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Drick's big day lands him in semis

February 21, 2014 - Mitch Rupert
The District 4 tournament hasn't been kind to Kyle Drick in his career. In two trips to the tournament he's won a grand total of one match, despite coming in as a 20-match winner both times.

All that didn't matter to the Montgomery senior when he stepped on the line Friday night at Williamsport High School, though. It's a different year and he's a different wrestler.

Drick won a pair of matches at 113 pounds to put himself into this morning's Class AA semifinals. He was one of 26 wrestlers to advance to this morning's semifinals. The first round of consolations begin this morning at 8:30, with the semifinals set for 10 a.m. at the Magic Dome. Championship finals are scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

“I've definitely got a lot of confidence now coming in and winning the first two matches,” Drick said. “Now I just gotta keep it rolling from here and keep wrestling hard in every position.”

Drick's two wins last night were more than he had won in his career at the district tournament. His only win came last year in the first round of consolations in an 8-2 win over Central Columbia's Trystan Johnson. But Drick put together two great matches last night to triple his career win total at the district tournament.

He opened with a 16-0 technical fall in 4 minutes, 28 seconds against Muncy freshman Jesse Aguilar. But it was the 6-4 win over Midd-West's Corey Stauffer which was his best performance. Stauffer is a returning regional fourth-place finisher who missed the state tournament by just one win a year ago.

“I was kind of glad I ended up having that first match just to get my body warmed up,” Drick said.

Drick said he proved to himself he could win on this level two weeks ago when he beat Warrior Run state qualifier Eric Hunt in Montgomery's final dual meet of the season, 1-0. It was the kind of signature win Drick had lacked in his career.

But it's those signature-type wins, like the 6-4 decision over Stauffer last night, which he'll need to place in the District 4 meet for the first time.

“Winning those tough matches show how hard you have to work to win these matches,” said Drick, who improved to 80-16 in his career.

Drick is much stronger than he has been in the past. He devoted himself in the offseason to lifting weights, and still does through the course of the season. He finally grew out of the 106-pound weight class he manned for the last two season.

Now he's comfortable with his weight at 113 and said he doesn't have to cut too much weight to get there. Drick will face returning state placewinner Cameron Newman of Line Mountain in the semifinals this morning. Newman was responsible for one of Drick's two losses in the district tournament last year when he beat Drick, 6-1, in the consolations.

“I think that gives you confidence when your gas tank is just going and going and going and you're not giving anything up,” Drick said. “I can definitely notice the difference with any kid I wrestle.”

Milton's Brandon Stokes was one of three Black Panthers to advance to this morning's semifinals when he pulled out a 2-1 win over Montgomery's Tyler Betz at 195 pounds. Stokes said he was elated to even get a shot to wrestle in the district tournament.

In Milton's first tournament of the new year, Stokes suffered a bad break of his collarbone. His immediate thoughts were that his season was done and he'd be going right into baseball season once the break finally healed.

But only a couple weeks after the injury, he was back to working out, and just over a month after the injury, he wrestled and finished second in the Falcon Invitational at Salisbury. That was the moment Stokes knew he was going to be OK and he would be able to wrestle the way he wanted to.

“I feel like I'm back to wrestling the style I want to wrestle,” said Stokes, a sophomore. “It's good to get back into this tournament. My whole collarbone was blown apart. I was elated to even be in this tournament after what I went through.”

Stokes faces Benton's Logan Womelsdorf, a returning state qualifier, in the morning's semifinal round. It'll likely be a match much like his 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Betz in which he had to come back from a 1-0 deficit.

“I just have to set my mind to the task at hand,” Stokes said. “I feel that if I can go out there and do that, I'll be good as long as I can hit my main stuff.”

Williamson junior Billy Barnes continued his undefeated run through the season with a fall over Wellsboro's Brandon Owlett in 1:35 in the 145-pound quarterfinals. It was the 100th career win for the Warriors' junior who improved to 100-10 in his career.

 
 

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