HERSHEY — Perhaps the one good thing about Shikellamy’s wrestling experience Thursday night — and there weren't a whole lot of positives — is the Braves will have the chance to come back today and compete.
While the first round of the PIAA’s Class 3A Team Wrestling tournament turned out to be a learning experience for Mike Egan’s squad, there’s a good chance that most of the Braves would just like to forget about Thursday and concentrate on what’s next.
Up against an extremely physical outfit from Erie Cathedral Prep, Shikellamy lost 12 of 14 bouts and wound up suffering a 58-6 loss to the District 10-3A champs that pushed Egan’s Braves into today’s (10 a.m.) consolation round opposite Council Rock South.
Council Rock South lost its opening-round match to Canon-McMillan 36-24.
“We kind of knew that coming in,” Egan said, referring to Cathedral Prep. “Every one of their guys is ranked in the (Northwest) Region and quite a few are ranked in the state — eight of them state-ranked out of 14 — so we knew we were in for a tough task.”
Only Cade Balestrini at 126 pounds and Noah Supsic at 152 pocketed victories for Shikellamy, and both of those matches went the distance before they were decided.
“They both wrestled guys that were ranked in the state,” Egan said. “They were huge matches to see what we’ve got to do at regionals coming up, because we’re going to see them again at regionals. So it was a good gauge to get to know some of our opponents and know what we need to do to beat them — even for the guys that lost.”
Hence, the learning experience.
Balestrini registered a first-period takedown and conceded a second-period escape before the sophomore was able to free himself in the third en route to a workmanlike 3-1 conquest of Prep senior Tyler McKinney.
Unfortunately for the Braves, they were already down 21-0 when Balestrini stepped to the center of the mat for the opening whistle.
A short time later, Supsic shrugged off an early stalling warning by taking down Albert Taylor and rolling the Prep senior on to his back for a 5-0 lead after one.
Taylor was awarded a stalling point in the second period that enabled him to slice Supsic’s lead to 5-1. Taylor then sandwiched a reversal and takedown around an escape to close within 6-5. After letting Supsic out to make it a two-point match, the Shikellamy senior fought off several shot attempts to win 7-5.
“There’s obviously things I could have done better, but that’s any match on any given day,” Supsic said. “Just happy to go out, put some points on the board and grab the win at the end of the day. Just worked hard.”
For Supsic, who was troubled late by a cramp in his left hamstring, it was the 94th victory of his sparkling Shikellamy career. He’s hoping to become the third member of his family to reach 100 successes, joining his father, Bob, and his uncle, John.
While Drew Balestrini at 120, Josh Krieger at 182 and Adam Young at 220 lost by decision at their respective weights — Balestrini tumbled 9-3, Krieger was turned twice in the third before falling 6-2 and Young dropped a 7-3 bout — Prep’s physicality and aggressiveness led to the Ramblers accruing bonus points everywhere else.
“Some of our guys really battled tonight,” Egan said.
Prep, in fact, recorded six falls — including four of the first-period variety — collared one technical fall and won two matches by major decision.
“When they got on top, they were looking to keep the hammer down,” Egan said. “They were looking to score points on top. For the sport of wrestling, that’s good. A lot of times you’ll get a takedown and they’ll ride a bit and then let (the other guy) escape.
“They got on top and they were still looking to score. They made us pay for a lot of points off tilts and armbars. They were a solid team.”
Supsic added: “That was definitely the best team we’ve wrestled. They fought really hard, got to their stuff and took it to us.”
So, while Thursday may have been a forgettable result for the Braves collectively, they can still finish in third place if they can get some momentum going today against Council Rock South. Should Shik claim that match, another will follow at 6 p.m.
“It’s not one and done,” Supsic said. “We can come back tomorrow, win a match tomorrow, get another match and win that — and we’re here Saturday.
“Just keep fighting. Really, that’s all we can do.”
Egan added: “I’m going to do my best to portray a message that we’re going to win tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock and we’re going to wrestle again tomorrow night at 6 o’clock. I believe that. I’ve got to get them to believe that.”
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CLASS 3A STATE DUALS
ERIE CATHEDRAL PREP 58, SHIKELLAMY 6
285: Kawaun DeBoe (CP) pinned Jake Reedy 0:13; 106: Jacob Brumett (CP) pinned Damian Wolfe 0:45; 113: Ben Tirpak (CP) pinned Jared Zartman, 2:42; 120: Paniro Johnson (CP) dec. Drew Balestrini, 9-3; 126: Cade Balestrini (S) dec. Tyler McKinney, 3-1; 132: Andrew Stark (CP) m. dec. James Hallman, 16-3; 138: Marques McClorin (CP) pinned Donivan Willard, 2:26; 145: Kishawn Higgins (CP) tech fall Bryce Burgess, 15-0, 5:10; 152: Noah Supsic (S) dec. Albert Taylor, 7-5; 160: Luke Sittinger (CP) pinned Baryn Emerich, 1:30; 170: Carter Starocci (CP) pinned Phalean Wolfe, 1:23; 182: Luigi Yates (CP) dec. Josh Krieger, 6-2; 195: Dorian Crosby (CP) m. dec. Evan Bingaman, 11-1; 220: Kareem Carson (CP) dec. Adam Young, 7-3.
OTHER FIRST ROUND SCORES
Canon-McMillan 36, Council Rock South 24
Bethlehem Catholic 46, Downingtown West 12
Delaware Valley 45, Cumberland Valley 22