Wrestling / sports
Team states helped motivate Tigers
By MARC MALKOSKIE Press Enterprise Writer (Written after Saturday, March 9) HERSHEY — After Southern Columbia finished second at the team state tournament last month, head coach Jerry Marks had one goal in mind: getting his guys on the podium at the individual state tournament a month later. And that’s exactly what Southern did, as the Tigers finished with a gold, silver and bronze medal, as well as two fourth-place finishes and one seventh-place finish. Gaige Garcia (195 pounds) took first, Kole Biscoe (113) got second, Preston Zachman (220) was third, Gavin Garcia (145) and Lear Quinton (285) placed fourth, and Cade Linn (160) finished seventh. Benton’s Gable Strickland (113) battled back after a quarterfinal loss to finish fifth, winning a 3-0 decision over South East regional champion Adam Jacob of East Pennsboro on Saturday. Southern’s Biscoe tied the program’s record for the highest finish by a freshman, as he took second place after falling to Forest Hills’ Jackson Arrington in the final. “It was a great weekend, but there again, I’m never satisfied,” said Biscoe, who finishes his first varsity season with a 46-7 record. “I refuse to smile with second because obviously first is the goal, and I have a lot of stuff to improve on, especially my strength and my offensive game.” Biscoe handled defeat with an impressive level of maturity, acknowledging his motivation for next season. “It’s definitely fueling the fire for next year, there’s no doubt,” Biscoe said. “It’s going to push me in the offseason especially. You can’t just be doing the basics. You have to be doing everything to be the best in the state. It’s definitely going to fuel the fire.” Zachman dominated a familiar foe, Montoursville’s Cameron Wood, who beat Southern’s 220-pounder twice this year by narrow decisions, this time getting revenge for a 10-2 major decision to place third despite weighing around 200 pounds. “This has been an awesome experience,” Zachman said. “It’s my first time being here, and I wasn’t really expecting anything and got to finish third in the state. Being 20 pounds lighter than most of my opponents is just a great accomplishment.” Gavin Garcia and Quinton dropped their third-place bouts, 3-0 and 3-1, respectively, but still helped Southern place in the top six in five different weight classes. It was the first state tournament appearance for both. Cade Linn won his place match with a solid 9-0 major decision to claim seventh for the second straight year. “I’ll use seventh place as motivation for next year to get higher up on that podium,” Linn said. “It’ll be a busy offseason for sure.” Marc Malkoskie covers sports for the Press Enterprise. He may be reached at 570-387-1234, ext. 1338, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mmalkoskie.
MCA wrestler has chance to break out
By MARC MALKOSKIE Press Enterprise Writer MOUNT CARMEL — Hidden within the star-studded, state-known wrestling powerhouse that is District 4 are a few wrestlers who are about to make some noise. Among these under-the-radar performers is Shane Weidner. After compiling a respectable record of 37-27 through his first two seasons, the Mount Carmel junior is 25-6 this year with a solid chance to claim his first district medal. Weidner, now a 182-pounder, picked up two falls in a combined 46 seconds to reach the South Sectional final last Saturday. There he dropped an 11-4 decision to state-ranked Tyler Waltman of Southern Columbia in a match that felt a lot closer than the final score. Bumping up After struggling his first few matches at 170 pounds, his weight through the first seven weeks of the season, it wasn’t until a quad-meet at Central Columbia in late January that Weidner bumped up. Weidner opened eyes at his 182 debut, going 3-0 with three falls in the quad-meet. “Shane has the talent. He’s an excellent football player,” Mount Carmel coach Steve Pisarchik said of the three-sport athlete. “Anything you ask him to do, he can do it. You just have to channel his focus on wrestling at the time. And that’s what we did. He took a couple losses early (in the season), but after that we focused and regrouped, and it’s showing.” Three-sport athlete Since making the recent weight adjustment, Weidner is 5-2 with all five wins coming by fall. Three of those falls took less than 50 seconds. “He’s the one that wanted to move to 182, and it’s working out,” Pisarchik said. “Instead of having to lose some weight, he wanted to lift and get stronger as the postseason goes on.” In addition to wrestling, Weidner runs track and is a two-way starter in football. The Tornadoes’ wide receiver/cornerback had 1,250 yards of total offense for the District 4 2A runners-up this past season. “It’s really nice running track because you’re in shape for football,” Weidner said. “During football, you’re lifting and running more, so it keeps you going all year-round.” A role model According to Pisarchik, Weidner is also a strong leader on the Red Tornadoes squad. “It’s huge,” Pisarchik said of Weidner’s leadership role. “I tell him that all the time in the (wrestling) room. ‘Listen, whatever you’re doing, they’re seeing it. If you’re screwing off, they’re going to screw off.’ It’s channeling his focus hard, we just have to do everything the right way because the younger guys see it.” Weidner credits his team’s intense practice regimen for its impressive 15-8 record in duals this season. “We run a lot at practice,” Weidner said. “We drill a lot to practice the small things, but we train a lot to be in shape and be the better guy come the third period.” ‘Working harder’ The district qualifier knows he’s well into the second half of his high school career, and he wants to make the most of it. “Coming into my final two years here, I’m trying to make the most of them,” Weidner said. “I’m putting in more work and working harder, and hoping for a better outcome than the last few years.” Weidner earned a first-round bye as the 4-seed this coming weekend, and is scheduled to face the winner of a match between Montoursville’s Gavin Livermore and Canton’s Carter Route in the quarterfinals in Williamsport Friday night. Marc Malkoskie covers sports for the Press Enterprise. He may be reached at 570-387-1234, ext. 1338, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mmalkoskie.