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Warriors’ Cory feels stronger, faster with move to 152

LEWISBURG — By the time Montoursville’s Isaac Cory considered dropping a weight class last season, it was too late. He was settled in at 160 pounds and there wasn’t enough time left before the postseason to follow his descent plan to get to 152 pounds.

So he stayed where he was. He ended up becoming one of five Montoursville wrestlers to finish on the podium at the state meet in Hershey, taking seventh place. But when he dropped some weight in the offseason after having a surgical procedure, he made the decision to drop to 152 pounds for his junior season.

Cory made his debut there Friday night against Lewisburg, posting a 13-0 lead before scoring a second-period fall. He looked leaner. He looked quicker. And he looked just a dominant as he was when he won 42 matches a year ago for the Warriors.

“I definitely cut off some bad weight,” Cory said following Montoursville’s 48-19 win. “I don’t think it’s changed the way I wrestle. I’ve always wrestled the same really. But it’s definitely changed where I am in the strength department. I feel lean, I feel strong and I feel better overall.”

It’s not as if 152 pounds is a brand new weight class for Cory. He was a state qualifier there for Troy as a freshman. But a year ago, he wrestled only one match outside of 160 pounds for a Montoursville team which qualified for the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships and eventually placed second in the team standings at the state individual tournament.

But rarely do you see a high school wrestler drop a weight class a season after wrestling at a heavier weight class. Montoursville coach Matt Yonkin said the idea was all Cory’s. Following surgery, Cory continued to compete throughout the summer, keeping his weight down. So when the high school season rolled around, it was pretty easy to get to 154 pounds with the 2-pound weight allowance which kicked in at Christmas.

“He’s not necessarily a weight room fan, so his body kind of stayed where it was,” Yonkin said. “I think the way things played out last year, him staying up at 160 really benefitted the team. But I wonder if there was a little thought that he’d rather be down.”

Staying up at 160 pounds last year was a benefit for Cory. He spent the postseason battling with Southern Columbia’s Gavin Garcia and Benton’s Nolan Lear, who went on to finish third and fifth, respectively in the state tournament. Those tough five matchups against the two state placewinners made everything seem easier.

Cory wrestled 17 postseason matches last season. He lost five — three to Garcia, one to Lear and one to state fourth-place finisher Gage Musser of Commodore Perry. Of his 12 wins, six went for bonus points. Only one was decided by two points or fewer.

He placed seventh at the state tournament, finishing the season with a 42-12 record.

“I saw Lear twice, I saw Garcia three times. It definitely helped me with where I was at with my wrestling,” Cory said. “It definitely boosted my confidence knowing I can be there with everyone else and winning matches.”

He wrestled with that confidence Friday night against Lewisburg. Every movement he made against Hagen Persun had a purpose. There was no wasted motion. Every move had conviction behind it.

And whether making the drop actually makes a difference or not with how Cory wrestles is yet to be seen. But it should matter that he said he felt better.

“I feel really good about Isaac with him down (at 152),” Yonkin said. “I think he’s got a lot of strength and this is going to help with his speed. I think Isaac is going to be really, really tough down there. I’m excited for him.”

Cory will continue to be an important presence for a Montoursville team which is ranked 10th in the state by PA Power Wrestling and faces a stiff test this weekend when it faces No. 3 Southern Columbia, No. 9 Hamburg and Muncy in a quad meet Saturday. He and top-ranked Branden Wentzel, Cael Crebs and Dylan Bennett make up one of the toughest core group of wrestlers in District 4, if not the state. All four have state championship aspirations this season.

Crebs got off to a hot start Friday night, recording 12 takedowns at 189 pounds before scoring a second-period fall. Wentzel struggled with his conditioning, but still posted an 8-1 win at 106 pounds. Bennett took a forfeit, but faces a big week potentially facing eighth-ranked Derek Berlitz of Southern Columbia and 15th-ranked Travis Colson of Hamburg on Saturday.

Montoursville’s win over Lewisburg was as expected, but it wasn’t crisp. Of course, after a three-week pause in training thanks to Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to suspend high school and youth sports, a little bit of rust was expected.

But the Warriors got some much-needed contributions from Broc Lutz (138 pounds), Evan Bloom (160), Cole Johnson (120) and Lucas Sherwood (125) who all picked up victories in the season-opener.

“We got some work to do,” Yonkin said, “but it felt good to be back on the mat.”

#10 Montoursville 48,

Lewisburg 19

138: Broc Lutz, M, pinned Daniel Leao, :36. 145: #18 Logan Bartlett, L, maj. dec. Kayden Frame, 9-1. 152: #7 Isaac Cory, M, pinned Hagen Persun, 3:30. 160: Evan Bloom, M, pinned Trent Wenrich, 4:59. 172: Derek Shedleski, L, dec. Caleb Moser, 11-6. 189: #1 Cael Crebs, M, pinned Zander Walter, 2:23. 215: #1 Dylan Bennett, M, won by forfeit. 285: Lane Stutzman, M, won by forfeit. 106: #1 Branden Wentzel, M, dec. Jace Gessner, 8-1. 113: Quinton Bartlett, L, pinned Jackson Watkins, 3:49. 120: Cole Johnson, M, dec. Tom Lyons, 5-4. 126: Lucas Sherwood, M, pinned Derek Gessner, 4:56. 132: #12 Kaiden Wagner, L, pinned Hunter Miller, 3:43.

Takedowns: Montoursville 23, Lewisburg 8.

Records: Montoursville (1-0, 1-0 HAC-II); Lewisburg (0-1, 0-1, HAC-II).

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