Gage McClenahan had tons of accolades before he even began his Bald Eagle Area high school wrestling career.
The sophomore just added to it by reaching the 152-pound PIAA finals on Saturday.
“I made leaps and bounds from where I was last year,” McClenahan said. “I didn’t come out with what I wanted. I learned so much this tournament and am proud.”
McClenahan took on Scranton’s William Evanitsky and was never able to really get his offense rolling.
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Evanitsky had good hand fighting and kept McClenahan at bay with his long arms. McClenahan trailed 2-0 after giving up a takedown in the first period. An escape in the second from Evanitsky put the Eagle down 3-0, and a takedown in the third period sealed up a 5-2 win.
“You just got to keep going and wrestle all six minutes,” McClenahan said of what he learned from this year’s tournament. “All of these good wrestlers are wrestling all six minutes. I learned more from my loss. I got to get my offense going.”
After getting his taste of a championship match, he wants it again more than anything. Coach Ron Guenot is going to expect more from his sophomore now, too, with the graduations of leaders like Seth Koleno and Garrett Rigg.
“Gage can step up (now), but he’s (already) been a leader also,” Guetnot said. “He’s going to have to continue into that role. I’m confident he can handle that.”