Balliet, Veppert battle back for third
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Lehighton's Michael Balliet goes for a doubleleg takedown on Milton's Donald English at the Holiday Wrestling Tournament at Liberty.
It was a shot at redemption that Michael Balliet wanted ever since he got pinned by Big Spring's Cody Seibert Wednesday night at the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic at Liberty High School.
Balliet returned on Thursday and got his revenge on the lanky Seibert, using a five-point move in the second period en route to claiming a 10-6 victory to take third place at 170-pounds.
Balliet was joined by Northwestern's Levi Veppert as the two bronze medalists from the prestigious tournament, as Veppert knocked off Martin Strenk of Delaware Valley 3-1 at 182.
For Lehighton head coach Dan Williams, seeing Balliet battle back for third was a promising sign for what he hopes will come the rest of the season.
"When he lost to him (Seibert) the first time he said he wanted to get him again," said Williams. "He's just that type of competitor. He got what he wanted and he wrestled a smart match withe the game plan we had."
Williams knew that Seibert wanted to use his long frame to keep Balliet at bay by controlling him on top to work for a cradle. So, Williams gave his Indian the recipe for success by staying on his feet.
That plan worked as he opened with a double leg takedown in the second period, followed by a five-point move to build a 7-1 lead.
It was quite the opposite result from getting pinned in 5:27 the night before without registering any takedowns.
"Like Walt Disney said, 'If you can dream it, you can achieve it,'" said Balliet of coming true on his words of believing he could take third after falling in the quarterfinals. "It's definitely a big confidence booster to know I took third here, but I still wanted first so there's always room for improvement."
Veppert's coach Jim Moll was looking for improvement out of his upper weights offensive game, but Veppert grinded out a 3-1 win over Strenk with a late third period takedown to secure the win.
"It's definitely going to make him more confident after taking third because this tournament is tougher than what we see at districts and even regionals," Moll said. "We just want to see more offense out of him. a lot of his bouts are tight and we'd like him to open things up more."
Veppert agreed, but said he was hesitant on trying new moves in Bethlehem.
"I just have to get more confidence in my shot," Veppert said. "That's something I definitely will be working on in practice."
Lehighton's Anthony Farole (152) settled for eighth place after losing to Tri-Valley's Ty Schoffstall 7-2 in the consolation medal round.
Farole took second last year at the tournament. Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog (145) settled for sixth following a 6-5 defeat to Tri-Valley's Blake Bowman.