Hedash family affair continues
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."
"It's more like drilling now, because of the weight difference, but we definitely get into it, and it can get out of hand sometimes," added Colin.
"They go at it pretty hot and heavy. I need to get a second wrestling room just for them," mentioned Northern Lehigh coach Todd Herzog. "They bounce each other off the walls and all over the place in there."
Herzog recalled one instance when the two tangled and Craemer was knocked into a stereo cabinet in the room. "There were splinters everywhere, but they got up, said 'sorry, coach', and just kept wrestling," he related.
The sibling competition produced PIAA state medals for both of them last year, with Colin placing fourth and Craemer eighth. Both are hoping for more hardware at Hershey this year. Each has been ranked as high as third in their respective weight classes by the Off The Mat state rating service.
The Hedash family wrestling affair extends beyond Craemer and Colin. This is the second time in three years there have been three Hedash brothers on the No. Lehigh squad, as freshman Connor has joined them, competing at 119-125 pounds.
Two years ago, senior Casey Hedash, a District 11 and Regional champion, placed sixth in the state on his second trip to the PIAA Championships. Casey, who had a career record of 102-26, is now at West Point and was on hand Saturday to watch the 'Dawgs knock off Lehighton in their final dual meet before Districts.
Wrestling is a sport that has its share of bloodlines, and it's no exception in Slatington, as the Hedash Trio, Act 2, takes center stage.
"It's an unique situation to have three of them," said Herzog. "We've had other brother acts before, but it's certainly a nice thing. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and ambition. Sometimes they get a little testy with each other, but they are certainly pushing each other.
"It would be nice to have four," added Herzog with a smile.
For now, the Hedashes and the rest of the 'Dawgs are focusing on the postseason.
Colin sports a 26-1 record, with his only loss against unbeaten Kenny Courts of Central Dauphin, a state AAA runner-up last year, in the final of the season-opening Brandywine Heights Tournament. He has a career record of 80-18 into District competition, where he was a runner-up last year, as well as a Southeast Regional champion.
"I know if I perform, I can go with any of the guys at states," stated Colin. "My goal is definitely a state title."
Craemer is 23-5 this season and has a career mark of 86-25. Last year he was a District champ and a fourth place Regional placewinner to go with his state medal. As a sophomore, he narrowly missed another trip to states, finishing sixth at Regionals after a fourth place District finish.
"Every high school wrestler always wants to win state gold, but I want to take it one match at a time," said Craemer. "I want to focus on Districts now. I definitely need to step it up against the kinds of kids I am going to face."
Connor has gotten his first taste of varsity action this year and has a 16-13 record. His brothers are pleased to have him as part of their extended wrestling family as well as their blood clan.
"We have someone to look after and show the ropes," said Colin of Connor. "We're all close in the room, like family, so it's nice to have brothers on the same team."
Some of those lessons can be from the School of Hard Knocks.
"My brothers can be hard on me," mentioned Connor. "They definitely tell me if I do something wrong. It's been tough. I've taken my lumps a little, but it's high school competition. I'm looking to build by going into Districts and finishing up the season good."
"Connor is going to be all right," added Craemer.
All three Hedashes are looking to peak for the postseason, and one would expect nothing less.
"At this time of year, you have to be a little lucky as well as good," said Herzog. "I tell our wrestlers not to worry about who beat them at the beginning of the year. It's where you end up that matters."