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Treibley making impact at heavyweight as freshman

Locked in a tie-up, Waverly’s Trent Skeens had his hands wrapped around the back of the neck of Meadowbrook Christian’s Gunner Treibley. With no wind-up, Skeens tried to snap Treibley to the mat.

Avoiding the snap, Treibley ducked out of the tie-up and, in the same motion, shot in on a single-leg takedown attempt. Even though he wasn’t able to completely grasp Skeens’ left leg, the seconds-long sequence showcased the athleticism and mat savvy which have made Treibley one of the more impressive freshmen in District 4 this season.

What makes his 17-5 record all the more impressive is Treibley is doing it at the 285-pound weight class. Not many freshmen have the impact on the weight class which Treibley has already had, but he’s not concerned by the history of wrestlers his age at his weight class. He’s not concerned about the 8-ball he’s behind wrestling in a mature weight class. He just wants to compete.

And so far, he’s done just that. Meadowbrook, with just three wrestlers on its roster, has competed in nothing but tournaments this year. But Treibley has made deep runs into tournaments the norm. He was fourth at the DKI in the season’s opening weekend. He took fourth at the X-Calibur Tournament hosted by Wyoming Seminary. He was second at the Jim Thorpe Tournament before taking first at South Williamsport and at the Matness at the MACC last weekend.

“Kids come out with an attitude thinking just because they’re older, stronger and faster that they’ll win,” Treibley said. “But it’s all about what you have in your heart. It’s not about how much you weigh or how old you are. It’s about what’s inside you and how much you put into the sport.”

Treibley looks the part of a heavyweight. His size makes him fit in with even the oldest, most veteran heavyweights in the state. His strength allows him to throw around his opponents when necessary. His quickness belies his size.

All of that together makes him the kind of heavyweight who has appeared in PA Power Wrestling’s state rankings this year, even if he’s not currently there in the website’s latest iteration. The only inkling a fan might have about his age is a look into his baby face. But don’t be fooled by his youthful look or his welcoming smile, Treibley is not afraid of the physicality of the sport. He’s not afraid to mix it up with the hand-fighting. He knows it’s what he needs to survive in a man’s weight class.

“I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but I think it’s necessary for winning,” Treibley said. “I think part of it is pain infliction and how much pain you can inflict on somebody.”

In his 22 matches this season, Treibley has faced 11 seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. He’s a combined 5-0 against freshmen and sophomores. He’s 12-5 against juniors and seniors.

Treibley is currently the eighth-ranked heavyweight in the Northeast Region in Class AA. He’s faced just two of the region’s other ranked heavyweights, losing to Mount Carmel’s Austin Reed at the DKI, and beating Central Columbia’s Alex Eveland in the same tournament. He’s one of two freshmen in the region rankings, joining Mifflinburg’s Emannuel Ulrich.

To understand how difficult it is for freshmen to succeed at heavyweight, consider that since 1976, when the PIAA went to the Class AA and Class AAA fields in wrestling, only one freshman has placed at heavyweight or unlimited in Class AA. That was Delone Catholic’s Tony Koontz, who finished second in 1981 and was eventually a two-time state champion. In Class AAA, only three freshman have reached the podium at heavyweight or unlimited: Susquehannock’s Adam LoPiccolo in 2000, Abington Heights’ Evan Craig in 2007, and Cathedral Prep’s Kawaun Deboe in 2016.

And other than those four placewinners, only six other freshmen have even qualified for states in heavyweight or unlimited. None of that particularly matters to Treibley. He’s confident in himself and confident in his training, and it shows in the way he wrestles. He does his best to dictate how the match is going to go. He tries to work the offense he wants to work. And he’s got the tools to do those things.

“You can’t let them get to their moves,” Treibley said. “That’s how they’re going to score. So get out there and do your own thing and get off the mat.”

Treibley looks at the first six weeks of the season as a gauge for just where he is. But he’s not letting it affect the rest of his season. He’s still working toward the postseason where the ups and downs of the season helps prepare him to make a run.

“If I lose to someone who might be ranked in the state, it doesn’t dictate what is going to happen when I wrestle someone else,” Treibley said. “It just means next time I have to wrestle better and I have to put in more time and work.”

