Muncy’s Nixon settles for sixth

HERSHEY – Dakota Nixon wasn’t nearly happy with the way he wrestled his final three matches at the PIAA Wrestling Championships. They were the complete opposite of the two wins he posted in the first two rounds to guarantee himself a state medal.

The Muncy junior walked out of the Giant Center with a sixth-place finish at 145 pounds, his first state medal. He also extended Muncy’s run of having a state placewinner each year for the past seven seasons. It’s a streak bettered in District 4 only by Milton.

“It means a lot to place, but the last two days I’m just not happy at all,” Nixon said. “One positive thing to get out is it’s fuel for next year.”

Nixon was so unhappy with his three consecutive losses to close out his tournament that he plans on heading to the practice room today to begin his work on next season. He also plans on spending time with the Benton Tiger Wrestling Club to help fine-tune some aspects of his wrestling.

Nixon earned himself a medal by winning his quarterfinal match Friday morning. But he was sent to the consolation bracket by Kittanning’s Jason Nolf with a second-period fall. Nolf went on to win his third state title Saturday.

Nixon never got his offense going again. He score just two combined points in his two consolation losses.

“I haven’t felt comfortable the last two days and I don’t know why,” Nixon said. “It’s real frustrating. This tournament is a long, hard tournament. It’s basically a war out there. I didn’t expect it to be this long. It’s a hard tournament.”

Montgomery’s Isaiah Bobotas and Kyle Drick shared the final match disappointments with Nixon. Bobotas lost in his third-place consolation, 2-1 in the tie-breaker to Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds to finish fourth at 182 pounds.

Drick, wrestling in his first state tournament, lost 7-2 to take eighth place at 113 pounds. Drick and Bobotas became the first Montgomery teammates to place at states in the same year since Jaryd Steinbacher and Kyle Mowrey took fourth and seventh in 2005. Mowrey is now Montgomery’s head coach.

“Isaiah has a lot of natural talent and he really picked it up at the end of the season,” Drick said. “Everyone in our room is working hard. If they just keep it up, we can continue this tradition.”

Bobotas suffered his first loss of the season in Friday’s semifinal round, losing to Bethlehem Catholic’s Jose Ortiz, 3-0. Bobotas had cruised to titles at districts and regionals, and he won his first two matches at states by a combined 14-8.

His fourth-place finish was his first state medal.

“I was right there and I think third is a big step up from fourth, so that was what I wanted,” Bobotas said. “But I wanted to be on the podium my whole life and I’m finally there. So it’s a good thing.”

Bobotas said his performance in the postseason has got him re-thinking his decision not to wrestle in college. He feels like he’s capable of even more than he showed during his stellar postseason run.

“I feel like I could be better with the talent I have,” Bobotas said. “It’s made me think a lot the last few weeks. I think I’m going to continue to wrestle and see how good I can get.”

Drick took some time after coming off the mat from his seventh-place consolation match loss to think about just what he had accomplished and began to see the positive in what he did. He was a wrestler who had won just one match total in the previous two district tournaments. But he beat returning state qualifier Ethan Calkins in the regional semifinals to claim his first trip to states, and carried that momentum into a state medal.

“Now that I think about it, I’m top eight in the state, so I’m just happy I got a medal,” Drick said. “Wrestling those guys at districts and regionals really helped me. They’ve been (in Hershey) before, so they gave me a taste of what it’s like.”

Central Mountain’s Chad Reese tried to put his Class AAA 160-pound eighth-place finish into a positive light Saturday, but he just couldn’t hide his disappointment. He was beaten with double-leg takedowns yesterday, losing in the consolation quarterfinals, and then again in the seventh-place consolations by a combined three points.

So even though he became the Wildcats’ first state placewinner since Brian Brill took second in 2012, it wasn’t good enough.

“I either didn’t wrestle my best or I’m just not good enough,” Reese said. “I’m defintiely disappointed because it ends my career. I don’t know if it’s just my personality because I’m competitive or what. Some people look at it differently, but I’m just never satisfied.”