MILL HALL - Experience.
You can't put a price on it.
For Central Mountain head coach Doug Buckwalter, he turned to two guys to provide the senior leadership from Cole Hanley and Blaze Buckwalter.
Colton Killion of Jersey Shore, orange, takes down Parkland’s Tom Yankanich in their 126-pound first-round bout Friday at Central Mountain. Killion won, 6-4.
The two lone seniors in the Wildcat lineup have been through the rigors of King of the Mountain before. They know what it takes to be successful - as an individual and as a team.
"It helps a lot because King of the Mountain is a long tournament," Blaze Buckwalter said. "The experience helps a lot with the mental side of it and knowing that you can't overlook anyone in the bracket. I think it is important to build our own confidence and theirs at the same time."
Look at their first rounds.
Hanley was cruising in his opening-round 132 pound match with Boyertown's Ty Miller - leading 5-1 heading into the third. With a sense of urgency, the senior Wildcat racked up three takedowns in the final period to secure an 11-3 major decision.
Blaze Buckwalter fell into the same theme, completing controlling his match to secure his 12-3 major decision.
Blaze Buckwalter led a trio of Wildcats into the quarterfinals.
The Wildcat senior followed up his major decision with a first period fall over Jack McGillick of Penn Trafford. He will face Allentown Dieruff's Jovon Reyes today in the quarterfinals at 195.
Sophomore Gavin Caprio battled his way into the quarterfinals of 160 - picking up a 6-2 opening-round victory over Bellefonte's Dillon Kephart, before pinning South Western's Zach Osborne in the second round. Caprio will face Cole Shirey of Red Bank Valley in the quarterfinals.
Junior 220-pounder Cameron Porter received a first-round bye and pinned Greater Latrobe's Dylan Davis in the second period - securing his round of 16 meeting with second seed, Aram Moffitt of South Western.
Three quarterfinalists, three falls.
"We went through the first round without a fall," coach Buckwalter said. "I don't remember any Central Mountain team not picking up a fall in the opening round of any tournament. It felt good to see us get three falls in the second round. We are starting to bounce back. We got to get back to getting bonus points."
While Caprio, Blaze Buckwalter and Porter are the three still in the championship bracket, the other Wildcats are battling through this difficult tournament.
For the rest of the Wildcats, Friday was not as kind.
In his second round match, Hanley matched up with a familiar foe in Mifflin County's Lucas Besch. Besch managed to get the best of the battle this time, picking up a 3-1 decision over Hanley.
Dropping into the consolations, the senior Wildcat picked up a fall in the second round, before dropping a 5-2 decision to Grady Millick of Parkland.
Bryce Hanley, a fill-in at 285 for Caleb Stover, showed the home crowd he was there to compete, going out in the first round and earning a 9-4 decision over Cumberland Valley's Jackson Stanford. In his second round match, he faced Biglerville's Trevor Stover. Bryce Hanley took the battle to the fourth-seeded Trevor Stover and never back down. While he came up short on the scoreboard, the Wildcat sophomore caught the eye of coach Buckwalter.
The sophomore then picked up another win in a 4-3 overtime victory, before losing to Big Spring's Calvin Barrick in the consolations.
"Bryce is one of those kids you can't help but like," coach Buckwalter said. "He came in at the beginning at the season and worked hard. This week he got his chance with Caleb unable to wrestle. He is improving and has a great attitude. I think he is going to be a great heavyweight for us in the years to come."
Keanan Bottorf, the other Wildcat to reach to the second round, picked up an opening round tech. fall over Cumberland Valley's Sam Horning, 15-0 in 5 minutes and 35 seconds. Bottorf fell to Line Mountain's Cameron Newman in the second round, 5-2. In the consis, Bottorf lost to North Hunterdon's Derek Ciavarro, 9-5.
After dropping a tough opening round match Chris Confer managed to rattle off two falls in the consis, before ultimately losing to Phillipsburg's Brandon Paetzell in the third round of the consolations.
"With this tournament, you have to be ready every time you step on the mat - whether it is the first round or the finals. I know our guys want to be here and do well. We are wrestling hard right now, just a little overmatched at this point in the year. We need to be more aggressive, but I think that is a matter of confidence. That will come with time and success."
Elsewhere, Jersey Shore advanced four wrestlers through the championship found of 32, but all four lost in the next round.
Advancing with wins in their initial bouts of the tourney were Colton Killion (126), Zak Herman (145) and Nate Caputo (220) while Colton Winchester received a first-round bye.
Killion defeated Tom Yankanich of Parkland 6-4, Herman defeated Ken Collins of Bedford 8-1 and Caputo nipped Chance Williams of Bedford for a 3-2 win.
In the Round of 16, Killion was pinned by Will Koll of Lansing in 4:23, Herman fell 8-1 to Ty Haines of Redbank Valley, Caputo lost a barnburner to Omar Haddad in a 10-9 final and Winchester was pinned in 2:31 by Shaun Heist of Parkland.