Grapplers take third at Zephyr Duals
The name of the game for the Emmaus varsity wrestling this season has been hard work. Coach Thad Smith’s squad continues to overcome challenges through a combination of improved execution, thoughtful strategy and tenacious desire to outwork the opposition.
The trifecta is paying dividends. The Green Hornets finished third overall Jan. 5 at the Zephyr Duals at Whitehall High School by defeating East Stroudsburg South 46-27 in the third-place match. Earlier in the day, the Hornets lost a semifinal heartbreaker after Muncy rallied for a 39-34 win.
“I thought we wrestled well in the semifinals,” Smith said. “I thought our lightweights really showed up to wrestle, even though we lost that match I thought it was some of the best wrestling we’ve wrestled all year. You have to tip your cap to Muncy. If we wrestle them again we do stuff different, but you tip your cap to them.”
Without Muncy’s comeback, the Hornets’ day could have been perfect. It was for two Emmaus wrestlers. Caden Wright and Kordell Waiters both won all four of their matches. A times throughout the day each Emmaus wrestlers displayed a fierce desire to compete.
Emmaus got off well in the morning, out-wrestling Pocono Mountain East 55-21 in the first round. Green Hornet winners included Luigi Mannino, James Bowie, Geovanni Lainez, Nicholas Verde, Jared Groller, Christopher Tigar, Conner Carter in addition to Wright and Waiters.
Later in the afternoon, the Green Hornets held off Somerville (New Jersey), 36-27, in an interesting quarterfinal matchup. Bryce Ebinger and Jackson Karrat joined Mannino, Lainez, Waiters, Groller and Wright in the winners’ column.
The victory set up a showdown with Muncy. The Green Hornets stormed out of the gate, as Ebinger, Bowie, Lainez, Velde and Waiters won each of the first five battles as Emmaus held a commanding 27-0 lead.
Muncy showed its resolve and battled back, winning four of the next five bouts, with only a 3-1 Karrat decision breaking the streak, as Muncy closed to within nine at 30-21. Wright recorded the final Green Hornet win with a 8-0 victory to increase the lead to 34-21 before Muncy won the final three matches to pull out the five-point victory.
“Our guys made mistakes, but you learn from those mistakes and you get better from them,” Smith said.
Down, but far from out, the Green Hornets dusted themselves off and finished with a strong performance in the third-place tilt against East Stroudsburg South. Quin Scott, Bowie, Velde, Waiters, Karrat, Groller, Carter, Wright and Mannino all raised their arms in victory.
“It’s about winning and learning,” said Smith when asked about lessons from the tournament. “There is no losing today. We learned a lot today.”
Smith and staff will continue to work with their young grapplers on various wrestling techniques and strategies.
“We’re working hard on bar tilts,” he said. “We’re working hard on the feet with being heavy on the head, wearing our opponents down. It’s a six-minute bout, not a 60-second bout. We’re trying to teach the guys we want to be heavy, heavy, heavy. Wrestle heavy. Tire your opponents out.”
In other action last week, Emmaus won a nonleague dual match against Tamaqua, 43-24.
Wright (170), Velde (120) and Groller (152) pinned their Blue Raider opponents, while Lainez (113) and Waiters (126) won by technical fall. Mannino (220) won by decision, while Karrat (138) got his win by injury default. Bowie (106) picked up a forfeit win in the match.
The Hornets improved to 6-3 overall this season, which has them ranked 10th in the District 11 Class 3A standings. They are 2-2 in the East Penn Conference with matches against Liberty (Wednesday) and Pocono Mountain West (Thursday) this week.