First Posted: 3/13/2013
Austin Harry moved four steps up the podium.
Harry suffered his first two wrestling losses of the season March 7-9 at the Giant Center in Hershey, but he moved up from an eighth-place finish a year ago to fourth in the state with one more season remaining in his high school career.
The Lake-Lehman junior now has three district titles, two regional titles and two Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA state medals to his credit.
“Coming into the tournament, obviously everyone wants to win it,” Harry said. “ … After that first loss, you can’t really hang your head. You have to come back and try to finish as high as you can.”
Harry opened the state tournament by pinning Chase Schaeffer of Tri Valley in 2:44.
Eventual finalist Nick Zanetta of Keystone Oaks ended Harry’s title hopes and ruined his perfect record with a 5-0 victory in the quarterfinals.
Harry fought back through the consolation brackets to a top-four finish by winning three straight low-scoring decisions – 3-1 over Lee Todora of Bethlehem Catholic, 4-2 over Cole Walter of Mifflinburg in a rematch of the Northeast Regional final and 6-3 over Michael Comunale of Pius X.
Ian Brown of Hanover defeated Harry, 5-0, to take third place.
Harry lost three times at the state tournament last year, falling to eighth place after clinching a medal.
“Being a sophomore, when I knew was going to place, I was happy knowing that no matter what, I would come out with a medal,” said Harry, who improved from 36-8 as a freshman to 39-4 as a sophomore and 41-2 this season. “This year was different.”
Harry hopes to continue the climb in the year ahead.
“Each year, you look at where you are in comparison with the other kids,” Lake-Lehman coach Tom Williams said. “He was eighth last year and fourth this year. He closed the gap some.
“I think he also knows there is a little more work to be done.”
Harry acknowledged that.
“There’s definitely room for improvement,” he said. “I’m obviously not perfect. I have a lot of work to do on my feet and on bottom. I have to get stronger.”
Williams said Harry has shown the willingness to do the work necessary to make those steps.
“He’s an excellent leader,” the coach said. “He tries to use that ability to motivate the other kids on the team. He’s self-motivated. He will go and do some extra things outside of what we coaches have instructed him to do. He’s always looking for ways to get a little better workout.”
As a result, Harry already has a 116-14 record with 58 pins and six technical falls with another year to try to add to those impressive totals – and his medal collection.