By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item
If pinning your opponent is the primary objective of the sport, Lewisburg continues to make their wrestling fans proud.
Lewisburg coach Jim Snyder, noting that his team came into Saturday’s District 4 Class AA South Sectional Tournament ranked No. 18 in the state, in both Class AA and AAA in total pins, told his wrestlers before the event that their goal was to win the sectional team title.
That’s what Lewiburg did, scoring 154 points to 138 for runner-up Southern Columbia. Line Mountain was third with 130.
And to accomplish that, he said they would have to continue to get pins and as many bonus points as they could.
“What really helped us was in our first 11 matches, one pigtail and the quarterfinals, we had 10 pins,” Snyder said.
“That was 20 points and that’s what we talked about,’’ he said. “Bonus points, bonus points.”
“These kids are happy with that. They are spinners, and it made the difference for us,” he said.
The Dragons clinched the title when Trey Delbaugh got a fall in his consolation final at 138.
Snyder’s his team won its fourth sectional title in 14 years and the first since 2010.
Of course the object of the section was to advance wrestlers to next weekend’s district tournament in Williamsport, and the Green Dragons did that as well with eight moving on to next week, including two champions (Brian Friery at 106 and Dante Taylor at 126.
Milton had three champions in Zack Bennett (145), Ryan Preisch (160), Gage Heller (182) and Brandon Stokes (195).
Midd-West had three champions: Tanner Ebright (132), Alex Lieberman (170) and Zach Longacre (220).
Line Mountain crowned two champions, Cameron Newman (113) and Garrett Kieffer (285). Cole Walter got Mifflinburg’s lone title, beating Southern’s Blake Marks by fall at 252.
The top four place-winners in each weight class move on to districts.
Newman won his second sectional title with a 3-2 decision over Midd-West’s Kory Stauffer at 113 pounds.
Newman, trailing 3-2, got the winning takedown with five seconds left.
“I was just wrestling. I didn’t really have any pressure on me,” he said, but said he didn’t know there was only five seconds left when he got the winning points. “I kind of got caught up in the moment.”
He has wrestled Stauffer many times and said, “He must have worked hard over the summer and I didn’t do a lot over the summer.”
The brothers Lane of Southern Columbia each won titles.
Freshman Todd blanked fellow frosh Brian Earlston of Line Mountain, 5-0, and junior Kent, back from knee surgery less than a month ago, pinned Mifflinburg’s Logan Stenger in 4 minutes, 40 seconds at 138.
Todd got an early takedown, but Earlston didn’t go down easy. “He knew he was going to have to have his A game and I guess my mindset, having beaten him previously in the year, I just let myself relax a little bit,” Lane said.
He was leading just 2-0 when he turned Earlston for three backpoints late. “I knew I couldn’t let him reverse me and it just happened in a flurry.”
Kent Lane said some thought was given to just advancing and resting his knee, but he felt good. He said he did want to get a fall in the final and get off the mat in as little time as possible.
“I rehabbed it well and the doctors did a good job and I am feeling really good right now. I’m back and I’m ready to go,” he said.
Taylor avenged a loss a year ago to Mifflinburg’s Noah Kuba to win his first sectional. He upended Kuba 6-1 in the 126 final.
“He’s a great opponent. I respect him all the way and I was happy to get the win today,” Taylor said.
Taylor pulled away after a scoreless first period with a reversal in the second and a pair of third-period takedowns. “Once I got the (first) takedown, it gave me great confidence,” he said.
Preisch, the winner at 160, 14-2 over Lewisburg’s Dante Reed, won his fourth sectional crown, the first two in the West.
Preisch said he didn’t think about the possible fourth title. “I just wanted to go out there and wrestle, the same thing as every time I go out there,” he said.
Line Mountain freshman Garrett Kieffer pounced on Midd-West’s Adam Zerby, pinning him in 39 seconds.
Kieffer took Zerby down off the whistle and had him going to his back, but they went out of bounds.
After the restart, he went right back to work and ended it quickly.
“I just wanted to do the best that I could and take advantage of the opportunity,’’ said Kieffer, who had to wait quite some time for his bout to begin, because the consolation final was still under way on the other mat.
“It made me nervous but once I got on the mat, I shook the nerves off,” he said.