BACK AND BETTER

Devon Deem knew he wasn’t 100% healthy, but he tried to wrestle anyway. Halfway through the Tunkhannock Holiday Tournament, the Montgomery sophomore couldn’t wrestle anymore. His back had become too painful, so he injury defaulted in a match with Western Wayne regional qualifier Matthew Leslie and forfeited of the rest of the tournament.

A trip to the chiropractor opened Deem’s eyes to just why he was in so much pain. Vertebra by vertebra, the doctor went down Deem’s back and told him each one was out of place. He also had four pinched nerves.

“It had been out for a while, and my dad had been telling me that if you’re not 100%, don’t go,” Deem said after winning the 152-pound title at the Matness at the MACC last weekend. “He was right. I should have waited until I was 100%. But I’m back now and I’m feeling better.”

It took a couple trips to the chiropractor to work out the issues in his back, but Deem’s return had him looking like the state-ranked wrestler he is. He was pushed in a pair of matches, wrestling a hard six minutes against Sayre’s Jacob Bennett before pulling away late for a 14-5 major decision. And Jersey Shore’s Tyler Bauder forced Deem into another hard six minutes before the sophomore won, 9-3, to take the 152-pound title.

Deem was the lone Red Raider to win a title in the first year of the school’s tournament.

“Every which I would turn, it was like someone was taking a knife down my back before,” Deem said. “But I feel a lot better now. And this tournament was a good eye-opener for me for the competition and about keeping my head on straight.”

Deem is the best wrestler on a team which has clinched a spot in the District 4 Duals. And he showcased just how far he’s come when he beat Muncy’s Christian Good, a former state qualifier who is ranked ninth in the state at 152 pounds. That win came two days after a 4-3 loss to Hughesville three-time state qualifier Luke Gorg.

But it’s all about the preparation to make another postseason run. And if Deem is wrestling at that level and is completely healthy, as he appears to be, he’s going to be continue to be dangerous moving forward.

“I’m still getting back in the groove,” Deem said. “But I’m starting to feel a lot more confident.”

HUNTING WINS

Noah Hunt’s loss to Muncy’s Jacob Blair in mid-December was eye-opening for two reasons. First, it signaled the Indians’ senior might be even better than he was when he placed in the state tournament three years ago. But it also raised questions about Hunt, Warrior Run’s three-time state qualifier, and just where he might be.

But don’t worry. As Hunt has tended to do during his career, he took that lopsided 17-2 technical fall loss and responded with a rally of wins afterward. Now, the senior is 16-6 this year and appears to have found his confidence.

“I just think it was a bad match,” Warrior Run coach Jeremy Betz said. “A lot of that is mental. He’s wrestled (Blair) so many times and he’s been close and he’s been beaten badly by him. But he’s been wrestling really well ever since. He’s been wrestling with a lot of confidence.”

Hunt is 9-2 since that loss to Blair. Included in that run is an 8-7 win over Southern Columbia state runner-up Kole Biscoe. His only losses since the Blair match came at the Trojan Wars where he lost to state sixth-place finisher Adam Jacob of East Pennsboro, and to Cumberland Valley’s Class AAA state-ranked Gabriel Belga.

Also during that time, eight of his nine wins have earned bonus points, including a major decision against state-ranked Troy Bingaman of Mifflinburg.

“He’s one of our leaders in takedowns, and based on what he’s done in the past you expect him to go out and open it up and get takedowns,” Betz said. “But he’s been focused on getting his tilts and getting his turns and opening up the match that way, and he’s looked good doing it.”

WRESTLER OF THE WEEK

Bryce Vollman, Muncy

(132 pounds)

The junior recorded one of the better area wins of the week when he defeated Southern Columbia state qualifier Ian Yoder last week in a dual meet. But he followed it up with an even better win against Line Mountain state qualifier Mason Leshock three days later. Vollman, who is ranked seventh in the state at 132, defeated Yoder, 2-0, during their dual meet with Southern. But he got a much-needed bonus point against Leshock with nine points scored in the third period for a 15-4 major decision, which helped the Indians knocked off previously unbeaten and then 17th-ranked Line Mountain.

