Wrestling Championships, Tamaqua mentor Jon Mashack got to experience both.
The Blue Raiders claimed two gold medals, with Colin Mashack winning the title at 126 pounds and Dylan Rynkiewicz doing the same at 132 pounds just minutes later.
"That was probably the highlight of our night," Mashack said. "The two of them have worked together since they started wrestling at four years old. And in Colin's senior year, it's nice to finally see them together on the podium, back-to-back."
Both also won in convincing fashion, with Mashack picking up a 15-0 (2:08) technical fall over Upper Dauphin's Devon Hoffman and Rynkiewicz claiming a 13-0 major decision against Schuylkill Haven's Shay Mattern.
For Mashack, who was also named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler, sharing the experience with Rynkiewicz makes the victory that much sweeter.
"That was really awesome," Mashack said. "We've always wrestled together, and it's just really nice to see him achieve success on this stage."
Rynkiewicz shared his teammate's enthusiasm afterwards.
"To get this is just huge," the junior said. "Colin and I are both in the room everyday, just working as hard as we can to get better. This win means everything"
The performances of Mashack and Rynkiewicz, along with third-place finishes by Adam Toth (152) and Collin Moyer (182) and a fourth-place from Tanner McHugh (113) propelled Tamaqua to a fifth-place finish in the team standings, a significant improvement from a year ago.
"I'm ecstatic with how we did as a team," the coach said. "It shows that all of their hard work is paying off. They have good attitudes and they're putting the time in to get better. I'm just hoping they can achieve that level of success throughout the rest of the season."
Panther Valley entered the second day of the tournament with high hopes, with Rian Shubeck (220) and Richard Nase (195) both in the finals in their respective weight classes.
But unlike last year, the Panthers were unable to bring home titles, as Shubeck and Nase both settled for silver.
"I just really need to work on my offense," Shubeck said after his 8-4 setback to Pine Grove's Ryan Martin. "His defense was really good and I just have to keep working on it as the season goes along."
Nase, a runner-up a year ago, also sees room for improvement after being dealt a 13-4 major decision loss at the hands of Blue Mountain's Zack Yackenchick.
"I just have to work harder," the senior said. "You can always take something out of a loss. It gives you a reason to push yourself harder in practice; you know what you have to work on and what you have to improve for the next time.
"Hopefully the outcome changes (the next time) because you'll know what to do; it's in your hands."
Panther Valley's Len Ogozalek, a champion last year at 106 pounds, took bronze at 113, while Matt Buss (170) and Dylan Moyer (182) took fourth and Darren Goida (120) earned fifth.
While the finish wasn't quite what he was hoping for, Ogozalek can take solace in the fact that his place was well earned against some of the best competition he has faced this season.
"I would have liked to do a little bit better," the senior said. "But overall, I didn't wrestle poorly. I had some good matches, so I'm happy about that."
Panther Valley finished the tournament, which was won by Blue Mountain for a second consecutive season, in sixth place with 118 points, just a half-point behind Tamaqua.
Jim Thorpe got solid performances throughout its lineup to claim ninth place with 95 points.
Kevan Gentile (106) and Ali Capobianco (132) each took third for the Olympians, while Antonio Madera (145) and Robbie Geisinger (160) took fourth and Robert Heller (170) and Justice Batss (220) took sixth.
Capobianco and Gentile both hope to learn from the experience moving forward.
"After finishing sixth last year, this is a big improvement for me," Capobianco said. "I think this will definitely help me going into districts."
The level of competition should also help Gentile, who, like Capobianco, is only a sophomore.
"Everyone here is really good and you know everyone is going to wrestle well," Gentile said. "After not even placing last year, I couldn't be happier with how I did tonight. I'm very excited."
Those performances also satisfied Jim Thorpe head coach Shawn Albert.
"I'm very happy with how we did tonight," said Albert. "To have six place finishers at the Schuylkill League tournament is huge for our program.
"For guys that lost on the first night, it was about battling through to get third. And we did that. Coming up short in the semifinals is certainly disappointing, but we'll learn from those situations and make sure we put the results in our hands next time."