By Frank Dimon
For The Daily Item
Veteran coach Wayne Smythe wants his Warrior Run wrestlers to have what he describes as a “two dogs, one bone” mentality when they walk out on the mat. Unbeaten Zack LeBarron helped the Defenders establish that canine mindset in a highly anticipated opening bout showdown at 106 pounds with Lewisburg’s Brian Friery in the teams’ Heartland Athletic Conference Division II meeting Thursday night.
Showing dogged determination, LeBarron, ranked No. 14 in the state by Off The Mat, converted a takedown 16 seconds into overtime sudden victory for a 6-4 decision over Friery, ranked No. 16 by OTM, and Warrior Run rang up five falls in a solid post-District Duals performance as the Defenders topped the Green Dragons, 49-21.
If the Green Dragons showed a bit of a letdown after bowing out of the dual meet tournament on Saturday, Warrior Run didn’t. The Defenders (17-4, 5-2 HAC-II) raced to a 28-3 after seven bouts
“This is an easy team and they were focused tonight,” Smythe said. “Every time you go out there (as a wrestler), you had better be sure you are in the right frame of mind because the other guy might be, if you’re not. You have to have that two dogs, one bone mentality whenever you step on the mat and I was happy with the way our guys responded.”
Smythe was certainly pleased with with LeBarron’s effort against Friery. LeBarron, now 27-0, fought out of an early, first period shot attempt by Freiry before the Lewisburg freshman appeared to shutdown his attack and then deferred his choice to start the second period.
“Brian didn’t commit (to his attack) and I think he had opportunities to score there,” Lewisburg coach Jim Snyder said.
LeBarron chose down and reversed Friery 20 seconds into the period and then dominated from the top position.
“I expected him to come out with more shots, more offense,” LeBarron said. “I didn’t expect to dominated him on top. I expected he would get out because top isn’t my best position.”
Friery chose neutral to start the third period and converted a takedown and added two back points with a headlock. But he couldn’t pin LeBarron, who later reversed Friery to tie the bout at 4-4, and then used a single leg attack for the winning takedown.
“I wasn’t happy with the effort we had at 106 tonight,” Snyder said. Smythe, though, was extremely pleased with LeBarron.
“Zack wrestled a good match tonight,” Smythe said. “But he did make a couple of mistakes that (Friery ) was able to capitalize on. (Friery) is a good wrestler. We made a mistake, or two, but were still able to come out on top and that’s certainly a plus.”
Eric Hunt followed with a 4-1 decision over a gutsy Jordan Gessner at 113, and, in a mild upset at 120, Lewisburg’s Dante Taylor handled Tyler Hornberger, 7-1. But the Green Dragons (19-6, 4-3) wouldn’t win again until Logan Aikey pinned Elias George at 152. In between, the Defenders got falls from Brian LeBarron (126), Brandon Giannantonio (132), and Doug McCarty (138), and a major decision from Masen Wagner (145).
Lewsiburg cut the deficit to 28-13 when Max Reed got his 17th fall over the season with a third period fall at 160, but Nick Rohm battled back from bad first period against Nick Bernstein at 170 and started another stretch of Defender wins with a fall in 5:07. Garrett Moser added a pin at 182 and Hunter Stroup converted a takedown midway through sudden victory overtime for a 3-1 decision over John Ward at 195. Lewisburg’s Brandon Smith earned a fall at 220 while the Defenders Austin Fiedler countered a big move attempt by Kyle Santorine and got a fall at 285.
“I was disappointed tonight because we pride ourselves with winning close matches, matches in overtime, and we lost three matches like that tonight,” Snyder said. “We might be a little tired at this time of the season but we have a big match with Mifflinburg on Saturday. I am struggling with how we lost tonight and I told the team that.”