By Chuck Souders, For The Citizen-Standard • email@example.com
MILTON — Most followers of District Four wrestling figured Saturday’s district dual championships at Milton Area High School might come down to the top two seeds, unbeatens Line Mountain and Southern Columbia, in the final, which it did.
Probably not as many saw that match coming down to the final bout, with the Tigers’ unbeaten Jaret Lane (29-0) pinning Cameron Hauck in 44 seconds to give Southern its first team duals championship, 37-28.
Southern (17-0) advance to the state tournament in Hershey for the second straight year, and Line Mountain (19-1) will host District Nine runnerup Coudersport in a pigtail bracket match Monday at 6 p.m. Wyalusing (20-2), which beat Athens 40-34 for third place, will travel to the home of the District Three runnerup Monday in another pigtail match.
Southern, which beat Towanda 55-18 in the quarterfinals and Wyalusing 35-30 in the semifinals, had a seemingly insurmountable 31-10 lead in the final after freshman Lear Quinton (14-10) knocked off Ethan Long 6-3 at 195. Long, 25-10 entering the day, had a rough 0-3 afternoon.
But the Eagles’ Jaron Renn, trailing Connor Fulmer 4-0 early at 220, came back to pin Fulmer in 2:22 at 220, and the Tigers then forfeited 285 to Garrett Kieffer (24-4) and 106 to Matty Coller (27-6) at 106, cutting Southern’s lead to 31-28. Southern’s Andrew Bell (16-8) sat out the day because of a laceration in his head which is still healing.
That left things to Lane, who wasted little time in pinning Hauck (14-13).
“When you have Jaret Lane as a last resort, you feel very positive,” said Southern head coach Jerry Marks. “When you have two assistant coaches like Kent Lane and Ernie Yates sitting there figuring out all the possible matchups, all I have to do is give the signal.”
Southern’s freshman middleweight quartet of Cade Linn, Cal Haladay, Preston Zachman and Gaige Garcia went a combined 13-1 on the day, with only Haladay taking a 7-1 loss to Wyalusing’s unbeaten Creighton Edsell (19-0) in the semifinals.
The Tigers flexed their young muscles in the win over Wyalusing, though. Linn (152), Zachman (170) and Garcia (182) all had impressive wins. At 152, Linn defeated Josh Haley, who was 29-1, 5-1 in an overtime tiebreaker with a late takedown and two back points. Zachman (19-6) moved up to 170 and beat Ed Mapes (22-6), 7-2; and Garcia (4-0) pinned Ryan Kipp (23-6) in one minute flat.
“It’s amazing that we can do so many things with those guys, and when you throw a guy like Lear Quinton in there too, it’s even better,” Marks said. “It’s just amazing to watch those guys.”
“They’re a great group,” said Lane, a junior and state runnerup last year who is now 115-8 for his career. “They all come into the mat room and work hard and they don’t worry about who is beating who and who will be in the lineup.”
“That’s a phenomenal freshman group,” said Line Mountain head coach Mike Martz. “You can tell they’re in the weight room with that Southern football program because they’re all strong. They were definitely stronger than us in some matches. That was partly because we bumped some guys up but you have to give them credit.
“I’m proud of our guys, though. They knew they were kind of up against it with (Brian) Earlston out.”
Earlston (20-4), still coming back from a concussion, wrestled in the semifinals and won but sat out the other two matches. That meant moving Cole Hauck (28-3), Griffin Smeltz (16-13), Collin Klinger (28-9) and Caleb Shaffer (20-13) around. Line Mountain was also hurt when Kenny Boyer, wrestling Linn at 152, injured his knee and defaulted.
“I don’t blame him for that,” Martz said. “He’s already had an ACL and he heard something pop. He didn’t want to take a chance.”
“I’m just really happy how we’ve been able to turn the program around the last couple of years,” Marks said. “It’s a credit to the kids buying into the program. We beat the number one and number three seeds today, in a real strong district.”
Line Mountain will head back to the state team duals for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2006 and 2007.
“That’s a pretty big thing for us,” Martz said. “We’ve had some good teams since then but it seems there were always two or three teams ahead of us, so it’s nice for these guys to be getting back there.”
Line Mountain 41, Lewisburg 22
285: Kieffer (LM) pinned Aksenov, :22; 106: Ca. Hauck (LM) dec. Temple, 8-6; 113: Coller (LM) pinned Gessner, 1:00; 120: Co. Hauck (LM) maj. dec. Schwartz, 10-2; 126: Smeltz (LM) maj. dec. Sheriff, 12-0; 132: Klinger (LM) pinned Persun, 4:42; 138: Baumert (LM) pinned Ruhl, 1:32; 145: Prutzman (L) dec. Shaffer, 11-8; 152: Boyer (LM) pinned Strosser, :40; 160: Yoder (L) dec. Laudenslager, 3-2; 170: Delbaugh (L) maj. dec. Koperna, 13-5; 182: Shedleski (L) dec. Long, 13-6; 195: Snyder (L) dec. Renn, 5-3; 220: Murphy (L) pinned Bordner, 1:16.
Line Mountain 39, Athens 32
106: Coller (LM) pinned Nickson, 1:17; 113: Burkhart (A) pinned Ca. Hauck, :37; 120: Horton (A) dec. Co. Hauck, 3-0; 126: Earlston (LM) dec. Horton, 5-0; 132: Courtney (A) tech. fall Klinger, 18-3, 4:26; 138: Shaffer (LM) pinned Sweat, 3:29; 145: Rude (A) dec. Bingaman, 11-10; 152: Cannavino (A) pinned Boyer, 4:07; 160: Winters (A) pinned Laudenslager, 3:32; 170: Koperna (LM) pinned Galasso, 1:52; 182: Bradley (A) dec. Ethan Long, 8-6 SV; 195: Renn (LM) won by forfeit; 220: Bordner (LM) won by forfeit; 285: Kieffer (LM) pinned Braund, :14.
Southern Columbia 37, Line Mountain 28
120: Co. Hauck (LM) dec. Casey, 2-0; 126: Renn (SC) dec. Smeltz, 2-1; 132: Klinger (LM) dec. Miner, 3-0; 138: Shaffer (LM) maj. dec. Williams, 16-5; 145: Lane (SC) pinned Bingaman, 1:20; 152: Linn (SC) inj. def. over Boyer, 1:25; 160: Haladay (SC) maj. dec. Laudenslager, 9-0; 170: Zachman (SC) dec. Koperna, 5-1; 182: Garcia (SC) won by forfeit; 195: Quinton (SC) dec. Long, 6-3; 220: Renn (LM) pinned Fulmer, 2:22; 285: Kieffer (LM) won by forfeit; 106: Coller (LM) won by forfeit; 113: Lane (SC) pinned Ca. Hauck, :44.