By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
HERSHEY -- Perhaps sleep is overrated. Perhaps it is merely wasted on the young.
Southern Columbia's state wrestling street newbies, freshman Blake Marks and senior Jake Becker might want to stay up late the rest of the week.
Becker, Marks and teammate Kent Lane, a sophomore who qualified last year but did not place, all won their preliminary bouts Thursday morning in the Giant Center, moving on to today's quarterfinals. Becker won at 285 pounds, Marks at 152 and Lane at 126.
Also moving on to the quarters, starting at 9 a.m. today, were returning state champions Ryan Solomon (195) and Nazar Mironenko (285), of Milton and Mifflinburg respectively; Line Mountain's Seth Lansberry (138), Midd-West's Zack Heeter (145), Milton's Ryan Preisch (152), Mifflinburg's Ty Walter (160), and Lewisburg's Brandon Smith (220).
Staying alive with first-round consolation wins were Line Mountain's Cameron Newman (106) and Mifflinburg's Cole Walter (132).
Becker, who gutted out an ultimate tiebreak win with a fall in 8 minutes, 17 seconds, said that he and Marks were helped immensely by Lane.
"Having Kent here, having been here last year, really helped," Becker said.
"Last night me and Blake didn't get much sleep. He being a freshman and me being a senior and being here for the first time," Kent said "it's not that bad, just go out and have fun."
All three Tigers did just that and their efforts had Southern place in the team points after day one.
Lane had a first-period takedown and nearly had a reversal in the third before Pen Argyl's Andrew Sutton got a stalemate. But Lane bounced right back and popped his head out for the all-important reversal and four-point lead en route to a 7-0 win.
"He's hard to score on, he has moves most kids don't have. I did have to work harder than normal to win," he said.