Duo gains experience in Hershey
They say Hershey is the sweetest place on earth, but it also can leave a sour taste in the mouth of wrestlers every year.
For Emmaus wrestlers Peyton Brown and Caden Wright, this year’s trek to the PIAA championships may have them leaving with a bitter taste after coming home without any medals from the Giant Center.
Brown (106) was eliminated in the second round of the tournament, but Wright came so close to coming away with medal before losing in the third and final round before guaranteeing a medal following a 3-1 loss to North Penn’s Patrick O’Neill.
While Brown was eliminated in the first day of competition, Wright’s final loss was a tough pill to swallow.
He took a 1-0 lead into the third period and hoped to close out the bout on top, as he kept working to turn O’Neill for back points. Then his ambition turned into trouble, as he got too high riding O’Neill, leading to an escape with 24 seconds. Then the ultimate dagger of an O’Neill takedown with four seconds left in the bout decided his fate, finishing his season one win away from coming away with some Hershey hardware.
“He was doing exactly what we wanted him to do and he just got high,” said LaFevre of Wright’s third period. “The kid just wiggled his way out and took advantage of getting the late takedown. The good thing is that Caden will be back and we’ll learn from this.”
That was the silver lining for LeFevre and company as Wright, a sophomore, and Brown, a junior, will both now have the fuel to come back next year for return trips to Hershey.
Brown bounced out of the tournament going 1-2, losing both matches by falls, the final one coming against Council Rock North’s Kyle Hauserman in 1:45.
Wright started his tournament on a strong note, defeating John Crawford of Strath Haven 5-0 in his opener, but lost to Belle Vernon’s Zach Hartman 6-0 in the quarters. That set up the showdown with O’Neill in the consolation round, where things just didn’t go his way.
“We knew Caden was one of the better kids in this weight class, but we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and get that one takedown because he’s extremely tough on the mat,” LaFevre said. “If you eliminate the little mistakes, it makes a big difference out here.”
Now the focus is on next season, where both wrestlers will expect to make return trips to Hershey with the hope of standing on the podium.
“Now that they’re out here, they’re hungry,” LaFevre said. “Both of them had the opportunity to be out here and I think experience will only make them better. Hopefully next year we’re having different conversations about them.”