Bulldogs overpower Indians on mat
On paper, the contest between the Lehighton and Northern Lehigh wrestling teams looked to be a fairly even matchup.
Both squads featured talented wrestlers throughout their lineups, with no glaring weaknesses on either side.
The Indians and Bulldogs have also achieved a great deal of team success this season, with both qualifying for last week's District 11 Class AA Championships.
But a match that appeared to be a tossup was quickly anything but after the opening coin flip.
Northern Lehigh won the toss, and then won just about everything else en route to a convincing 55-10 non-league win over Lehighton.
"I think they understood that this was the last competition they would face for about two weeks before districts start," Northern Lehigh coach Steve Hlushack said of his team's final dual meet. "We talked about wrestling a full match, leaving it all out here and not leaving anything in the tank.
"There was certainly no reason to save any energy since we don't' have any competition until districts. I think they were hungry tonight realizing that they're not going to be able to wrestle a different color jersey for a while."
Northern Lehigh got off to a fast start, as Theo Young (195), Jason Schaffer (220), Cameron Kates (285), Colton Rex (106) and Jacob Kister (113) helped the Bulldogs open a commanding 24-0 lead early.
Lehighton's Zach Kemmerer picked up the Indians' first win of the contest with a 10-2 major decision victory over Austin Hemingway at 120 pounds.
But Matt Schmall got the Bulldogs back on track in the next bout, picking up an 11-2 major decision win over Tegan Durishin at 126 pounds.
Schmall was also honored before the match, receiving a plaque from Hluschak to commemorate his 150th point, which he achieved last month.
The award is no small feat for a sophomore, which is something Schmall is extremely proud of and driven to improve on.
"I'm really happy about getting the award," he said. "But I know I could have wrestled better tonight.
"I'm just looking forward to placing in the top-four at regionals and moving on to districts and hopefully states."
The Bulldogs rode the momentum of Schmall's win, picking up victories from Ryan Rubio (132), Zach Leiby (138), Ryan Farber (145), Chad Cederberg (152), CJ Young (160) and Nate Farber (170) over the next six matches to stretch the lead to 55-4 before the final bout of the evening.
Connor Frey continued his stellar season in the final match, earning a convincing pin over Keith Schmidt in their contest at 182 pounds.
Much like Schmall, Hluschak hopes his team has what it takes to succeed in the postseason.
"That's what it's all about. We just have to keep getting better moving forward," the coach said. "We'll come back tomorrow and work on some things we saw tonight that we need work on. Hopefully we're peaking at the right time and can advance guys in the postseason."
While several of Lehighton's wrestlers also have postseason aspirations, Indians' coach Dan Williams knows his team will have a few things to work on before the season is over.
"I think that we came down here and met a very well-coached team and a group of really tough kids that were determined to come out and battle for six minutes," Williams said. "That's the type of style I'd like to see our guys have and we have to get back in the practice room to try and get that. We just have to keep working hard to get there."
No. Lehigh 55, Lehighton 10
106 - Colton Rex (NL) dec.Ezra Neff, 2-1
113 - Jacob Kistler (NL) pinned Antonio Lorenzo in 4:58
120 - Zach Kemmerer (L) maj. dec. Austin Hemingway, 10-2
126 - Matt Schmall (NL) maj. dec. Tegan Durishin, 11-2
132 - Ryan Rubio (NL) pinned Cody Semmel in :47
138 - Zach Leiby (NL) pinned Chris Clay in 3:43
145 - Ryan Farber (NL) dec. Anthony Farano, 4-0
152 - Chad Cederberg (NL) pinned Dustin Koons inl 4:55
160 - C.J. Young (NL) dec. Tyler Cann, 4-1
170 - Nate Farber (NL) dec. Dominik Mystkowski, 6-0
182 - Connor Frey (L) pinned Keith Schmidt in 1:34
*195 - Theo Young (NL) pinned Logan Berger in 2:13
220 - Jason Schaffer (NL) dec.Perry Didyoung, 2-0
285 - Cameron Kates (NL) pinned Alex Smith in 3:15
* - Match started at 195 pounds.