Sometimes a general knows his troops will lose a battle before the fighting even begins. Insufficient numbers or disparities in troop strength predetermine some fights. Still, you fight the losing battle to try to win future skirmishes.
Bald Eagle Area wrestling coach Steve Millward found himself in that situation on Tuesday night when Huntingdon walked into the Bald Eagle Area High School gymasium.
The Bearcats are loaded with talent, from state placewinners to state qualifiers to district and regional placers. With a lineup that is young and still learning, Bald Eagle Area wasn’t in a position to challenge Huntingdon. But the Eagles fought just the same.
Huntingdon won 10 of 14 bouts to win going away, 55-18.
The Bearcats recorded six falls, two forfeits, a major decision and decision while amassing a 15-6 advantage in takedowns. The Eagles could only counter with two falls and two decisions.
“They’re a tough bunch. Things went not as we hoped, but it was an expected outcome. I knew coming in that they’re just a rugged, tough bunch of kids. We went out and fought ‘em. We had to do it from the first bout to the end. Our kids respond. There wasn’t anything to move,” Millward said.
The match started at 170 and Huntingdon used three falls and a forfeit to bolt to a 24-0 lead.
Bald Eagle Area needed just 43 seconds of match time to cut that lead in half.
Heavyweight Josh Fye made quick work of his opponent, scoring a fall in 29 seconds. In three dual meets this season, Fye has recorded three falls, spending a total of 3:06 out of a possible 18 minutes on the mat.
“That’s what we expect from him. He’s been around enough that he needs to use his size. He’s doing a pretty good job of that. He’s more mobile than he’s been the last couple years,” Millward said.
Garrett Giedroc kept the momentum rolling for BEA with a fall in 14 seconds at 106 to cut the Bearcat lead to 24-12. After the Eagles forfeited at 113, Clayton Giedroc used a third-period escape and takedown to gut out a 3-0 decision.
“That was nice to see from those two, especially the one at 106. He doesn’t get a lot of kids his size. That was a nice matchup for him. There was a little bit of fire for our team there for a while,” Millward said.
At 126, Garrett Rigg made it back-to-back wins for the Eagles as used an escape and takedown in the second period and two takedowns in the third to roll to a 7-2 decision.
“Neither one of those kids is easy to wrestle. He kept it close, stayed on the attack, defended when he needed to. After he got that second takedown he relaxed a little bit and tried to open up on top,” Millward said.
That set up what many thought would be a marquee matchup at 138 between Eagles sophomore Seth Koleno and the Bearcats’ three-time state qualifier and two-time placer, senior Collin Glorioso.
The veteran Glorioso scored an early takedown and went to work on top, turning Koleno twice to end the first period with a 7-0 lead. The veteran stayed a step ahead of the youngster in what ended as a 15-2 major decision.
“That’s the potential that he has. Seth has wrestled him I don’t know how many times. He’s tough on top and has a quick shot. He knows he has to be cautious. He doesn’t like to accept defeat but he knows how to accept defeat,” Millward said.
That seemed to suck the life out of the Eagles as Huntingdon swept the final four weights, earning a decision and three falls.
Huntingdon improved to 2-0. BEA slipped to 0-3.
Despite the lopsided score, Millward said he was pleased that his team didn’t back down. He also said there was no sense in trying to juggle the lineup against such a talented team.
“We know they have good kids. What we sent out there is our lineup. We work with what we’ve got. We just hope to get better every time we go out and wrestle them,” he said.
“There’s not a lot to do when you have a team like Huntingdon coming in. I know they’re a powerful bunch. It was nice to see our kids go out and wrestle. That’s all we can expect of them.”