The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

February 22, 2013

Harold Raker's wrestling column: Midd-West corrals five District 4 spots

As the crowd at last Saturday's District 4 Class AA Southern Sectional Tournament began filtering out of the gym to hit the area restaurants between sessions, the public address announcer was reading off the up-to-date team points, from lowest to first.

When he got to No. 2, you could tell that a lot of fans were surprised. Fans of the surprising second-place Midd-West Mustangs began to applaud.

Over the years, some teams have come and gone from the list of title contenders, but the Mustangs have not been in their company.

Saturday night, Coach Clint Swartz's team finished a close second to team champion and host Mifflinburg, and advanced five to tonight's District 4 championship tournament in Williamsport.

Not bad for a team that finished with a regular-season dual meet record of 9 wins and 20 losses.

Swartz said the goals for the year were to improve their wrestlers in all aspects of the sport, and they focused on trying to get as many through the postseason tournaments as possible.

But contending for a sectional title?"We knew we would have a solid nucleus of wrestlers with some others coming up from junior high, but winning a sectional title wasn't really on our minds," Swartz said.

If there was a key to this kind of turnaround, it was probably the same combination that every coach looks for in his wrestlers: hard work and dedication.

"We have had a group of wrestlers who have wrestled more in the off-season and have been working extra after practices," he said. "We have been able, with the addition of our weight room, to do a lot more strength work during the season and that has helped us this season."

Swartz hopes this is only the beginning for the Snyder County program.

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