HERSHEY — Trevor Weyandt didn’t have the easiest of hands dealt to him on Thursday afternoon.
The Chestnut Ridge freshman was getting his first taste of the Class AA team wrestling experience inside Hershey’s spacious Giant Center, and he was due up second in the Lions’ lineup when the starting weight of 126 pounds was pulled.
Weyandt was also forced to wear a mask for the first time after suffering a broken nose at the district duals last Saturday.
None of that phased Weyandt though, as he put up bonus points in his 132-pound bout and Chestnut Ridge rolled to a 51-21 first-round victory over WPIAL runner-up Freedom Area.
The Lions will meet District 3 champion Hamburg in today’s quarterfinals. Hamburg claimed the final bout of a 36-34 win over District 10’s Greenville.
In an area of the match where Freedom was favored in most of the bouts, Weyandt did what was asked by pinning Thomas Young with a tilt in 3:32.
“It felt good to get out there,” said Weyandt. “I didn’t know the kid at all, but I felt good getting the opening takedown. We’ve been working on tilts in practice, and it worked out well for me today.”
The Bulldogs had the edge on paper at 126, 138, 145, and 152. But the Lions held them to 15 points in those four wins.
Freedom’s Z.J. Ward, a two-time individual state qualifier, built a 5-1 lead on Gryphon Callihan in the second period of the opening bout. Callihan got a takedown and an escape to cut it to 5-4 before Ward scored a takedown and held on for a 7-5 win.
After Weyandt’s pin, Chestnut Ridge freshman Luke Moore took Freedom’s Kenny Duschek down in the first period for a quick lead. Duschek escaped and tallied a takedown of his own for a 3-2 lead after the period, then had an escape and takedown in the second to make it 6-3. Moore escaped in the third which left it at a 6-4 decision for the Freedom state qualifier.
At 145, Freedom’s Jake Pail had four takedowns but couldn’t turn Baltzer Bollman for any back points to settle for a 9-5 decision. Pail’s teammate Trent Schulteis gave the Bulldogs a 15-6 lead by pinning Daniel Moore at 152.
The effort of Chestnut Ridge’s youngsters thoroughly pleased Lions’ coach Greg Lazor.
“Our young boys had to run through their gauntlet right off the bat,” he said. “It started with Ward and got tougher from there for a little bit. We battled well there, not only staying off our backs but giving ourselves opportunities to score and maybe steal a win or two. Those guys really set the stage for the match. They got thrown to the fire right away and had to provide some leadership on the mat. And they did just that.”
Starting at 160, Chestnut Ridge’s upperweights took over the match. Seth Holderbaum (160), Jared McGill (170), Austin Crouse (195), Duane Knisely (220), and Dalton Seace (285) all had pins and the Lions led 36-21 with three weights left.
Freedom forfeited 106 to Kai Burkett which clinched the victory. Chestnut Ridge’s Nathan Holderbaum earned a 6-2 decision in the 113-pound bout, and Ross Dull closed things out with a first-period pin.
Chestnut Ridge improved to 13-0 this season.
“Our experienced guys know the process and the tricks of the trade,” said Lazor. “They know how to get ready down here and that helps the younger guys. It’s a quick turnaround from weigh-ins to eating to warming up and actually wrestling. Our older guys felt at home.”