Healthy and dominant: Wesneski bounces back from injury with dominant season
Entering his junior year Canton's Garrett Wesneski had some big goals.
After reaching regionals last year, Wesneski dreamed of a trip to Hershey and bringing home a state medal.
However, all of his dreams almost ended before they even began.
During football season Wesneski had a piece of his bone on the bottom of his knee joint break right.
It was an injury where there were a couple of different alternatives for surgery and Wesneski wasn't sure which the doctor would choose, and what that would mean for his wrestling season.
"Right after the surgery I didn't know if he took the bone out, or if he had to repair it," Wesneski said. "He took the bone out and that meant being out 6-8 weeks, if he had repaired it I would have been out four to six months. I wasn't sure if he wanted me to wrestle this year, but luckily I am back."
Missing part of the football season was tough for Wesneski and he worried about if he'd be able to get back in time for wrestling.
"I was really nervous," he said. "It frustrated me to miss football. During football season I went to every game. It was the sickest feeling having to watch without being out there."
And, he knew that it was going to take some time to get back up to full speed, but now he is feeling healthy again.
"I started out slow," Wesneski said. "I started out slowly, but now I feel 100 percent. I know I have got to outwork people because I got a late start this year."
Wesneski knows that while his opponents were starting his season he was still rehabbing, so he knows he can't afford to stop working this year.
"Because of my injury I feel like I have to work harder than all of my opponents," he said. "I don't want to come up short this year."
After getting close to a trip to states last year, that's the number one goal for Wesneski this year.
"The last two years I set goals and I reached every one," Wesneski said. "This year I have to get to Hershey and get a medal."
One of the challenges for Wesneski this year is his own success. He is having a dominant season and that means a lot of teams avoid wrestling him.
The junior is off to a 21-0 start, but he doesn't focus on the numbers, he only cares about the way he's wrestling.
"I don't like to think about my record," he said. 'I just keep going in practice and try and keep getting better. I just want to make sure I don't let the injury affect me."
It's tough sometimes in matches because Wesneski now gets a lot more forfeits, but Wesneski still works hard in practice to be ready for the postseason.
"It's tough," he said of the forfeits. "But, in the practice room the coaches really push me. Derek Leiby really beats on me. I work with my teammates Connor Route and Tyler Cole and we all go at it.
"In the dual meet tournaments I've faced some good competition."
One big change this year for Wesneski is having his father Lyle as the Canton coach.
"He's hard on me, but I have fun with it," Wesneski said.
For Wesneski having family coach him is nothing new as his uncle, Tim Ward, was his coach the past two years.
However, having his dad as the coach means he gets to spend more time with his dad and it means he has a little better idea of what to expect during the season.
"It's fun," Wesneski said. "Our 52 pounder Jacob Butcher always comes up to me at school and asks what we are going to do at practice. It's really a lot of fun, we get along really well."
While Wesneski has one more year of high school left after this, he isn't sure if he will be wrestling after that.
"I haven't thought about it much yet," Wesneski said of college wrestling. I am debating, I kind of want to wrestle in college, I need to see how things go."
The junior knows that if he reaches his goals this year it will help his chances to wrestle in college.
"Having success this postseason and getting to states, that would really help," Wesneski said.
While that is the future, for right now Wesneski is adjusting to being one of the leaders for the Warriors this season.
"I take it as a good thing," he said. "I have always been a really talkative person. Being an upperclassman isn't that different for me. But, everyone on our team gets along with each other, we have a lot of leaders."
The District 4 Wrestling Duals begin on Wednesday and three NTL teams will be hosting first-round matchups.
However, NTL champion Williamson will not be among the teams hosting a match.
Despite a 20-2 mark that would have made them the second seed, the Warriors had to make the decision to withdraw from the tournament to help rest a number of wrestlers who are injured and sick.
"It was a very tough decision for our team," Williamson coach Mark Everett said. "We have had the district duals as a goal all season and the kids definitely wanted to compete in it. I think that we need every day we have between now and sectionals to heal and prepare for the season. I am sure that some people are upset with our decision, but we can't worry about that. We have to take care of our team and our own guys. We worry about what is best for them."
While there would have been benefits to wrestling in the district duals, Everett also knew that rushing kids back when they aren't healthy could have risked their availability later in the season.
"Some kids could have benefited greatly from wrestling in the duals and others would have risked their postseason on it and I think that is more important," Everett said. "We made the decision during Friday's practice after the Canton match. Some kids were upset with the decision but it's one that we felt had to be made. Sorry to the teams that were affected in a negative way due to us not being in, but again our job is to worry about our kids and that's what we had to do."
With Williamson out of the mix Towanda moved up to the eighth seed and earned the final of the home matches for the opening round.
