WILKES-BARRE — The Dallas wrestling team didn’t really enter the Class 3A district tournament as an unknown. Despite just a few seniors, the Mountaineers have been on every team’s radar this season because of its talented underclassmen.
That proved to be true the weekend of Feb. 27-28 with eight wrestlers from the team picking up medals, five of them advancing to regionals and five of the medalists being underclassmen.
After senior Cole Dixon won the District 2 gold medal at 182 pounds and grabbed the No. 2 seed at this weekend’s Northeast Regional Tournament, the underclassmen stepped up for the Mountaineers.
Dixon and Wallenpaupack’s Todd Frick were locked in perhaps the most entertaining bout of the final. In a battle of two wrestlers with just one loss, Frick held a 2-1 lead in the second period, but Dixon forced overtime with the score knotted at 3-3.
That’s when Dixon fought off a few shots and nailed one of his own for a takedown about midway through the overtime period to notch the victory and his first district title.
“I just knew I had to go and that I was running out of time for it all to come down and I just got it,” Dixon said. “He’s a tough wrestler and when he countered that first move in the first period I was a little shooken up, but I recovered and came back, took him down again. And then OT came and took him down.”
Sophomore Kade Kravits was the Mountaineers’ highest placer of the underclassmen, taking second at 113 and upsetting No. 2 seed Josh Beeman from Tunkhannock in the semifinals.
“Our team did amazing. We got eight medalists. We just had a great day,” said senior Cole Dixon, who won the gold medal at 182 pounds. “Kade, he works and cuts weight and does a good job at it. He’s gonna be a good wrestler.”
Five Mountaineers will participate in this weekend’s Northeast Regional Tournament at Liberty High School in Bethlehem with the top four in each weight advancing to the PIAA Championships at Giant Center in Hershey March 10, 11, 12.
Joining Dixon and Kravits are freshmen Alec Sampson (132 pounds) and Steven Newell (152), and junior Xavier Barber at 160.
Tunkhannock had five finalists on the way to a second-place finish behind Scranton, the team it defeated in the District 2 Class AAA Dual Meet Championships.
Only Bill Manley was able to come away with a championship.
Manley (37-5) has at least 33 wins each of the past three seniors, but the appearance in the finals was the first for the senior who handed West Scranton’s James Forsette just his second loss of the season with a 5-4 decision.
The bout was tied, 3-3, entering the third period before Manley scored a takedown for what proved to be the winning points.
Tunkhannock qualified eight wrestlers for the Class AAA Northeast Regionals in Bethlehem with top-four finishes.
Tommy Traver (126), Mike Manley (152), Dalton Ray (160) and Sam Rice (195) each finished second for the Tigers.
Jake Richards was third at 138 while Josh Beeman, at 113, and Ricky Stevens, at 220, finished fourth.