NEW PARIS – Even the most optimistic of District 5 wrestling fans had to know heading into Saturday that there was virtually no chance of any team other than the Chestnut Ridge Lions walking with the dual-meet championship.
The unbeaten Lions outscored the opposition 111-26 on the day and rolled to a seventh consecutive District 5 Class AA title.
“You never expect to win that many of them in a row,” Lions coach Greg Lazor said. “That’s always the goal. There are a lot of people putting in work, the assistants, the boosters, and obviously the kids are working hard. We’ll just ride it as long as we can.”
Chestnut Ridge (12-0) trounced Tussey Mountain 59-12 in the semifinals and then beat Bedford 52-14 in the final.
“We knew were outmanned,” Bedford coach Joel Easter said.
“They’re a really good team, but we wanted to get our kids in that atmosphere. Down the road, it will pay dividends.”
The sixth-seeded Bisons (8-6) pulled off a couple of upsets just to reach the final round, including a 37-31 victory over No. 2 North Star on Saturday morning.
“I’m pleased,” said Easter, who is in his first season as head coach. “If you would have
told me at the beginning of the year we’d be wrestling Ridge in the finals … I’d have hoped for it, but it was really nice. The kids worked their tails off.
Bedford, which lost to North Star earlier in the season, got a pin from Ashton Dull at 182 pounds and another from Jaydin Vargas at 220 to help the Bisons reverse the outcome.
“Ashton Dull, he came up with a big fall for us and Jadin Vargas did, too,” Easter said.
Noah Lynch also picked up a fall for the Bisons, who picked up their 800th victory as a program.
North Star got pins from Austin Hribar, Colten Connor and Hunter Tremain.
In the championship, Chestnut Ridge’s Gryphon Callihan, Luke Moore, Jared McGill, Duane Knisely, Dalton Seace and Kai Burkett had falls.
Freshman Daniel Moore picked up a 5-3 decision over Brayden Koontz at 152 pounds to join his twin brother, Luke, in putting up points for the Lions.
“We knew up top and down low we’re pretty tough to beat,” Lazor said. “I thought our young guys in the middle did a real good job for a championship bout.”
The Lions will face District 7 runner-up Freedom Area in the first round of the PIAA tournament on Thursday in Hershey.
“Our boys, this is something they really strive for and want to be a part of on a consistent basis,” Lazor said of making the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships. “Even your lower guys can step on the big stage and play as important role as the big guys. They wrestle significant matches as a group. So many of the boys of the past have said these medals mean a lot more than the individual.”
Eric Knopsnyder covers wrestling for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Eric_Knopsnyder. Read his blog at papowerwrestling.com.