Pates eying big week on the wrestling mats
Freedom hasn't had the easiest ride in 2013, but the Patriots may have found a moment of reprieve following last weekend's jaunt to Juniata Duals.
The Patriots went 4-1 in the dual meet tournament and took home third place after a lone loss to eventual champion Biglerville.
Freedom lost to Biglerville 44-22 to cast the lone blemish over the weekend.
After a disappointing loss to Northampton last week, followed by a 49-18 defeat to Easton last Wednesday, the Pates (10-7) needed a positive end to the week.
"The kids wrestled well and we were pleased with their effort," said head coach Brandon Hall in regards to the performance at the Juniata Duals. "Even though we left Friday night for the tournament, just getting away for a little bit can help bring you together and I think this tournament really helped us in that way."
The new year has certainly been a bumpy road for the program, as Hall had to deal with a skin infection scare, suspending several wrestlers and having some members quit.
They watched a potential victory over Northampton slip away last week and had to follow that up with a bout against Easton, but after talking with the team last week, Hall thinks the wheels are back on the track as the Pates gear up for tonight's important bout against Nazareth and Saturday's rivalry showdown at Liberty (7:30pm).
"We talked to the kids about the importance of team wrestling and what it takes to succeed," Hall said. "This year hasn't been very stellar for us, but the kids are showing resiliency and focus with what's been going on."
Freshman 106-pounder Dylan Brown is one of the examples that Hall was talking about after he earned a 15-8 decision over Easton's Anthony Roche for one of four victories the Pates scored against the Red Rovers.
Jake Young (170), Evan Kauffman (220) and Cordell Cotto (HWT) also earned wins against Easton.
Brown, Kauffman and John Callahan (182) each went undefeated over the weekend, as Freedom recorded wins over West Perry, Hamburg, Towanda and East Pennsboro.
"We've been seeing guys step up and Dylan Brown is one of them," Hall said. "He's wrestling really well right now for a freshman. The nice thing about him is that you see him walking around and he really just loves wrestling. He's enjoying the sport and that's what we want from all of our guys."
Hall knows that if his team wants to find a spot in district duals, this week is vital. Nazareth (11-) has been hobbled with injuries, but Hall isn't sure if that will be the same situation when they travel to Nazareth tonight.
Saturday's bout with Liberty (12-3) doesn't need any records, as both teams are bitter rivals, but after Freedom defeated the Hurricanes a year ago, Hall is pretty sure that they'll be looking for some payback.
"Liberty has been wrestling really well as a team all year," he said. "We beat them last year and won nine bouts in a row to end the match. They are going to be ready for us and it's a big match for both schools. If we want a chance at getting to duals, we need to win these matches."