After taking a year off, the Reynolds wrestling team is back at the top of the heap in Class AA. And, boy, did the Raiders earn it, surviving tough challenges from two state-ranked opponents during the District 10 team duals, held Saturday at Sharon High School.
After dispatching Seneca 61-9 in the quarterfinals, Reynolds, ranked fifth in the state by Off the Mat, edged 16th-ranked Saegertown 35-22 in the semifinals, and then narrowly escaped No. 11 Fort LeBoeuf, 28-24, in an intense championship match.
“I tell our guys that in my senior year we were 13-1, but eight matches were decided by five points or less,” said Raiders head coach Casey Taylor, a 1995 graduate of Reynolds High School. “ And I loved it. It’s why you do it. It’s the team. It’s better than 70-0, even if you win 70-0. We’re pumped. It was a great win.”
Fort LeBoeuf led the final match 24-22 with two bouts to go. But at 182, Reynolds’ Austin Moffett scored a wild 7-6 victory over LeBoeuf’s Eli Humes to give the Raiders the lead. Then at 195, Jamar Henry sealed the deal with a 5-3 verdict over Garrett Reinwald.
“It was awesome,” said Taylor. “Just a great match to be involved in; 28-24 is obviously a nailbiter. We needed every one of them — we needed every back point, every escape, every part of the match was necessary. I’m sweating my butt off.”
The title was Reynolds’ 11th overall, and the first for Taylor as head coach.
The Raiders now advance to the PIAA state duals, which begin Thursday at The Giant Center in Hershey.
LeBoeuf, which last year broke Reynolds’ string of seven straight championships, also moves on. On Monday (at a site and time to be determined) the Bison will face WPIAL third seed Chartiers-Houston, a 42-30 winner over Jefferson-Morgan in the District 7 consolation match last night.
Saegertown ended up taking third place, beating 22nd-ranked Greenville 39-21 in the D-10 consy. The Panthers will face District 9 runner-up Brookville at Brookville on Monday at 7 p.m.
“Good stuff,” said Panthers head coach Jim Mulligan. “I’m happy for the kids. I’m happy for the program. We have an opportunity to win this match on Monday. And it will be great for these kids that would never reach the state tournament on their own. That’s what the state duals are about.”