Black Panthers’ Preisch still looking ahead

Ryan Preisch wouldn’t even let the question be asked of him. He wasn’t going to talk about his last three weeks and the remarkable run he’s made to being a sectional, district and regional champion.

Those accomplishments are nice for the Milton senior 152-pounder. They’re not his goal, though. As good as the last three weeks have been as he’s manhandled Southern Columbia freshman Blake Marks, and then on Saturday added a 1-0 win over Hughesville returning state runner-up Kyle Barnes, they’re merely the mile markers in the marathon of a postseason run.

“I gotta make it four (good weeks),” Preisch said Saturday night after winning his first regional title. “I’m not happy, or satisfied. I’m ready to stand on the top at Hershey. I’ve been training since last March for this.”

Saturday was the final test in his preparation to see if he was ready to make that kind of deep run in the state tournament. He realized quickly last year his mistake of just being happy to get to Hershey which eventually had him leaving the Giant Center empty handed and triggering his rigorous training that has spanned the last year.

He’s progressively made point after exaggerated point through the three weeks of the postseason he wasn’t going to be satisfied with just getting back to Hershey. First, it was a 9-1 win over Marks in the South Sectional final. Then it was a repeat performance last week in the district final. And finally it was yesterday’s 1-0 win over Barnes in which he put together a sublime performance which left no doubt of the outcome, even if it was just 1-0.

He got in deep on a pair of shots on Barnes and just wasn’t able to finish. Then it was a four-second escape in the second period before a bullish two-minute ride on top in the third period.

He exercised his strength by numerous times lifting Barnes off the mat and returning him flat, forcing the reigning regional champion back to square one. Then he ran more than 30 seconds off the clock when he was able to get a leg ride locked in, all but immobilizing Barnes.

“(Barnes) doesn’t open up as much (as Marks), so it’s harder to capitalize on mistakes because he doesn’t make any,” said Preisch. “I wanted to get a takedown or two. I was hoping to get a turn in when I got legs in, but we went out of bounds. I felt pretty good, especially riding on top.”

The smile he flashed under that mop top of curly hair constantly Saturday night wasn’t one of satisfaction or of content. Instead it said ‘Wait until what I show what I still have in store’.

“I feel like everything is coming together at the right time,” he said. “I’m ready. I want to go down there and make a deep, deep run.”