Wyalusing is the highest of the NTL seeds. The fifth-seeded Rams (14-4, .777) host No. 12 Hughesville (11-9, .550), while Troy is seeded sixth (15-5, .750) and they host No. 11 Muncy (11-8, .578).
Towanda is eighth (15-8, .652) and they host No. 9 Montoursville (13-7, .650).
Sullivan County is the 16th seed at 8-8, .500 and they travel to No. 1 Central Columbia (18-1, .947), while North Penn is No. 15 at 9-9, .500 and they travel to No. 12 Warrior Run (14-3, .823).
The other matchups are No. 3 Montgomery (13-3, .8125) hosting No. 14 South Williamsport (9-8, .529), No. 4 Lewisburg (17-4, .809) hosting No. 13 Line Mountain (9-8, .529) and No. 7 Benton (11-4, .733) hosting No. 10 Southern Columbia (15-10, .600).
Let's look at each of the matchups featuring NTL teams.
No. 12 Hughesville at No. 5 Wyalusing
The two teams had one common opponent this year as Wyalusing beat Towanda 40-30 and Hughesville beat the Black Knights 39-27.
One key win for Hughesville this year was 57-18 over fourth-seeded Lewisburg, and they lost a 34-32 match to second-seeded Warrior Run this season.
Hughesville also fell to No. 3 Montgomery 36-30 this season and to No. 7 Benton 46-27.
Some key matchups that could occur would be Wyalusing's Tyler Fenton (20-6) taking on Hughesville star Kyle Barnes (20-1) at 152.
Hughesville could have either Matthew Herr (18-6) or Robert White (195) at 170 where they could meet the Rams' Justin Griffith (18-9).
At 138 Eric Miller of Hughesville (13-11) could meet the Rams' David Brown (16-11) and at 113 Trevor Sores of Hughesville (16-7) could meet the Rams' Tracey Brown (13-12).
No. 11 Muncy at No. 6 Troy
The two teams have one common opponent as each beat Sullivan County by an identical 56-21 score.
Muncy beat No. 3 Montgomery 42-28 this year and No. 14 South Williamsport 42-29 and they beat No. 12 Hughesville 40-34.
The Indians lost to No. 7 Benton 42-37 and No. 2 Warrior Run 47-22. They lost twice to top-seeded Central Columbia this year 52-15 and 51-27.
Some key matchups that you could see include 106 pounds where Troy's Hunter Cohick (15-8) could meet Angelo Barberio (24-5) and 170 where Muncy's Jake Colburn (15-8) could meet Troy's Landis Zimmerman (21-4).
At 113 Troy's Ethan Calkins (22-3) could meet Jacob Dgien of Muncy (13-9) and at 195 Troy's Briar Jenkins (14-8) could meet Skylar Ebner of Muncy (23-6).
Muncy's Troy Hembury (26-1) could meet Troy's Cody Ercolino (14-10) at 182.
No. 9 Montoursville at No. 8 Towanda
The two teams met earlier this season with Montoursville winning a close 36-34 decision.
The two teams have another common opponent among district duals teams as Montoursville beat Hughesville 36-30 and Towanda lost to the Spartans 39-27.
Against other District 4 Duals opponents Montoursville beat Montgomery 37-31 and lost to Lewisburg (42-28), Central Columbia (39-19), Warrior Run (46-18) and Benton (33-27). Montoursville also beat Canton this year 38-34.
Some key matchups that could happen include at 106 where Towanda's Jared Lines (22-5) could meet Montoursville's Jacob Strassner (17-8) at 106 while at 126 Keight Batkowski (23-5) of Montoursville could meet Towanda's Terrick Vargason, if Vargason is back in the lineup for the duals.
At 285 Ben Cerney of Montoursville (17-9) could meet the Black Knights' Talon Curry (17-11) and at 145 Garrett Hoffman (22-6) of Montoursville could meet Towanda's Justin Sheets (14-11).
At 182 the Black Knights' Dakoatah Manning (21-6) could meet Montoursville's Ethan Jones (12-9) and at 195 Lucas Shaheen of Montoursville (20-8) could take on Towanda's Logan Terry (16-10).
No. 15 North Penn at No. 2 Warrior Run
Against District duals teams this year Warrior Run beat Montgomery twice, Muncy and Hughesville and North Penn fell to Williamson, Southern Columbia, Wyalusing and Troy this year and they beat Sullivan County.
Some key matchups could include 285 where the Panthers' Nathan Kriner (24-2) could meet Warrior Run's Austin Fiedler (18-4).
At 126 Charlie Andrews of North Penn (20-9) could meet Brian LeBarron (21-7) and at 160 Ben Jackson of North Penn (14-14) could meet Nicholas Rohm of Warrior Run (17-6).
