Bethlehem Press

Monday, March 18, 2019
Liberty’s Damen Moyer takes on Quakertown’s Max Russell in the early rounds of states. Moyer finished sixth. Liberty’s Damen Moyer takes on Quakertown’s Max Russell in the early rounds of states. Moyer finished sixth.
Press photos by Bob FordLiberty’s Mike Torres wrestles West Chester Rustin’s Josh Viarengo. Torres took eighth place at states. Press photos by Bob FordLiberty’s Mike Torres wrestles West Chester Rustin’s Josh Viarengo. Torres took eighth place at states.

Moyer, Torres bring home state medals

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

Damen Moyer waited years for the opportunity to come home from Hershey with a medal and the Liberty senior finally made that dream a reality Saturday night in Hershey in the championship round of the PIAA 3A wrestling tournament.

Moyer joined Mikey Torres atop the podium for the Hurricanes as the two medalists from this year’s tournament, as the Hurricanes advanced seven wrestlers into the gauntlet at the Giant Center.

Moyer, who was making his third state tournament appearance, was determined to not leave Hershey again without any hardware and cemented his status by reaching the 195-pound semifinals.

After pinning his first two opponents of the tournament to reach the semis, his momentous run in the tournament came to an end there in a close, 4-3 loss to Cedar Cliff’s Donovan Ball.

From there, Moyer wouldn’t register another victory in the tournament, as he suffered a 6-0 letdown to State College’s Cole Urbas in the consolation semis and then fell to Northeast’s Jameel Coles by a 3-1 decision in the medal round to settle for sixth place.

Losing to Coles, who he defeated in the regional finals, may have been an ending he didn’t want to endure, but closing his Liberty wrestling career with a medal at Hershey still surpassed the disappointment he may have felt after three straight losses to end the tournament.

“My main goal the whole year was to be a state place winner and I’m here now,” said Moyer. “I was motivated to come out here after not being able to medal the past two years and losing in the blood rounds. It just feels great to actually get a medal at states. It’s just awesome.”

Torres closed out his career with a similar sentiment as Moyer, as the senior took eighth place at 120 after not qualifying for regionals the past two years.

Torres lost in the medal round by fall in 2:45 to Council Rock South’s Brandon Ricchini, but was thrilled to enjoy the moment of being recognized as one of the best wrestlers in Pennsylvania by coming home with a medal.

“I got injured after team districts and I wasn’t even expecting to get out of regionals to be honest,” Torres said. “To just get out here and then place at states is amazing to me. I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I didn’t really expect to place out here and it’s just amazing to me.”

Liberty finished tied for 18th in the team standings with 31 points, as they brought half their lineup to Hershey including Connor Werner (106), Tal-Reese Flemming (113), Matt Maloney (120), Travis Brown (132) and Jaden Freeman (HWT).

With the exception of Werner, who is a sophomore, the Hurricanes will graduate the rest of their Hershey contingent. That will certainly present a difficult challenge to fill nearly half the lineup of state qualifying wrestlers, but Liberty’s program has continued to churn out dedicated athletes every year and it is part of the reason they were able to send so many to Hershey in the first place.

“Me and the team set goals for ourselves since we had 10 seniors in the lineup and we all wanted to make it to states,” Torres said. “We got seven out here and to be able to push each other hard all year and be out here is what this was all about.”