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Grappler's Grapevine

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Districts and Regionals are completed, and Hershey looms ahead for 10 TIMES NEWS area wrestlers this week.

Those elite 10 will now get to navigate the rough waters of the PIAA State Championships, beginning Thursday at the Giant Center.

Four wins are what it takes to sail to the top of the 16-man brackets, but each match is a treacherous turn, with another top grappler battling to advance and to send another opponent tumbling into the consolation rounds.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
BOB FORD/times news Panther Valley's 103 pounder Nick O'Donnell (top) won a silver medal at districts this past weekend and is one of 24 TIMES NEWS area grapplers to qualify for regionals.

District 11 wrestlers are at the midway point on the Road to Hershey this weekend as Regional competition looms.

The District tournaments are now history, and the survivors are headed for their respective Regionals, which is a chance for them to test their skills in interdistrict competition.

For Class AA matmen, this week's attention is turned toward Wilson (West Lawn) High School near Reading and the PIAA Southeast Regional with Districts 1 and 3.

For AAA grapplers, it's a trip to Bethlehem Freedom for the Northeast AAA Regional with Districts 2 and 4.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS JIm Thorpe's Dillon Smith wrestles Mike Priest of Wyomissing during last year's AA Regionals..

Earlier this season, Dillon Smith reached a milestone that will keep any wrestler wearing Jim Thorpe's red, white and blue chasing him for awhile.

The senior 145 pounder is now the Olympians' all-time winningest wrestler with 133 victories.

That puts him in select company in the Thorpe grappling annals, as he has surpassed Mike Wernett, a 2000 graduate who had 115 career wins; Ryan Bennick, a 2003 alumnus, who had 106; Shawn Bradley, a 2007 grad, who had 105; and his brother Ethan, who graduated with exactly 100 in 2007.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
MIKE FEIFEL/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The Hedash brothers (from left), Craemer, Connor and Colin, have been racking up victories for Northern Lehigh this season.

The competition is usually fierce in the Northern Lehigh wrestling room.

With the Hedash brothers, those battles can be taken to a higher level.

When senior 152 pounder Craemer Hedash and junior 171 pound sibling Colin square off, there are times when the Bulldogs' grappling confines can barely contain it.

"We wrestle a lot in the room, and it usually ends up with me being thrown in the air," said Craemer with a laugh. "Overall, it's great wrestling against him."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
bob ford/times news filephoto Nikko Stevens (top) and the rest of the Northern Lehigh wrestling team will be in action on Friday when the District 11 Duals are held at Freedom High School.

The fields are almost set for the District 11 Team Wrestling Championships, to be held at Bethlehem Freedom High School this weekend.

Ten teams each in Class AAA and AA will participate at District Duals, with the top two finishers to advance into PIAA State Duals competition next week, culminating with the finals at Hershey's Giant Center on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As a dual meet team, Palmerton's lack of depth is a shortcoming that has been difficult to overcome.

The Blue Bombers have been forfeiting as many as three weight classes per match, resulting in a 3-9 record.

Dig deeper, however, and one will find a young Bomber squad that is holding its own despite the lack of numbers.

"If you have looked at the matches we've wrestled without the forfeits, we would have lost only 2-3 of them," said first-year Palmerton coach Dave Lavin. "That's a good indication of what we're doing."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Schuylkill League will take its midwinter break from dual meet competition to gather for its championship meet this weekend at Blue Mountain High School.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
bob ford/times news filephoto David Lucykanish will be part of the Lehighton wrestling contingent at the Anthracite Duals on Saturday at Panther Valley.

Panther Valley got a taste of hosting its own Duals wrestling tournament last year, and the Panthers may have just started something.

Panther Valley High School will be hosting the Second Annual Anthracite Duals this Saturday, and the 10-team tourney should provide good competition for the grapplers in the field.

"Last year we had it scheduled in January, and it snowed, so we rescheduled it for February, on Valentine's Day," said Panther Valley Coach Tim Robb. "We lost a couple of teams because of that, but we also picked up some others."