’Canes impress with third place finish
If you would have projected Liberty’s wrestling team to be a top three finisher this season, that would have been news to Jody Karam in the preseason.
The Hurricanes completed a 21-2 season on Saturday with a 30-18 victory over Northampton in the third place consolation of the District 11 3A tournament.
Yes, it fell short of one of the top two spots to qualify for Hershey and yes, everyone wants to come away from competition as champions, but Liberty’s wrestling team defeated Easton 39-20 in the consolation bracket and then knocked off Northampton on Saturday evening, giving them two wins against both, Easton and Northampton this season.
Outside of a 36-19 loss to Nazareth in Saturday’s semifinals, the Hurricanes showed everyone that Liberty wrestling, despite finishing third, might be the most impressive team of the season.
“Seven out of 14 kids never wrestled varsity until this year,” said Karam. “We have kids wrestling in their second year of the sport and they’re showing so much progress and they’re beating the Easton’s and Northampton’s of the world and the only teams to beat us are the #1 and #3 teams in the state.
“We probably could have done a better job against Nazareth, but they’re a better team and you got to respect them for what they did. We have nothing to be ashamed about and I’m proud of the kids.”
While Liberty has been able to fully thrust themselves in the conversation as one of the top teams in the area, being able to knock down Nazareth just wasn’t in the cards on Saturday, as they lost nine of 14 bouts, five coming courtesy of bonus points.
“I think there’s a mental hurdle when you take on a team like Nazareth,” said Karam. “You’re always going to deal with that and until you beat a team like that, you’re always going to deal with that.”
While the dual meet season might be over, Karam will prep his team for the individual postseason roughly two weeks from now, but he still has hopes to qualify the team for the state tournament in the near future.
And if this season was an example of Liberty continuing to build, they just may knock on that door a year from now.
“It’s my dream to get this team to the state tournament and I want to do that with this group next year,” said Karam. “To even have us in the conversation with Nazareth this year wasn’t what we expected. Coming into the year we were probably a top five or six team, but to finish third is a great accomplishment.”