Wheeling comes through in the clutch
It was looking rather bleak for General McLane 113-pound wrestler Joe Wheeling to make it to the semifinals, considering he was trailing 4-0 entering the final frame during his quarterfinal bout.
But counting Wheeling out of any match is a mistake, and the Lancer senior showed a ton of heart Friday, working his way back into the bout, forcing overtime, and earning a 6-4 decision over North Allegheny’s Luke Landefeld.
Wheeling found himself in trouble early, giving up a takedown and a pair of back points to Landefeld in the first period.
A scoreless second frame gave way to an exciting third, where Wheeling, who started in the down position, scored a reverse and a pair of back points of his own to even the bout a 4-4.
In overtime, Wheeling scored the winning takedown, punching his ticket to the semifinals.
“You can’t get worried, or else you get frustrated,” Wheeling said. “You have to keep working and continue to work for positioning.”
As for GM head coach Ryan Cook, there was never a moment of panic, even when his 113-pounder fell behind 4-0.
Perhaps a little concern is more accurate.
“I wouldn’t say panic, because it all happened in the first period,” Cook said. “Worried? Yeah.”
Now Wheeling gets one step closer to realizing his dream of a state title. And in the process, he took care of that other thing that has been hanging over him for quite some time.
“It feels good to get that monkey off my back,” Wheeling said about finally medaling at states. “Now I can go out and just wrestle.”
Wheeling’s success stems from talent and work ethic. Nobody knows that better than Cook.
“That match is a tribute to Joe’s training,” Cook said. “He works so hard. From training, diet and in the room, he does it right. It’s nice to have a person who does everything right get the right result.”
Wheeling wasn’t the only Lancer still wrestling Friday, as teammate Chris Laird was in action in the second round of the 195-pound consolation bracket. Unfortunately for Laird, he didn’t have the same success as Wheeling, losing to DuBois’ Tom Sleigh in a 5-0 decision.