TURBOTVILLE -When Warrior Run's Masen Wagner surrendered a second-period escape to North Penn's Lucas Groover on Wednesday night, he stole a quick glance at the scoreboard. It surprised him a little when he saw the nine and three staring back at him.
Wagner remembered being taken down and put on his back twice during the first period and allowing the second-period escape. The end result, him trailing 9-3 at the time, just didn't click until he saw those numbers in bright-colored lights. Those digits hit home a little harder than the official's fingers that recorded Groover's nine points through two-plus minutes of wrestling.
Wagner made those numbers a moot point, however, with a second-period fall and Warrior Run cruised into the District 4 Class AA Duals quarterfinals with a 67-6 win over the Panthers.
Dan Breech of Warrior Run takes down Robert Minnich of North Penn in their 170-pound bout Wednesday at Warrior Run. Breech won, 6-4 in OT.
"I happened to look at the scoreboard and I said, 'Oh my goodness, it's 9 to 3 right now, I guess I better start wrestling,'" Wagner said. "Once we were at neutral, I just kept pushing and pushing until I finally saw an opening and tried the dump that I've been working on in practice and it worked."
Wagner, who is new to the varsity lineup this season, soon dumped Groover to his back and sealed the fall with nine seconds remaining in the second period. It was the junior's 12th win of the season. Warrior Run had built a 27-0 lead through five matches before Wagner's match at 145 pounds.
"We have a little joke around the team that nobody wants to be 'that' kid," Wagner said. "When I'm on my back I try to fight as much as I can, and once I get off my back I fight back. I don't care what the score is."
His Defender teammates will have to carry that sentiment into Saturday's District 4 Class AA Duals quarterfinals at Milton. Warrior Run (13-3) will wrestle No. 7 seed Benton, a team that handlely beat the Defenders on Dec. 20, 53-21. Warrior Run will have a healthier lineup on Saturday, but may still be considered an underdog despite holding the No. 2 seed.
"We're looking forward to it, and I'm sure they are looking forward to it, too, and that is what will make it a good match," Warrior Run coach Wayne Smythe said. "It's an opportunity to correct what was done earlier. We didn't think we necessarily did as well in that match as we're capable of and now we'll see whether we're right or not."
Smythe watched his team collect six falls, three forfeits, a major decision and three decisions last night. The Defenders led the No. 15 seed Panthers 61-0 with two bouts remaining before Nate Kriner, a 2012 Northeast Regional qualifier, turned Austin Fiedler in the second period for the Panthers' only points of the night at 285 pounds.
The win was the 25th for Kriner and it came against Fiedler who was 18-4 entering last night.
"I thought we matched up well with Warrior Run," said North Penn coach Craig Pequignot, whose team qualified for the tournament with a 9-9 record after a one-point win over Sullivan County. "Obviously, I thought they had the upper hand in a lot of the matchups but we weren't outmatched in any match. It was good to wrestle a team their caliber to know where we stand for the postseason. We wrestled some kids that we are probably going to see later on down the road, so it was a good matchup."
Two wrestlers that could meet in Williamsport in a few weeks at the individual district tournament are Warrior Run's Dan Breech and North Penn's Robert Minnich. Their matchup at 170 pounds was the only bout featuring a pair of 20-win wrestlers last night. Breech picked up the victory with an overtime takedown with two seconds remaining. Breech trailed Minnich, who like Breech had just three losses entering last night, 3-1 before a third-period escape and takedown gave the Defenders' junior a 4-3 lead. Minnich tied the score with an escape with 1:04 left in the final period before the test of wills took place and wasn't decided until 58 seconds into the extra period when Breech spun around Minnich with the winning takedown in front of the Warrior Run bench.
"It's always good to meet that competition and see where you are," Smythe said. "We saw some things we liked and some things we need to work on, but that is always the case."
113: Eric Hunt, WR, won by forfeit; 120: Tyler Hornberger, WR, pinned Sean Kshir 3:29; 126: Brian LeBarron, WR, won by forfeit; 132: Brandon Giannantonio, WR, dec. Brad Pequignot 9-6; 138: Doug McCarty, WR, pinned Devin Remley 1:06; 145: Masen Wagner, WR, pinned Lucas Groover 3:51; 152: Elias George, WR, maj. dec. CJ Sargent 12-4; 160: Nick Rohm, WR, pinned Ben Jackson 1:11; 170: Dan Breech, WR, dec. Robert Minnich 6-4, OT; 182: Garrett Moser, WR, won by forfeit; 195: Hunter Stroup, WR, dec. Ben Wilson 7-4; 220: Matt Kilgus, WR, pinned Zach Kriner 3:24; 285: Nate Kriner, NP, pinned Austin Fiedler 2:48; 106: Zack LeBarron, WR, pinned Sean Giles 3:15.
Records: Warrior Run 13-3, North Penn 9-10. Next: Warrior Run vs. Benton at District Duals quarterfinals, Milton; North Penn vs. Sayre (tonight).