By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item
Fans looking for flash should look elsewhere. Line Mountain’s Cameron Newman is not going to deliver.
But if you have a taste for drama, the Eagles junior is your man.
For the second week in a row, Newman waited until the next-to-last tick of the clock to erase a deficit and win a championship. This time it came in Saturday night’s District 4 Class AA 113-pound championship against Troy’s Ethan Calkins.
Newman trailed the Trojans senior 1-0 until he squirted off the bottom and into a reversal and two near-fall points with 1.7 seconds left, winning 4-1.
He was one of five from the Valley to win titles, part of a contingent of 24 who qualified for next week’s Northeast Regional, also at Williamsport High School.
The other champions were Southern Columbia’s Kent Lane (132), Warrior Run’s Zack LeBarron (126), Mifflinburg’s Cole Walter (152) and Milton’s Ryan Preisch (160).
The top five from each weight class advance to next week.
Despite another dire situation, Newman (33-5) said, “I didn’t panic. I was calm.”
When told how much time he had left before the winning move, Newman laughed and said, “I like to keep them close.”
He might not have been in that situation, though, if just one of his many tilt attempts had resulted in points.
When those failed, and time was getting late, he said, “I just had it in my mind to score, no matter what, an escape, a reversal; I just had to get a point to keep going.”
And now he keeps going as one of the favorites in the regional tournament, where wrestlers qualify for the state championships in Hershey.
The finals also featured round two of Walter vs. Southern’s Blake Marks, with Walter, who pinned Marks last week, prevailing by 6-3 this time.
Walter, who started slowly in last week’s South Section final versus Marks, shot out of the gate this time, and it paid off.
Walter took Marks down early, Marks escaped and Walter took him down again before Marks picked up a penalty point for locked hands.
Walter reversed in the second and Marks escaped late for the 6-3 final, one which was packed with action.
“Last week I kind of wrestled a little tentative. I just went out and wrestled my match this time,” Walter said. “Instead of letting him use his stuff, I tried to control the pace and wrestle my match.”
Of his aggressive start, Walter (37-2) said, “I knew he was going to come after me and instead of letting him get the ties, I got the ties.”
He said he took advantage of both opportunities for takedowns in the first period to get his 4-0 lead.
Marks’ junior teammate, Kent Lane, was part of a scary final as his opponent, undefeated Williamson senior Trevor McWhorter, collided with Lane’s knee on a first-period takedown attempt and was knocked to the mat where he remain virtually motionless for nearly a half-hour. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
Lane was declared the winner by injury default in 1:18.
LeBarron took control early en route to his 5-0 win over Tyrus Hamblin of Williamson. But, in the third period, with the Defender leading 3-0, Hamblin momentarily had LeBarron in a dangerous position. LeBarron battled through and got a takedown of his own to clinch it.
Like Newman, LeBarron turned in a workmanlike performance, albeit without the eleventh-hour dramatics.
“I just want to do what it takes to go out there and win, nothing big,” he said, noting that his only goal is to win a state title.
LeBarron (33-1) said the late threat by Hamblin didn’t faze him. “I knew the leg was there and all I had to do was turk out; and I got the double-leg and controlled it from there.”
Preisch won the title 7-2 over Benton senior Jeric Kasunic.
In addition to Marks, the Valley’s other runners-up were Milton’s Zack Bennett (145); Midd-West’s Alex Lieberman (170); and Line Mountain’s Garrett Kieffer (285).
Third-place finishers from the Valley were Ryan Gessner, Lewisburg at 113; Todd Lane, Southern Columbia, 120; Brian LeBarron, Warrior Run, 126; and Max Reed, Lewisburg, 160. The fourth-place finishers were Brian Friery, Lewisburg, 106; Dante Taylor, Lewisburg, 126; and Bobby Stokes, Milton, 195.
Fifth-place medals, for the final berths in the regional, went to Eric Hunt, Warrior Run, 113; Brian Earlston, Line Mountain, 120; Tanner Ebright, Midd-West, 132; David Burke, Danville, 170; Gage Heller, Milton, 182; Robert Delbo, Southern Columbia, 195; and Zach Longacre, Midd-West, 285.