First Posted: 3/14/2012
Lackawanna Trail senior wrestler Eric Laytos fell just short off the second Class AA State Championship of his high school career while Abington Heights junior Michael Carr faced a tough draw in his first appearance in the Class AAA state playoffs at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Laytos reached the gold medal match, but lost to John Rizzo of Richland High School in a 12-3 major decision.
"We were the underdog going into it and we knew it," Lackawanna Trail head coach Jeff Stauffer said. "We just pretty much laid it all out but he (Rizzo) was just too powerful and too technical."
Laytos advanced to the quarterfinals March 8 after pinning Gus Bostdorf of Camp Hill High School. He then pinned Matt Mongera of Seneca High School and defeated Cam Cyphert of Cochranton High School in a 7-2 decision Friday to get into his second gold medal match where he earned second place.
"Eric gave it everything he had and he just fell short," Stauffer said. "Both of us have no regrets from the match whatsoever."
With the loss in the championship match, Laytos leaves behind an illustrious wrestling career with the Lions. In a three-year stretch at Lackawanna Trail, Laytos earned three district championships and one state championship. In his other two trips to states, Laytos finished second and seventh.
"It's a rare thing to get a kid who will just lay everything out on the line for you each and every time he steps out on the mat or the football field or pretty much whatever he does," Stauffer said. "He'll give you everything he's got and he won't play anything or do anything unless he's doing that."
In the Class AAA state playoffs Carr faced off against Garrett Peppelman of Central Dauphin High School, the eventual state champion, in the first round.
"We wrestled Peppelman earlier this year and he's just a tough kid to wrestle," Abington Heights head coach Chris Calder said. "I think Michael did the best job he could under those circumstances."
After losing to Peppelman, Carr fell short in a matchup against Jon Nieman of Boyertown Area Senior High School.
"I think his performance at states was good," Calder said. "This is the opportunity that he had to take back to our wrestling room and use it to become a leader and showing the other kids that this is what it takes to get to Hershey."
Calder said Carr's experience at Hershey will not only help him going into next season but also help the team.
"We didn't have any state qualifiers coming back this year and next year we do," Calder said. "We're looking ahead to that being a great asset to have in the wrestling room."
Carr will aim to return to the state playoffs next season in his final year at Abington Heights.
"He's got to get physically stronger," Calder said. "He's got to maintain some of the skills he does have and develop some of the new skills that he needs to go and compete at a new level at that state tournament."