Wright advances to regional championship
Caden Wright faced Stroudsburg’s Lenny Pinto twice already this season. Both times Pinto had gotten the better of the Emmaus junior.
Despite that, Wright was confident the third time was the charm with a district title on the line. Unfortunately, Pinto had other plans.
Wright fell to Pinto via an 11-5 decision in the 170-pound final of Saturday’s District 11 3A Championships at Liberty High School.
“He’s strong,” said Wright. “I just wasn’t able to work what I am good at. I wrestled him twice this year already. The first time it was 10-5, and the second time I lost 5-2. Going into this match, I was pretty confident I was going to beat him. But it didn’t come out that way.”
Wright will make the trip back to Liberty this week for the PIAA Northeast Class 3A Regional Tournament. He fully expects to meet Pinto again. And maybe their fourth meeting will go in Wright’s favor.
In the final, Pinto did what he had done in their last two matches—controlling those important tie-ups.
Three takedowns in the opening period gave Pinto a 6-3 cushion, and he wasn’t threatened for the remaining four minutes. After earning an escape in the second period, Pinto picked up four more points in the third to seal gold.
“He’s good at what I am good at—upper body,” Wright said. “And that is how he beat me in my past matches. So I went out there not wanting to tie up, but he forced the tie-ups and I wasn’t able to work what I wanted to work.
A district champ and regional qualifier last season, Wright was hoping to earn a second straight gold medal.
“A district championship would have been nice but that’s not happening, so I have to let it go and move on,” he said.
Wright had little trouble in his first two matches. He first earned a dominant 16-0 technical fall over Parkland’s Josh Wieder early in the third period on Friday. Moments later, Wright pinned Northampton’s Traisach Roland in the first period to cement his spot in Saturday’s semifinal round.
“My goal going in was to score bonus points in every match,” Wright said. “I did that in my first two matches. In my semifinals match I wasn’t able to do that. I only won 8-2, but it was still a dominant match.”
Wright convincingly took care of business against Easton’s Isaiah Reinert on Saturday to advance to the championship round.
One other Hornet earned a medal on Saturday night. Senior Jackson Karrat took sixth place in the 138-pound bracket after falling in his regional-qualifying match against Southern Lehigh’s Nick Colasurdo, 6-3.
Karrat advanced to the quarterfinals after he defeated Stroudsburg’s Haider Sohail in his opening match via a 15-2 major decision on Friday. He then fell to Pocono Mountain East’s Steven Storm to send Karrat into the consolation bracket. He kept his regional hopes alive with a 7-5 decision over Easton’s Colby Duffy and a 14-3 major decision over Whitehall’s Aiden Toussaint.
Wright’s run in regionals will begin with an opening-round match against St. Joseph’s Prep’s Connor Barberi.
“I’m going to have a tough route,” Wright said. “I’m probably going to have to wrestle Angel Garcia [of Mariana Bracetti Academy], who I beat last year in the semifinals in overtime. That is going to be a tough scrap. And then I’m going to have to beat Lenny [Pinto].”
The top four finishers advance to states from 3A. Wrestling begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday with the preliminary round, followed by quarterfinals (at 6:30 p.m.) and first round consolations (at 8:30 p.m.). Saturday begins with second round consolations at 9:30 a.m.