CAN’T-MISS

MATCH OF THE WEEK

Towanda at Canton, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

You can’t beat the atmosphere of a great Northern Tier League dual, and this promises not to disappoint. Canton can clinch at least a share of the NTL title with a win. And with two wins next week (they wrestle Troy on Thursday) the Warriors win the outright NTL title. Canton responded from its lone loss to Montoursville a week ago by earning a last-bout win against Athens last Tuesday in what could be a defacto league title match. Despite being 20-4, Hayden Ward is not among the state’s Top 25 at 132 pounds, but make no mistake, he’s going to be a factor there come February.

MITCH RUPERT’S WRESTLING RANKINGS

106 POUNDS

1. Branden Wentzel, Montoursville

2. Cade Wirnsberger, Meadowbrook Christian

3. Gino Serafini, Central Mountain

4. Cael Nasdeo, Williamsport

5. Bobby Gardner, South Williamsport

113 POUNDS

1. Scott Johnson, Muncy

2. Derek Keen, Central Mountain

3. Kaiden Wagner, Lewisburg

4. Kaden Majcher, Warrior Run

5. Bailey Ferguson, Canton

120 POUNDS

1. Carter Weaver, Williamsport

2. Caiden Puderbach, Hughesville

3. Braylen Corter, Central Mountain

4. Chase Crawley, Muncy

5. Liam Goodrich, Jersey Shore

126 POUNDS

1. Jacob Blair, Muncy

2. Taylor Weaver, Central Mountain

3. Broc Lutz, Montoursville

4. Gabe Andrus, Jersey Shore

5. Kai Felix, Montgomery

132 POUNDS

1. Bryce Vollman, Muncy

2. Noah Hunt, Warrior Run

3. Hayden Ward, Canton

4. Zach Miller, Central Mountain

5. Gavin Sheriff, Lewisburg

138 POUNDS

1. Riley Bower, Williamsport

2. Kyler Crawford, Milton

3. Logan Bartlett, Lewisburg

4. James Batkowski, Montoursville

5. Josh Hultz, Williamson

145 POUNDS

1. Nate Higley, Sullivan County

2. Luke Gorg, Hughesville

3. Roman Morrone, Williamsport

4. Mario Barberio, Muncy

5. Landon Lorson, South Williamsport

152 POUNDS

1. Lane Porter, Central Mountain

2. Devon Deem, Montgomery

3. Christian Good, Muncy

4. Broghan Persun, Lewisburg

5. Colton Ammerman, Sullivan County

160 POUNDS

1. Isaac Cory, Montoursville

2. Hayden Packer, Jersey Shore

3. Kaide Drick, Montgomery

4. Kohen Lehman, North Penn-Liberty

5. Jason Valladares, Milton

170 POUNDS

1. Cael Crebs, Montoursville

2. Ethan Gush, Muncy

3. Timmy Ward, Canton

4. Lane Lusk, South Williamsport

5. Sam Crawford, Warrior Run

182 POUNDS

1. Dylan Bennett, Montoursville

2. Garrett Storch, Canton

3. Ryan Kershner, Jersey Shore

4. Hoyt Bower, Warrior Run

5. Ben Marino, Montgomery

195 POUNDS

1. Nathan Rauch, Milton

2. Nik Miller, Central Mountain

3. Derek Atherton-Ely, Canton

4. Sam Hostrander, South Williamsport

5. Caleb Moser, Montoursville

220 POUNDS

1. Cameron Wood, Montoursville

2. Gage Sutliff, Central Mountain

3. Trevor Williams, Canton

4. Cael Hembury, Muncy

5. Caleb Burkhart, Hughesville

285 POUNDS

1. Nevin Rauch, Milton

2. Charles Crews, Williamsport

3. Gunner Treibley, Meadowbrook Christian

4. Cyrus McCarl, Central Mountain

5. Logyn Choplosky, North Penn-Liberty

Pound-for-pound

Top 10

1. Cameron Wood, Montoursville

2. Dylan Bennett, Montoursville

3. Jacob Blair, Muncy

4. Nate Higley, Sullivan County

5. Riley Bower, Williamsport

6. Branden Wentzel, Montoursville

7. Scott Johnson, Muncy

8. Cael Crebs, Montoursville

9. Nevin Rauch, Milton

10. Luke Gorg, Hughesville

Top 5 Teams

1. Montoursville

2. Central Mountain

3. Canton

4. Williamsport

5. Muncy

Mitch Rupert covers wrestling for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 570-326-1551, ext. 3129, or by email at mrupert@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Mitch_Rupert.

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