HERSHEY — Abington Heights’ Nick Carr didn’t suffer many losses on the mat during the course of the season. In fact, he lost just three times.
Carr entered the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A Wrestling Championships with 35 victories and the senior won two more matches during the state tournament before suffering a setback to eventual state champion Kaleb Young of Punxsutawney, the number two ranked wrestler in the country in the 160-pound weight class, by a 16-4 major decision in the semifinals.
The senior made sure the third defeat would be the last of his high school career.
“It was disappointing, but I realized I had more matches left and needed to keep my head up and wrestle for the bronze,” Carr said.
Undeterred, Carr defeated Penn Manor’s Jonah Barley by decision, 2-1, in his first consolation match and topped Pennridge’s Joshua Stillings by decision, 6-2, to claim the bronze medal.
“Nick peaked at the right time of the season,” Abington Heights head coach Steve Peters said. “He looked great at districts and regionals, and even better at the state tournament.
“Every kid in that weight class was a stud. He bounced back well. You always worry when a kid who doesn’t lose much gets beat, but Nick came back with a vengeance. He was determined and focused. It’s a long tournament and for him to take a loss and come back and win on the same day is a big deal.”
Carr began the PIAA Tournament by defeating Cumberland Valley’s Quentin Milliken by a 3-2 decision in his first round match.
“The first match was close and I felt like I could have been a little more dominant, but that match really got my confidence up and made me realize I belonged in the tournament.”
In the quarterfinals, Carr knocked off Hempfield’s Tyler Reber by decision, 9-4, to advance to the semifinals.
“It was an exciting weekend,” Carr said. “It was a lot of fun and I got to experience a lot of good opportunities and matches.”
Carr became the third member of his family to advance to the PIAA Wrestling Championships, joining his brothers Mike and Mat who represented Abington Heights in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
“When I was a freshman and sophomore, I wasn’t very successful as a wrestler,” Carr said. “I’m just glad I could follow in their footsteps.”
Phillips, Balavage cap careers with state wins
Lackawanna Trail senior Trent Phillips won his match in the pigtail round over Bermudian Springs’ Logan Luckenbaugh by pin in 1:18 in the 195-pound weight class of the PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Tournament. He lost his next match to Greenville’s Blake Reynolds by technical fall, 16-0, to fall into the consolation bracket.
He lost his first consolation match to North Schuylkill’s C.J. Steinhilber by decision, 6-2, and was eliminated from the tournament.
Scranton Prep’s Thor Balavage won his first round match by a 2-1 decision over Lehighton’s Wyatt Clements in the PIAA Class 2A 220-pound weight class. Balavage, a senior, dropped his next match by an 8-1 decision to Port Allegheny’s Ethan Budd to move into the consolation bracket where he was eliminated by Greenville’s Gage Gladysz by a 5-2 decision.