Emmaus grapplers beat Cardinals at EPC Duals
There are a number of talented wrestlers for Emmaus, ones that have medaled at districts and advanced to regionals in the past. But the Hornets found an unlikely hero on Saturday afternoon in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Duals.
Dylan Baldwin pinned his Pocono Mountain East opponent at 138 pounds, one of a number of toss-up matches that went the Hornets’ way, as Emmaus defeated the Cardinals for 11th place. The Hornets won nine of the 14 bouts, securing the 40-26 victory at Easton Area Middle School.
“That was the match that sealed it,” first-year head coach Nick LaFevre said. “He’s had a tough year. He’s starting to really turn it on. That was a big win for him today, and that was cool to see him be the hero. He has definitely worked hard and he earned it.”
Clinging to a 31-20 lead with three bouts to go, Baldwin’s match went a long way in deciding the outcome. And he left little doubt as to how it would unfold. After an early takedown, Baldwin pinned Pocono Mountain East’s Max Baker in 1:07.
Cardinals Steven Storm pinned Ethan Macik in the next bout at 138 pounds. But Jackson Karrat won via decision, 10-6, to close out the match for the Hornets.
“Dylan was one of those guys where I’d say it was a toss up match, “LaFevre said. “If Dylan goes out there and doesn’t win that match, then we might lose. That was a huge win for us as a program.”
“I figured it would have been a little harder,” said Baldwin. “He came out a little too strong, and I took advantage of that.”
Starting at 152 pounds, Pocono Mountain East won three of the first five bouts. Pins at 152 pounds for Billy Koch and 170 pounds for Tony Mimone gave the Cardinals an early 12-4 advantage. Emmaus’ Andrew Migliore came up a point shy, 3-2, at 195 pounds and momentum had suddenly shifted the Cardinals’ way.
But the Hornets went on to win five consecutive matches, beginning with a fall from Luigi Mannino at 220 pounds, to take that momentum back for good.
“Our 182-pounder [Bryce Ebinger] is out sick, so I think the match was a little bit closer than we would have liked it to be,” LaFevre said. “But that’s what happens. You have guys step up. We had some guys step up in big ways.”
Following Mannino’s fall, Joey Barno’s 1-0 decision at 285 pounds gave the Hornets its first lead of the match at 16-15. When the lineup reached the top at 106 pounds, Peyton Brown pinned Nico Shepherd in 41 seconds for a 22-15 advantage.
“I think the day went pretty well,” said Brown, a junior who is 23-2. “We had a good warm up. Everyone did what they needed to do. We were gritty mentally.”
Kordell Waiters followed up Brown’s fall with a 7-6 decision, earning an escape in the final second to secure the victory. Gabe Schray earned a fall at 120 pounds before Baldwin’s match-defining pin two bouts later.
Caden Wright won via major decision at 160 pounds, while Liam Dottery earned a decision at 182 pounds early in the match.