Panther Valley knew it was facing a challenge taking on top-seeded Bethlehem Catholic in the District 11 Class AA quarterfinals. The Hawks are going for their third consecutive PIAA Class AA team wrestling title.
Unfortunately, the challenge was too great on this night, as Becahi rolled to a 76-0 win to advance to today's semifinals, where it will face Pen Argyl. The other Class AA semifinal will be Palisades against Saucon Valley.
Although the opening day of the Class AA tournament didn't end well for Panther Valley, it began in impressive fashion as the Panthers beat Palmerton for the program's first-ever win at District Duals.
Panther Valley was unable to slow the Hawks' attack as Becahi won 10 of its 14 bouts by fall.
Panther Valley was competitive in some matches as Rian Shubeck lost a 2-1 decision to Andrew Dunn at 285 and Richard Nase dropped a 7-3 decision to Josh Alpha at 195.
Ultimately, Panther Valley coach Tim Robb felt his team was just overwhelmed facing a team the caliber of Bethlehem Catholic.
"We were in a couple of matches, but I think my kids were intimidated by the whole thing," said Robb. "They were here for the first time and some of them didn't quite wrestle up to their ability."
Facing a team of Bethlehem Catholic's caliber is certainly nothing the Panthers will experience during the regular season. The team features stars such as Darian Cruz, committed to wrestle at Lehigh next year and currently ranked third in the nation at 120 pounds by Intermat.
There was no detailed analysis to be had after this match, as it was rather clear why Becahi won.
Robb and the Panthers can take pride in knowing they wrestled hard and gave the Hawks all they had. It just wasn't enough.
"They're just good; they're better than us…everywhere," Robb said. "What do you do? Their kids are ranked in the nation and they're winning national tournaments."
The Panthers still accomplished a major goal in earning their first victory at the tournament, which is something Robb can take solace in.
"I thought we wrestled well in that first match against Palmerton and that's what we came to do," Robb said. "We knew what we were up against with Becahi.
"Our goal was to come here and win that first one and not embarrass ourselves in the second one. "
Bethlehem Cath. 76, Panther Vy. 0 106 - Luke Karam (BC) pinned Len Ogozalek in 3:47
113 - Joey Gould (BC) pinned Darren Goida in 2:31
120 - Darian Cruz pinned Michael Lazar in :11
126 - Zeke Moisey (BC) pinned Seth Oriel in :05
132 - Mason Angstadt (BC) pinned Hunter Davidyock in :44
138 - Noah Manning (BC) pinned Zachary Glassic in :47
145 - Ryan Todora (BC) pinned Grant Lorkowski in :57
*152 - Mark Maloney (BC) pinned Jared Eickhoff in 1:21
160 - Connor Hedash (BC) pinned Matt Buss in 3:04
170 - Nick Cortopassi (BC) maj. dec. Dylan Moyer, 10-3
182 - Jose Ortiz (BC) won by forfeit
195 - Josh Alpha (BC) dec. Richard Nase, 7-3
220 - Ryan Johnson (BC) pinned Rich Smith in 1:06
285 - Andrew Dunn (BC) dec. Rian Shubeck, 2-1
* - Match started at 152 pounds.
Panther Valley and Palmerton locked horns in the opening match with the Panthers earning a 37-33 victory.
Palmerton won the first two bouts, but the Panthers took the next seven on their way to the victory.
Those wins came from Jared Eickhoff (160), Matt Buss (170), Dylan Moyer (182), Rich Smith (195), Richard Nase (220), Rian Shubeck (285) and Len Ogozalek (106.)
"Palmerton's good and our programs are pretty close," said Robb. "Our kids know each other and you could see that when they were out there wrestling.
"Palmerton's a great team, but we just matchup with them really well. We thought we had a chance of winning eight bouts, but we knew it was still going to be close."
Palmerton picked up wins from Joe Bubble, Zack Graver, Josh Evans, Damien Fink, Dillon Masington and Zach Christman.
Bombers coach David Lavin thought his team's downfall simply came from a lack of performance.
"We gave up bonus points in matches that we were supposed to win," Lavin said. "Our guys just didn't wrestle well and you can' take a swing match and turn it into bonus points.
"We just wanted to win the matchups that we should have won and we didn't do it."
Panther Valley 37, Palmerton 33
106 - Len Ogozalek (PV) pinned Brandon Traugher in 1:26
113 - Josh Evans (P) pinned Michael Lazar in :40
120 - Darren Goida (PV) dec Daniel Russo, 4-3
126 - Damien Fink (P) pinned Seth Oriel in 4:24
132 - Dillon Masington (P) dec Hunter Davidyock, 5-2
138 - Zachary Christman (P) pinned Zachary Glassin in 2:50
*145 - Joe Bubble (P) pinned Grant Lorkowski in:51
152 - Zack Graver (P) pinned Elijah Hibbler in :07
160 - Jared Eickhoff (PV) pinned Shane Grohotolski in 2:17
170 - Matt Buss (PV) dec Matthew Wolfe, 19-12
182 - Dylan Moyer (PV) dec Jake Christman, 9-2
195 - Rich Smith (PV) pinned Rai Washington in 1:21
220 - Richard Nase (PV) dec Skyler Rosenberry 13-2
285 - Rian Shubeck (PV) pinned Andrew Strauss in 1:29
*-Match started at 145 pounds.