WILLIAMSPORT – The nerves were starting to sink in.
Trent Phillips knew he was down to his final chance. One more loss, and his season was over. More importantly, he would fall one victory short of 100.
“I’ve never been so nervous going into a match for that 100th win – especially after he took me down in the first period. I was concerned,” Phillips said.
Luckily, the Lackawanna Trail senior recovered.
Phillips picked up his 100th victory with a fall over Western Wayne’s Dakota Swoyer in the consolation quarterfinals of the PIAA Class 2A Northeast Regional tournament, and punched his ticket to states with a 3-1 victory over Mount Carmel Area’s Allen Yancoskie.
The Lion finished fourth at the regional, losing to Danville’s Sam Crone, 3-2, in the third-place bout after Crone rode out Phillips the entire third period.
Phillips becomes the first Trail wrestler since Eric Laytos in 2012 to advance to the state bracket.
“I felt great going into it. I think getting the 100th win really motivated me to go to states. I really wanted that,” he said.
Friday, Phillips – seeded No. 2 at 195 – was upset by Bloomsburg’s Tommy Harrison, 7-1.
That’s when the pressure started to mount.
One loss in the elimination bracket, and it’s over.
And when Swoyer got an early takedown, the stakes got higher.
“You just have to work through them,” Phillips said of the nerves. “They seem to be at the highest right before the match. Once I step on the mat, they seem to go away.”
He was able to turn it around with the second-period fall over Swoyer.
In the consolation semifinals, Phillips got the lone takedown of the bout in a 3-1 victory over Yancoskie.
“That 100th win, that was the pressure match. Once I got that, I just wrestled loose and relaxed. I felt like I was more prepared in that second match. I knew I had to give it my all because that could have been my last match,” Phillips said.
Phillips (35-5) will face Bermudian Springs’ Logan Luckenbaugh (35-11) in the his first PIAA tournament match.
Lackawanna Trail’s other wrestler at the regional didn’t fare as well. Seeded No. 5 at 132, Tyler Baltrusaitis was pinned in the second period by Wyalusing’s Josh Haley on Friday, and then, lost a close decision, 6-4, to Athens’ Kaidon Winters – giving up a reversal with three seconds left in the bout.
Haley went on to win the 132-pound title, upsetting Southern Columbia’s Todd Lane in the finals.
Abington Heights, Tunkhannock wrestlers advance to states
Abington Heights’ Nick Carr and Tunkhannock’s Mike Manley advanced to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Wrestling Championships, March 10-12, at the Giant Center in Hershey, by placing in the top four in their respective weight classes during the Class 3A Northeast Regional Tournament in Bethlehem.
Carr placed second in the 160-pound weight class. The senior won his first match by a 6-5 decision over Richard Nations of East Stroudsburg South and defeated Darius Joyce of Easton by technical fall, 16-0, before dropping the title match to Northampton’s Cade Moisey by a 6-4 decision.
Carr (35-2) will face Cumberland Valley’s Quentin Milliken (34-11) in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
Manley finished in fourth place in the 152-pound weight class. He won his first match by a 9-2 decision over Darrien Roberts of East Stroudsburg North and downed Anthony Emig of Bethlehem Liberty by a 3-1 decision before falling to Nazareth’s Travis Stefanik by technical fall, 19-4, to drop into the consolation bracket. From there, he picked up a 10-1 major decision over LaSalle’s Pat Deacon to clinch a spot at states.
Manley (41-10) will face South Western’s Gage Thomas (31-6) in his first PIAA tournament match.
Abington Heights’ Noah Sirianni won his first match of regionals in the 106-pound weight class by pinning Conner Shousky of Franklin Towne Charter in 5:25 before losing to Nazareth’s Tyson Klump by technical fall, 15-0, in the quarterfinals. Sirianni was eliminated in his first consolation match when he dropped a 10-6 decision to Pottsville’s Nick Onea.
Abington Heights’ Adam Wellard failed to win a match in the 195-pound weight class. The senior dropped his first bout to Easton’s Craig Stahlecker by a 10-3 decision and was defeated by West Scranton’s Jack Harrity by a 10-3 decision in his first consolation match.
Other regionals qualifiers from Tunkhannock also failed to advance to states.