Story was first in the Lehighton Times News in the Jan. 21, 2016 edition.
Northwestern vs. Northern Lehigh. The Mountain Road Rivalry as it is referred to, is always intense in every sport between the two Colonial League schools. On Wednesday night, that local battle focused in on the wrestling mats.
The Tigers hosted the Bulldogs in the two’s 2015-16 Colonial League regular season finale at Northwestern Lehigh High School as the home grapplers dealt the Bulldogs their first league loss of the season, 42-24. Additionally, the victory won the Tigers (15-4 overall, 7-1 Colonial League) the west division in the Colonial League and secured them the second seed in next week’s district duals.
“I told my guys it’s important to come out and not just win the match, but make a statement,” Northwestern head coach Jim Moll said. “We wanted to set the tone of how we wrestle them so that remember how we wrestled them next week.”
The night was a declarative statement for the Northwestern wrestling program, in front of a sizable home crowd, and it seemed as though it would go the Tigers way from the start.
Beginning at 195 pounds, Northwestern’s Andrew Sorenson pinned Brandon Smith in just 40 seconds, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead, which Jacob Murray tacked on to with a 5-1 decision at 220 pounds in the next bout.
“That was big,” Moll said of Sorenson’s quick pin. “Andrew came out and did his job, set the tone and it got the ball rolling for us.”
Northern Lehigh (14-4, 7-1) got on the scoreboard for the first time courtesy of a late pin from senior Cameron Kates, who took down Quin Moyer in 5:49. That fall closed Northwestern’s lead to 9-6, the closest the Bulldogs got to the Tigers the rest of the night.
Northwestern won five of the next seven bouts leading up to 152 pounds where NL’s Tyler Smith was pinned in 1:04 by Caleb Clymer.
According to Northern Lehigh head coach, Steve Hluschak, the 220 and 152 pound battles were big for Northwestern.
“I think a couple of matches could have gone the other way,” he said. “We lose at 220, we lose at 152, but they have a solid lineup. Other than those, 220 and 152, which I thought we could have won, [tonight] was what we expected.”
That pin by Clymer at 152 pounds sealed the Bulldogs’ fate as it clinched the win for the Tigers.
Hluschak, who led his team to a district championship last season, said this year’s Northwestern team has the formula.
“If you can fill a line up with quality kids, that’s a lot of the battle,” he commented. “Last year, we were in that position. We were solid throughout, not a lot of holes. This year we have some studs and we have some guys that are young that are giving up bonus points every match…(Northwestern) has improved and they wrestled well. Hats off to them.”
ONE STEP CLOSER…At 126 pounds, Northwestern’s Quentin Bernhard earned a 7-0 decision, which was his 99th career win. He’ll search for his 100th on Wednesday in the League Duals.
RE-MATCH…Northwestern will be the second seed and Northern Lehigh will be the third seed at Wednesday’s league duals, setting up another match between the two in the semi-finals at Catasaqua High School.
NORTHWESTERN 42, NORTHERN LEHIGH 24
195- Andrew Sorenson (NW) pin Brandon Smith in :40.
220- Jacob Murray (NW) dec. Jason Schaffer 5-1.
285- Cameron Kates (NL) pin Quin Moyer in 5:49.
106- Zach Anderson (NW) won by forfeit
113- Matt Peters (NW) dec. Seth Fronheiser 3-1
120- Colton Rex (NL) dec. Baily Wehr 8-6
126- Quentin Bernhard (NW) dec. Ezra Neff 7-0
132- Jarrett White (NW) pin Chase Olson 2:42
138- Ryan Dengler (NW) pin Tyler Hargreaves 1:19
145- Matt Schmall (NL) dec. David Van Blargen 2-0
152- Caleb Clymer (NW) pin Tyler Smith 1:04
160- Jackson Bernhard (NW) dec. Brandon Belfonti 3-0
170- Ryan Farber (NL) pin Jason Hottinger (NW) 3:09
182- C.J. Young pin Eddie Parrish (NW) 2:51