The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

January 9, 2012

Sounds of silence around Mifflinburg mats

Anyone who knows Dave Murray knows he is not by nature a quiet guy, whether it is imploring his wrestlers to get the most out of their abilities, or speaking his mind on any number of issues.

With Murray, you always know where he stands.

So it seemed a bit strange when the fourth-year Mifflinburg coach said that his approach to Thursday's key Heartland Athletic Conference Division I match with Shikellamy was to "shut up."

You see, Murray also knows his wrestlers. And he saw something in this young team after last weekend's rugged Powerade Tournament at Canon-McMillan High School that he liked. He was afraid to mess with it.

"I told the kids after the Powerade that I was very confident (about the match with Shikellamy)," he said. "There was no rally, no pep talk before this (meet). They were performing so well, so I was just shutting up and letting them wrestle."

Murray's new 'don't fix what isn't broken' philosophy certainly worked well against the Braves, a team which had beaten the Wildcats 40 of the 43 times they have met and which last lost to Mifflinburg in 2002.

After watching his squad dismantle the Braves in the Shikellamy Fieldhouse, a beaming Murray said, "They are getting better every time they hit the mat. They did a great job."

Mifflinburg is now 4-0 overall and, a fact Murray didn't realize -- or at least hadn't thought about -- already sitting at 3-0 in the HAC-I.

Barring an upset between now and then, Mifflinburg could be wrestling Jan. 26 at home versus a much-improved Williamsport squad for the HAC-I championship. That is a title that has been owned by Shikellamy since the inception of the league four years ago. Thursday's 50-19 Mifflinburg win was the first-ever HAC-I loss by Shikellamy.

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Harold Raker
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