At 170 Robert Minnich of North Penn (24-3) could meet Daniel Breech of Warrior Run (20-3), while at 132 the Panthers' Bradley Pequignot (18-11) could meet Brandon Giannantonia (17-8).
No. 16 Sullivan County at No. 1 Central Columbia
Sullivan fell to Southern Columbia this year 42-21 and they lost to Muncy 56-21 and South Williamsport 39-30.
Central beat Southern Columbia 61-18 and they beat Muncy twice this year, while defeating South Williamsport, Benton, Lewisburg and Benton as well. Central also has a 51-18 victory over NTL champion Williamson on the season.
Griffins' star Shawn Nitcznski (18-1) could take on Steven Shannon (18-6) at 120.
At 160 Matt Dailey of Sulllivan County (11-11) could meet Central's Nicholas Fester (13-9) and at 170 Tanner McCarty of Sullivan County could meet Central's Jacob Coombe (17-7).
At 285 Nate Ritinski of Sullivan County (15-6) could meet Alexander Shiber of Central (23-1) and at 113 Luke Thomas of Sullivan (11-8) could meet Taylor Johnson (20-2) while at 152 Austin Miknich of Central (27-6) could take on the Griffin's Logan Wiles (13-6).
All matches on Wednesday are 7 p.m. starts with no junior high, JV or exhibitions.
The winners on Wednesday head down to Milton on Saturday. The quarterfinals on Saturday begin at 11 a.m., with the semi-finals at 1:30 p.m. and the finals and consolation finals at 6 p.m.
NORTH OF THE BORDER
The Tioga Tigers finished second and the Waverly Wolverines took fifth at the IAC Championships.
Waverly's Ryan Wolcott and Tioga's Dan Hosking and Christian Richter each picked up titles, while Tioga's John Noe and Jesse Manuel and Kacey Madigan and Brandon Ellers of Waverly all were runner-ups.
Waverly's Austyn Bostwick and Tioga's Kaleb Stone, Luke Hoose and Zach Kelsey all had third-place finishes.
This weekend the Wolverines host the Section IV, Class B Championships, while Tioga heads to Lansing for the Class C Championships.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
There were plenty of big performances this week, but few can match what Wyalusing freshman Tracey Brown accomplished on Saturday.
The NTL large-school title on the line in the final weight on the road against your biggest rival in Towanda facing one of the Black Knights' senior captains in Kyle Blascak.
Brown needed to avoid giving up bonus points in order for the Rams to win the match, instead it was him who got the bonus points, pinning Blascak.
(As of Sunday, January 27)
Minimum 10 matches wrestled, based on results on nwcaonline.com
Jared Lines, Towanda 22-5, .815
Hunter Cohick, Troy 15-8, .652
Caleb Robbins, Williamson 15-10, .600
Tyrus Hamblin, Williamson 20-2, .909
Ethan Calkins, Troy 22-3, .880
Kyle Blascak, Towanda 20-6, .769
Shawn Nitcznski, Sullivan County 18-1, .947
Collin Edsell, Wyalusing 23-3, .885
Carl Gorg, Williamson 25-4, .862
Herman Briggs, Williamson 22-6, .786
Terrick Vargason, Towanda 19-7, .731
Brandon Kelley, Wyalusing 19-7, .731
Logan Everett, Williamson 28-0, 1.000
Lucas Murphy, Sayre 17-7, .708
Justin Haley, Wyalusing 18-8, .692
Nick Bruce, Troy 21-2, .913
Trevor McWhorter, Williamson 26-3, .897
Jesse Manuel, Tioga 26-6, .813
Billy Barnes, Williamson 29-0, 1.000
Trey Murray, Troy 21-4, .840
Brandon Owlett, Wellsboro 15-3, .833
Nick Stephani, Troy 24-1, .960
Jacob Butcher, Canton 22-5, .815
Tyler Fenton, Wyalusing 20-6, .769
Kyle Post, Sayre 20-2, .909
Brandon Ellers, Waverly 22-5, .815
Mike Presto, Williamson 21-11, .656
Robert Minnich, North Penn 24-3, .888
Landis Zimmerman, Troy 21-4, .840
R.C. Hunter, Williamson 24-5, .828
Garrett Wesneski, Canton 21-0, 1.000
Chad Daugherty, Wellsboro 17-1, .944
Dakoatah Manning, Towanda 21-6, .777
Connor Route, Canton 22-4, .846
Chance Lantz, Troy 10-2, .833
Jeff Klossner, Waverly 14-7, .666
John Nevius, Williamson 8-4, .666
Ryan Wolcott, Waverly 25-0, 1.000
Dylan Otis, Wyalusing 25-1, .962
Dakota Bolt, Williamson 17-13, .566
Nathan Kriner, North Penn 24-2, .923
Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing 23-6, .793
Nate Ritinski, Sullivan County 15-6, .714