Bethlehem Catholic 38, Kiski Area 18 – PIAA 3A team wrestling quarterfinal – Rapid Recap
The defending 3A state champions took care of business against the WPIAL winners in a fierce match that felt much closer than the final score indicated.
In fact, from the buildup to the matchup, it seemed as if the score itself should have been reversed.
“We’d heard all the talk about how good (Kiski) was and that they had a chance to beat us,” said Becahi senior Ryan Zeiner, whose fall at 152 clinched the win for the Golden Hawks in a match that started at 170 pounds. “But we have a great team, and we don’t have any weak spots.”
Becahi advanced to Friday night’s 3A semifinal (8) against North Allegheny, District 7’s third-place team that defeated District 3 champion Exeter 36-26 in their quarterfinal.
The Golden Hawks (17-4) sure didn’t look as if any gaps existed against a Kiski squad that offered very solid balance up and down its lineup. Becahi trailed 12-11 though six bouts until freshman Kenny Herrmann posted a fall in 2 minutes and 23 seconds to put the Hawks ahead to stay. At 132, Becahi senior Luke Carty handed Cameron Connor, ranked No. 5 at 138 by PaPower Wrestling, a 5-2 defeat.
WATCH: Becahi's Niko Camacho wins big one against Kiski
But key wins by Kiski’s Noah Levett, ranked No. 6 in the state at 126 by PaPower Wrestling, 7-6 over Ryan Anderson at 126; and by Joey Blumer (138) 3-1 over Jarred Papcsy closed the Cavaliers to within 23-18 before a 4-3 decision by Becahi sophomore Luca Frinzi and Zeiner’s pin wrapped it up for the Golden Hawks.
For Zeiner, it was a sweet moment after a bitter Hershey visit as a junior to the team tournament.
“It felt awesome for me to clinch the match for us,” Zeiner said. “Last year I came here this weekend and went 0-for-4. I didn’t want that to happen again. This weekend is all about getting it done for the team.”
Turning point: Carty’s win at 132 made Kiski’s task very difficult and gave Becahi some breathing room.
Top performer: Becahi senior Jody Crouse scored a last-second reversal to force overtime and then took down Kiski’s Danny Starr in overtime for a inspiring 7-5 decision that gave the Golden Hawks extra shots of adrenalin.
What it means: Becahi moves within two wins of a repeat as 3A champions. This may well have been the Golden Hawks’ best performance in a dual meet all season. With athletes such as Carty, Frinzi and Zeiner gaining more and more confidence every bout, Becahi becomes more and more formidable.
Brad Wilson may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.
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