For Bald Eagle Area’s Seth Koleno, a historic career came to an end in an Eagles’ singlet on Saturday night.
A career for which he couldn’t be more proud.
“Bald Eagle hasn’t been that great for a while,” the senior said at the Giant Center in the PIAA Wrestling Championships. “To help bring back the program, it’s just huge. People will remember times like this.”
It wasn’t how he wanted it to end, but Koleno was all smiles even after suffering 20-4 technical fall loss in the 138-pound finals to Bethlehem Catholic’s Ryan Anderson.
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“As the video showed before, there is only 28 finalists,” Koleno said refering to a promo video that played before wrestling started Saturday. “To be one of those 28, it’s an honor. Being a four-time state qualifier, not many people can say that. Three-time medalist and being in the finals, there are so many goals right there that many hope to achieve and never do.”
Koleno took on Anderson, who finished third in the state last year and had a good defense that stifled Koleno’s offense.
Anderson was even scoring off Koleno’s shot attempts. Anderson rattled off six takedowns and they were all counters off Koleno. The Golden Hawks wrestler added three sets of near-fall points to earn the technical fall in 4:34.
Koleno felt like he never would’ve got to where he was on Saturday if it wasn’t for the help from former Penn State wrestler Zack Beitz. Beitz, who was a state champion from Juniata High School, was an assistant coach on the team this year.
“All summer long, he’s been competing and wasting his time to help create me to be a state champ,” Koleno said. “I came (up) short but he turned me into the wrestler I am. I used to just be an average, low-placer. He helped motivate me to become the wrestler I wanted to be to compete in college.”
As much of an impact Beitz has made on Koleno’s career, the Eagle feels that is one of the things that makes wrestling so special.
“I go down to elementary practice all the time and help coach them,” Koleno said. “It’s so exciting when you go in there and you hear them say, ‘Seth, Seth’ and then they start wrestling. To be able to impact little kids, it makes you feel great.”
BEA coach Ron Guenot has also felt the impact of such an all-around young man.
“I don’t want to let him go, but, unfortunately, we have to,” Guenot said. “When we took over as a coaching staff two years ago, I don’t know where we’d be without him.”