Franklin gets first taste of Hershey
Cole Franklin was a long shot to even qualify for the PIAA wrestling championships last weekend.
The odds of winning a bout in Hershey also didn't seem to be in his favor, but the refreshing aspect of Franklin's approach is that none of that matters.
The Emmaus sophomore left the Giant Center without a chance to bring home a medal, losing in Friday's third round of consolations - one victory short of placing - but it was a memorable season for the Green Hornet that's looking to use this experience as a building block for next season.
"I'm upset about losing, but I'm eager for next year," Franklin said. "I'll put another summer in of wrestling and work harder.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be out here, but I really wanted to get that medal."
Franklin (31-13) saw his season end to Parkland's Josh Ortman by a 7-3 decision in the consolation round. It was his second loss of the tournament, a round before the elimination process from medal proceedings.
A second period reversal by Ortman, followed by three back points, built a 5-0 cushion for the Trojan junior, which ultimately became too much to overcome.
Franklin's rookie welcome to the Hershey mats came with a technical fall defeat at the hands of Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca, who needed 5:21 to post a 19-4 victory.
He then staved off elimination with a thrilling 13-11 victory over McDowell's Shawn Spearman in the first round of consolations. In perhaps the most entertaining bout of the weekend, the two wrestlers exchanged leads five different times before Franklin finally scored the winning takedown with 13 seconds left to win.
The 'let it fly' wrestling mentality was personified by Franklin in his bout with Spearman and head coach Jeff Arbushites only sees a bright future for his young wrestler.
"He had a great year and the fact that he got out here speaks for itself,"Arbushites said. "I think one thing he learned about out here is that you got to get points when you can. He had an opportunity for a takedown in the first period against Ortman that could have changed the complexion of the match.
"The fact that he got here now gives him a taste of what it's like. I think he understands how hard it is to win a medal now and it shows our other kids in the room that if you work hard, you can get out here."