Kids blank Pates, prep for districts
Although Northampton’s 71-0 win over Freedom at the EPC Wrestling Team Championship was technically for 5th place in the conference, all area high school wrestling fans know that there are flaws in the way teams get ranked in the league and the district.
Liberty head coach Jody Karam stated after his team won the conference title, “This is what makes Lehigh Valley wrestling great. There’s four teams that can beat each other on any given night.”
The match against Freedom seemed to be a contest among the Kids to see who could get the fastest pin as they registered six, first-period falls. Blaise Wagner at 132 was fastest at 33 seconds. Jayden Bortz only took 50 seconds at 195. Traisach Roland in 1:25 at 170, Mikey Kistler in 1:35 at 152, Ryan Stilgenbauer in 1:38 at 106 and Jagger Condomitti in 1:57 at 145, rounded out the first period pinners.
Julian Chlebove (138) and Sam Hanley (120) scored second period falls over their opponents.
Alex Hanley (113) and Ethan Szerencsits (126) notched major decisions.
Erik Schrek (160), Riley Gallagher (182) and Blake Lambert (220) won by decision.
When Bubba Werkheiser’s turn came up, Freedom decided it had enough for one day, forfeited the bout, and proceeded to the handshake.
Despite the shutout win, head coach Seth Lisa was not satisfied with his team’s overall performance.
“Everybody won. That’s a good thing,” Lisa said. “But if we bring that intensity and make these mistakes that we did here today, we’re not beating a Liberty, a Nazareth, or a Beca, teams like that. We’ve got a lot to do before Thursday.”
Next up is the District XI 3A Team Championship, the Darwinian test that will eliminate two of the state’s six best teams before the state tournament even begins. Northampton moved into the third seed by virtue of their win over Freedom and Nazareth’s and Easton’s losses in the EPC tournament.
The Kids receive a first round bye and will host the winner of the Pottsville and Blue Mountain in a quarterfinal contest at Northampton at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday. The semifinals take place at 10:45 a.m. at Freedom on Saturday. If things go as expected, Northampton will likely get another shot at #2 seed Bethlehem Catholic. The Kids were defeated by the Hawks 32-26 on Dec. 20. The other semifinal will likely feature #1 Liberty facing #5 Nazareth for the third time in 22 days.
The consolation semifinals take place at 12:30 p.m. and the final and consolation final are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. If a true second place match for the last spot in states is needed (finals loser didn’t wrestle consolation winner earlier), that will take place at 7:30 p.m. All of these rounds are also at Freedom.