Four area grapplers alive for medals
It wasn't the type of opening day that Times News area wrestlers had hoped for from the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic at Liberty High School.
Only four TN area wrestlers are alive as they head into today's final day of action.
Lehighton leads the local charge with Anthony Farole (152) and Michael Balliet (170) guaranteeing themselves medals with wins in the fourth round of consolations Wednesday night.
Farole knocked off Dylan Hoffman of Abington Heights 3-2, while Balliet beat Charlie Prince of North Penn 7-2.
For Balliet, who overcame getting pinned by Big Spring's Cody Seibert in the third period during his quarterfinal bout, battling back was important.
"I know people may laugh when I say this, but I wanted to come into this tournament and win it," said Balliet. "You got to have a heart of a champion after you lose and I just wanted to come back and fight harder."
Seibert may put every wrestler at a disadvantage in the 170-pound category, standing at nearly 6-foot-5, which gave the 5-foot-9 Balliet issues.
"He's definitely the tallest wrestler I've ever faced," Balliet said. "It's something I'll learn from, but now I just want to battle back and take third place."
Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog was the lone Bulldog to advance following a 6-3 consolation round win over Southern's Chris Serpico in the 145-pound bracket.
Head coach Todd Herzog hoped he would have had better results, but understands that a tournament like this isn't easy.
"This type of tournament is good. It helps expose a lot of our young kids to what top level competition is all about," said Herzog. "When you come to a tourney like this, really good kids are going to expose your flaws in a hurry, so this is good preparation for us heading into the season."
Northwestern's Levi Veppert (182) is the last TN wrestler to advance. He pinned Saucon Valley's Tyler Evans in the second period to give head coach Tom Moll something to salvage medal wise from the tournament.
"For a guy like Levi, this tournament is a measuring stick to see where he's at," Moll said. "For us as a team, it's no different. This tournament shows us where we need to improve and where we have work to do."