Wright gets silver at regional
Everything seemed to be working in Caden Wright’s favor in Saturday’s 170-pound regional final. Everything except for maybe a few seconds in the second period.
Stroudsburg’s Lenny Pinto used a five-point move in the second period to help defeat Wright, 8-4, last week in the Northeast Class 3A Regional Tournament at Liberty High School.
It was the second time in a week’s span that Pinto defeated Wright for a championship. Last week it was for the District 11 Class 3A crown. But Wright seemed to have learned a few things from districts.
“I felt like [I was in control],” Wright said. “Last week he was up 6-3 going into the second period, and I flipped it to this week at 3-2. I was feeling good. I knew this kid’s best period is the first period, and I was beating him in his best period.
“In all I had a good tournament. I beat the kid favored to win it in the semifinals. And then in the final match…I lost 8-4 and it was off one toss that he hit. I could have won that match. I was sloppy for like maybe three seconds.”
Wright fought off a takedown attempt from Pinto late in the first period, and used one of his own to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. It was a drastic shift from trailing 6-3 a week ago.
Even with Pinto escaping the bottom position early in that period, all the momentum seemed to be on Wright’s side. And Pinto seemed to be wearing down.
But Perhaps it was all a mirage. Pinto took Wright to the ground with a toss and turned it into three quick back points. Wright staved off the pin, but that move would be the deciding factor in the match.
“I had my under hook and took it to a single, and instead of bringing the leg up, I kept it down and tried to circle behind,” Wright said. “When I circled behind, he tossed me to my back and got five points.”
Early on it was smooth sailing once again for the Hornet senior. He pinned Saint Joseph Prep’s Connor Barberi in 1:04 to open the tournament. He then disposed of Hazleton’s Jake Marnell in the quarterfinals to cement his spot in states and a top-four finish at regionals.
But Wright wasn’t done. He faced a familiar foe in the semifinals, Angel Garcia of Mariana Bracetti Academy, whom he defeated in overtime last year at regionals. The matched played out similarly to last winter, with Wright picking up a hard-fought 3-2 decision.
“Everyone thought he was going to win it,” Wright said. “Last year it was 1-0 going into the third period, and then he chose bottom and escaped, so it was 1-1.
“This year, I was controlling the whole match and in the second period I got a point again. He chose bottom in the third period, so everything was playing out the same way. My top game improved this season, and I was able to get two back points.”
While district and regional medals are certainly rewarding to add to his collection, Wright is still missing out on one more piece of hardware. It’s one he’ll go for this weekend at states in Hershey.
“It feels good, but it’s not a state medal yet,” Wright said. “My goal is a state medal. That’s all I want right now.”