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Hall’s pin caps Lehighton rally

The joint was rocking.

The temperature was rising with each bout.

At one point, it looked very favorable for the Jim Thorpe wrestlers, and pretty bleak for Lehighton.

But in a blink of an eye, the Indians found a way to overcome adversity, rallying in the final four bouts to pull out a 34-30 win on Wednesday evening.

One had to be in this venue to feel the excitement that was generated from start to finish.

“I’ll say it was exciting; just a terrific match from start to finish,” Lehighton coach Floyd Brown said afterward.

“We knew it was going to come down to the final couple matches,” said Olympians head coach Dan Heaney.

The victory in the Schuylkill League Division I encounter improved the Indians’ record to 2-1 in the league and 7-4 overall, while Thorpe fell to 0-3 in the league and 7-7 overall.

Things were hanging in the balance with the outcome on the line when the match hit the 106-pound bout - the final one of the night.

Lehighton was looking at a 30-28 deficit and freshman Jake Hall - who was coming off a great Schuylkill League performance Saturday - had the weight of the team on his shoulders.

The freshman grappler took things into his own hands. Hall was aggressive with a takedown to open the bout, and with one-second to go in the second period, pinned Henry Snyder to give his team the victory.

“We knew it was going to come down to the final bout,” Brown said. “Jake, for a freshman, has been just great and he came up very, very big for us. What a great match.”

Indeed, this was worth the price of admission.

It started at the 113-bout, where Thorpe’s feisty Noah Geiser had to battle to the final seconds to upend Andrew Versuk in a fiery match.

Trailing late in the third period, Geiser caught his collective breath and with time running down, would find a way to carve out an 11-10 victory.

That was the tone-setter for the next 12 bouts.

Aiden Gruber gave the Indians their first points when he pinned James Yurchak in the 120-pound bout.

Back came the Olympians. They got a forfeit win at 126, before Ridge Snyder bullied his way to a 12-4 decision at 132 over Nick Zeigenfuse. However, Jacob Ferguson put Lehighton back on tack with a hard-earned 6-4 decision over Nick Swartz at 138 pounds.

That set the tables for Lukas Burachie at 145, as he recorded the second quickest pin of the evening, needing just 32 seconds to finish off Eric Irezary.

Trailing 15-12, the Olympians roared back in an emphatic way, recording three straight pins.

Gabe Henry flattened Ethan Barachie in 1:58. Cameron Tinajero, one of the elite wrestlers in the district at 160 pounds, needed just 46 ticks to pin James Taylor. Jared Newhall capped the pin parade as he needed just one minute to dispatch of Nolan Stein.

That run pushed the home team in front, 30-15.

“I knew that we had some of our better wrestlers to come after that, but we needed to make a move in a hurry,” Brown said.

It started at 189, when Devin Armbruster made an important statement with his 11-0 major decision over Cael Henry.

Gauge Hartney then followed with a thrilling 4-1 decision over feisty Blake Carroll.

That set the stage for the heavyweights and Ricky Houser who came out storming, using a bear hug for a takedown, before posting a pin in just 28 seconds over Antonio Lopez.

That left everything up to Hall, who capped the comeback in dramatic fashion.


… Lehighton’s win spoiled a senior night for the Olympians.


… Trailing by 15 points, Lehighton made a great rally to pull out the decision. Armbruster swung the momentum toward the Indians at 189.


… The Olympians’ Tinajero is having a banner season. He is smart, aggressive and well poised. He now has 26 wins on the season.


… Lehighton hosts the Coal Cracker Tournament starting at 3 p.m. Friday and continuing all day Saturday.

Lehighton 34, Jim Thorpe 30

113 - Noah Geiser (JT) dec. Andrew Versuk, 11-10; 120 - Aidan Gruber (L) pinned James O`Neill in 1:26; 126 - Tanner Yurchak (JT) won by forfeit; 132 - Ridge Snyder (JT) dec. Nick Zeigenfuss, 12-5; 138 - Jacob Ferguson (L) dec. Nikolas Schwartz, 6-4; 145 - Lukas Ferguson (L) pinned Eric Irizarry in 0:32; 152: Gabe Heaney (JT) pinned Ethan Barachie in 1:58; 160 - Cameron Tinajero (JT) pinned James Traylor in 0:46; 172 - Jared Newhall (JT) pinned Nolan Stein in 1:00; 189 - Deven Armbruster (L) maj. dec. Cael Heaney, 11-0; 215 - Gauge Hartney (L) dec. Blake Carroll, 4-1; 285 - Ricky Houser (L) pinned Angellito Lopez in 0:28; 106

- Jacob Hall (L) pinned Henry Snyder in 3:58.

Lehighton's Jake Hall (right) battles Jim Thorpe's Henry Snyder in a 106-pound bout. Hall recorded a pin that gave the Indians the team victory. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS