Hawks win team title in Hershey
Ryan Anderson is no stranger to a smile or having fun.
On Saturday night in Hershey, Anderson was able to do both of those things after winning his second-straight state championship at the PIAA 3A wrestling tournament.
Anderson was the lone gold medalist for the Hawks on the night, as Kenny Herrmann made a run to the finals but lost to Northampton’s stalwart Julian Chlebove. The pair helped push Becahi to the team title with 93 points and closed an eventful season for the program in customary fashion - as champions.
Anderson, a senior, topped Council Rock North’s Cam Robinson 3-2 in their 145-pound championship, displaying a stark contrast in size between both wrestlers with Robinson having at least a six-inch height difference on the Becahi champion.
Anderson’s takedown in the first period off a fireman’s carry proved to be the decisive points in the finals and wrapped up his Becahi career with a 126-13 record, as he now moves on to Iowa State for his next journey on the mats.
“He [Robinson] is so hard to score points on,” said Anderson. “That fireman paid off. I barely hit it all year and it came at the right time. I was mainly working on snap and spins, because I haven’t been able to hit my fireman, but it came out of the blue.”
Becahi head coach Jeff Karam knew Anderson always had the ability to win back-to-back state titles, but also recognized the difficulty of the matter.
“He’s a great young man,” said Karam. “Guys love him and it’s been fun to have him on the team. He’ll always put a smile on your face and he makes you realize that they’re only high school kids, but it’s always hard to come back and win. The last couple weeks were not his best and he had to adjust to guys because everyone was adjusting to him. So, for him to come out and win this again is a testament to his ability and I’m just real proud of him.”
Herrmann had the unfortunate matchup with the buzz saw that’s Chlebove, as the Arizona State commit topped the Becahi junior the third time in as many weeks with a 6-2 decision. It’s the seventh-straight win that Chlebove has registered over Herrmann and while that stat might be deflating, it also shows the level that Herrmann is on to be able to compete with Chlebove so many times.
“Whenever you lose in state finals you get lost in the shuffle but Kenny wrestled great,” said Karam. “Unfortunately he had Chlebove, but he’ll be a favorite to win it next year. He’s had a great run this postseason.”
The Hawks had seven wrestlers reach Hershey with five coming home with medals including Matt Mayer (113, fourth), Cole Handlovic (152, fourth) and Luca Frinzi (160, fourth).
With Karam entering the fold back as head coach in early January following the firing of Rick Thompson, you could say that this season had it’s share of ups and downs for the program, but ultimately the Hawks finished on top.
Karam still isn’t sure what the future holds for him next season with the program, but he just wanted to enjoy one last night in Hershey.
“I’m thankful for the year we had,” he said. “I’ll cherish this for now but we’ll sit down with the school and talk about how things are going to move forward. It’s been a very rewarding year. I love those kids and I’m thankful with how they responded with the coaching change. I think them being comfortable and knowing me definitely benefited. Wrestling is just like any other sport and we hit our momentum at the right time and we rode it.”
Anderson rode it to another individual title and despite his penchant for always being upbeat, he recognized the finality of the moment too.
“It’s a little sad with this being my senior season and that was my last match,” Anderson said. “It’s been a run.”