WELLSBORO - The head fake from Max Reed was quick, as is most everything else he does on the wrestling mat. It was subtle, yet still deliberate enough to make his opponent give a reaction.
Before his opponent could even finish reacting to the head fake, Reed, a sophomore 160-pounder at Lewisburg, had already dropped down to a knee and begun the process of scoring a first-period takedown. It was the flash of quickness and athleticism from Reed his coaches have seen for more than a year in the practice room.
The sophomore didn't need much time to pick up his 10th victory of the season in the midst of Lewisburg's 60-15 win over Wellsboro on Friday night, scoring a second-period fall. But he made the most of his 2 minutes, 46 seconds on the mat last night. He scored 10 points in the first period and added two more in the second before locking up a cradle for the fall against the Hornets' Jonathan Chambers.
Reed's season has been about opening up offensively and making the quickness, speed and athleticism which had his coaches so excited last year a common sight on the mat in competition. He improved to 10-0 last night with six falls.
"It's confidence," Lewisburg head coach Jim Snyder said. "He's letting that ability flow more. He's fun to watch. He's so quick and athletic and his confidence level is just through the roof."
This season has been a confluence of all the aspects of Reed's wrestling to make him a viable contender in District 4 at 160 pounds. Those flashes of brilliance the coaching staff raved about in the practice room a year ago are the norm.
The years of wrestling knowledge he's gained are being utilized along with his natural athletic abilities. They're natural abilities which made him one of Lewisburg's top offensive threats during soccer season. They're natural abilities which led him to being named a first-team all-conference kicker in the HAC-II. And they're natural abilities which helped him qualify for the District 4 track meet as a freshman where he finished ninth in the triple jump at just shy of 40 feet.
"I feel a lot more confident this year than I did last year. Last year I would get really nervous before matches," Reed said after his win last night. "This year I'm a lot more confident."
Snyder called Reed a "paper reader" during his freshman season and his intensity on the mat and confidence level would fluctuate based on who he was wrestling on a given night. There's none of that now. He hasn't appeared intimidated, even when bumping up a weight class to face tough competition.
In the Green Dragons' win over Milton earlier this year, Reed bumped up to face Black Panthers freshman Brandon Stokes, a strong, upper-body based wrestler. Reed completely controlled the bout with his speed, recording three takedowns, including one with a nifty ankle pick, to beat Stokes, 10-5.
Two nights later he bumped up a weight class and beat Montoursville district sixth-place finished Garrett Evans, 4-1, for maybe the best week of his varsity career. All the early-season success has only confirmed what his coaches have suspected since he stepped into the room, though: Max Reed has a world of potential.
"We forget sometimes he was wrestling 152 and 160 as a freshman and he won 22 matches," Snyder said. "His flashes of greatness were so good in the room that we actually expected a little more from him, and sometimes we had to sit back and say he's wrestling juniors and seniors, and as coaches we had to back down a bit."
"I feel like the biggest part of the athleticism that helps me is the speed," Reed said. "I really try to use that whenever I can. It usually proves to be helpful."
Snyder went out on a limb before the start of the season when he said Reed may be the best pure athlete in the Green Dragons' wrestling room. It's a statement that'll raise eyebrows when you consider it's a wrestling room that also has Brandon Smith, a three-sport stud. This is the same Brandon Smith who is a Division I recruit in football, was a second away from being in the state wrestling final last year, and then finished sixth in the state in the javelin.
But it's clearly the truth. Nobody on the Lewisburg wrestling team may have the pure quickness Reed does. And after beginning to take his wrestling a little more seriously during this past summer, it all seems to be coming together for Reed.
"If you ask him away from me, this is probably his third or fourth sport," Snyder said. "But we like where he's at. We really like where he's at."
106: Jordan Gessner, L, won by forfeit; 113: Brian Friery, L, pinned Tyler Evans, 2:49; 120: Dante Taylor, L, pinned Adam Cleveland, 4:41; 126: Nathaniel Ingerick, W, won by forfeit; 132: Double forfeit; 138: Andrew Fritchman, L, won by forfeit; 145: Logan Aikey, L, pinned Josh Kennjedy, 2:51; 152: Brandon Owlett, W, dec. Steven Gingher, 8-1; 160: Max Reed, L, pinned Jack Chambers, 2:46; 170: Nick Bernstein, L, pinned Trevin Hughes, :51; 182: Storm Brown, L, won by forfeit; 195: Chad Daugherty, W, pinned John Ward, :41; 220: Brandon Smith, L, pinned Eli Kennedy, :35; 285: Kyle Santorine, L, pinned Owen Covert, :39.
Records: Lewisburg (4-1); Wellsboro (0-4).