HERSHEY - Central Mountain proved it belonged at the PIAA Duals Class AAA tournament in Hershey on Thursday night before falling a little short to Parkland, 33-27.
The loss puts Central Mountain (13-1) against District 3's Cumberland Valley, which fell 29-28 to North Allegheny.
"We needed to believe that we belonged down here and could wrestle with these teams," Central Mountain coach Doug Buckwalter said. "We gave Parkland a good battle. We were right with them and split bouts."
Central Mountain pushed Parkland in every bout and the Wildcat youngsters picked up some wins.
Geo Barzona recorded a 17-0 technical fall at 106 pounds over Nick Bauer for Central Mountain's first points of the match.
After a fall to open at 220 and Omar Haddad's 1-0 win over Bryce Hanley at 285, Barzona's points couldn't have come at a better time.
"If they didn't beforehand, I hope they believe they can wrestle with anybody," Buckwalter said. "Geo is just a great person, who has worked hard and earned everything he has out on the mat."
Colton Weaver, another freshman making his debut at the Giant Center, wrestled hard for Central Mountain at 132 pounds.
Weaver opened the first period with a takedown for a 2-0 lead. Jared Hasan fought back for an escape in the third period, but a late Weaver takedown sealed the 5-1 win for the freshman.
"I was very proud of Geo and I was very proud of another freshman in Colton," Buckwalter said. "You just don't know how they are going to react walking into this arena for the first time. They both reacted very well and went out and performed for us."
Other winners for Central Mountain were Demetri Probst (145), Emery Watson (138), Chad Reese (160) and Gavin Caprio (170).
Probst was a 3-0 winner over Nathan Christman. Watson scored a late takedown to defeat Rob Wetherfold, 7-4. Reese cruised to a 10-2 major decision over Billy Hoh. Caprio won 3-1 over Frank Guida.
The Wildcats will have little time to dwell on the loss as they open up today at 10 a.m. against Cumberland Valley.
"We just need to believe in ourselves and come back and fight," Buckwalter said. "We need to just come back with good attitudes and believe we can wrestle."
220: Nezar Haddad, P, pinned Cameron Porter, 1:43; 285: Omar Haddad, P, dec. Bryce Hanley, 2-0; 106: Geo Barzona, CM, tech. fall Nick Bauer, 17-0; 5:59; 113: Jacob Lizak, P, pinned Chris Confer, 1:24; 120: Ethan Lizak, P, pinned Draven King, 0:56; 126: Lee Todora, P, dec. Keanan Bottorf, 3-0; 132: Colton Weaver, CM, dec. Jareed Hasan, 5-1; 138: Emery Watson, CM, dec. Rob Wetherhold, 7-4; 145: Demetri Probst, CM, dec. Nathan Christman, 3-0; 152: Josh Ortmanm, P, pinned Caleb Turner, 1:53; 160: Chad Reese, CM, dec. Billy Hoh,10-2; 170: Gavin Caprio, CM, dec. Frank Guida, 3-1; 182: Marques Sturdivant, P, dec. Isaac Porter, 11-10; 195: Nick Miller, CM, pinned Rahmeir Thompson, 3:27
Records: Central Mountain 13-1. Parkland 18-2.