Kids take second at states
Northampton head coach Seth Lisa summed it up perfectly.
“If you are happy about No. 2, you’ll never be No. 1.”
Northampton didn’t travel to Hershey to just participate in the state wrestling tournament. It didn’t come to win a match. Or two. It came to win the whole thing.
The Konkrete Kids put themselves in position to do just that on Saturday with a trip to the Class 3A finals. Another District 11 foe was waiting, however. District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic edged Northampton, 31-19, at Hershey’s Giant Center over the weekend for its seventh state championship.
“Second is upsetting,” Lisa said. “There’s no other way to put it. You don’t set goals to be in second. It’s a great accomplishment. It certainly is. But these guys wanted to be champions. That was the goal, so we are definitely upset. We’re upset at the outcome, not at the effort.”
Lisa knew his team would have to come up with a few upsets if it wanted to knock off favored Becahi. In the third-to-last match, the Konkrete Kids got one of those shockers that many didn’t see coming.
Jagger Condomitti picked up a dramatic 5-4 decision over Becahi’s Ryan Anderson, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation at 145 pounds. The win got the Konkrete Kids with 22-19 with two matches to go.
“I’ll tell you what - Jagger brought the noise,” Lisa said. “We know he is talented enough to wrestle with anybody in the country. He just knocked off No. 1 … Hopefully we see them wrestling three more times in three more finals.”
Condomitti earned a point late in the third period that awarded him a win after Anderson was hit with a penalty for pushing him out of bounds. Deadlocked in a 3-3 tie to open the third period, Condomitti earned an escape to take a 4-3 lead before Anderson was awarded a point for Condomitti’s second hands-to-the-face infraction.
But the Golden Hawks left no doubt in the next match. Cole Handlovic pinned Northampton’s Erik Schreck with 51 seconds remaining in the first period.
Luca Frinzi closed out the scoring for the Golden Hawks at 160 pounds, picking up a 6-3 decision over Michael Kistler.
“We had a lot of 9-8 seasons,” Lisa said. “These kids kept developing and kept coming through. They had faith in us. We had faith in them. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys right now.”
Early on the seesaw went back and forth with the teams trading leads. After four decisions to start the match tied it at 6-6, Northampton went in front 9-6 following another one of those surprise upsets.
Hunter Werkheiser earned a takedown with six seconds remaining to secure a 3-1 decision over Becahi’s Jase Crouse. Like Condomitti’s decision, Werkheiser’s win was a flip from when the two teams competed at districts.
“Over these past couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot of kids flip losses to wins against a couple different teams,” Lisa said. “For him to get that confidence right here in the state finals, and not get nervous or crumble, man that shows a lot about his heart and his job.”
Dante Frinzi (9-2) and Matt Moyer (6-4) picked up back-to-back wins for Becahi at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively, to regain the lead at 13-9 through seven matches. But the Konkrete Kids would stick around.
Samuel Hanley pulled out a 7-2 decision in the next bout at 120 pounds. Then, Julian Chlebove picked up Northampton’s first bonus points with a major decision victory over Kenny Hermann at 132 pounds to tie the match at 16-16.
The Golden Hawks, however, picked up their first of two falls in three bouts when Matt Lackman pinned Blaise Wagner early in the first period.
“We’re not at the top, so we have to keep climbing,” Lisa said. “We got a great bunch of kids on this high school team. Our junior high team has been doing a great job. Hopefully you can see us back here next year.”