Hornets’ Wright wins D-11 gold
Last season Caden Wright was just one win away from advancing to the Northeast Regional Wrestling Championships. This year, he sealed his trip to regionals early in the district tournament.
Wright, an Emmaus junior, was the No. 5 seed at 160 last weekend. He went 4-0 at the tournament, beating top-seed Tyler Dilorenzo (East Stroudsburg South) in the semifinal to clinch his trip to regionals. He’s been waiting for his chance to advance since taking sixth place last year.
“That stuck with me since it happened all the way through the summer, fall and winter until now,” said Wright after winning the 160-pound title bout by injury default of Bethlehem Catholic’s Mikey Lewis. “It was awesome to get that back, especially in the semis when I knew I was going to regionals.
“Last year I wrestled very closed up and wrestled not to lose instead of to score points and win. It cost me at districts last year.”
Wright is one of two Hornets to advance to regionals and one of three to earn a district medal as junior Peyton Brown took second place at 106 and will compete again next weekend. Senior Joe Barno finished in sixth place at 285.
Wright opened his tournament by pinning Dieruff’s Isaac Kassis in 5:32. He knocked off No. 4 seed Eli Santiago (Liberty) in the quarterfinals by a 5-4 decision then took out DeLorenzo by a 2-1 score.
Brown came in as the No. 2 seed and won his first three bouts with a pin, a major decision and a technical fall. He met top-seeded Matt Moyer of Bethlehem Catholic in the final and fell 8-5.
“I feel like I did pretty well [Friday] and [Saturday] morning,” said Brown, referring to his first three matches of the tournament. “[In finals], I wasn’t at the level I needed to be at.”
Hornet head coach Nick LeFevre likes both Wright’s and Brown’s chances of getting through next week’s regional tournament and earning a spot in the state championship tournament in Hershey.
“When both of those guys are feeling confident and they open up, anyone’s going to have a difficult time beating them,” said LeFevre. “I would never count them out of any match. Both guys have some things we need to work on. The best part is they’ll both be back for next year. They’ll learn from this experience and grow from it and turn it into even better things.”
Barno was the No. 7 seed at 285. He won his first two matches before falling in the semifinal to Bethlehem Catholic’s Jase Crouse in overtime. He dropped a 4-1 decision to No. 4 seed Thoman McKeuough (Bangor) in the consolation semifinals and then fell in overtime in the fifth place bout and left with a sixth-place medal.
He might not be moving on, but a year after Barno was ineligible for the district tournament he was able to not only get there, but also leave his final high school match with a medal.
LeFevre was as proud of Barno as he was of any of his wrestlers over the weekend.
“This year, he made a transformation on this team,” said LeFevre. “He’s a leader on this team. He’s our captain. Something clicked in him. He worked his butt off and he was consistent.
“What else could you ask from a student-athlete? You want them to succeed. I think Joey Barno succeeded.”