Every day, wrestler Garrett Rigg thinks about bringing the district team championship back to Bald Eagle Area.
It’s consumed his thoughts since the end of last season, and it’s his sole focus as BEA heads into the District 6 Team Dual championships Saturday as the No. 1 seed.
“I really want it for our team more than anything right now,” Rigg said. “I dream about it. I stay up at night, and I can’t sleep because of it.”
Rigg and the unbeaten Eagles are set to take on No. 4 Bellefonte at 2 p.m. Saturday at Tyrone High School, while No. 2 Central Mountain and No. 3 Mifflin County will compete in the other semifinals match. The championship will take place immediately after those matches Saturday. The district champion will clinch a spot at the PIAA team championships, set to start Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Eagles are looking to capture their first district team title since 2006, and the Red Raiders (9-7) are hoping to pull the upset.
BEA has already enjoyed a memorable regular season, earning win after win on its win to a 13-0 record. Now, the Eagles are aiming to reclaim their spot as the district’s top team — a title they owned during a dominant run in the 1990s and last captured 12 years ago.
“It would be a huge step for our program,” BEA coach Ron Guenot said. “I would just like them to experience what it’s like to be on top of District 6. Back in the day, when I wrestled, we had the feeling of being on top and winning district titles, and that’s just something I want for these kids this year.”
Guenot took over as the head coach at his alma mater in September 2016 and immediately set high expectations for the program. He wanted to see the Eagles win district titles. The coach realized his team could achieve that goal this season when the Eagles earned wins over Huntingdon and Central Mountain. Rigg said the victory against Central Mountain — the defending district champions — showed the Eagles’ potential to put together a special season.
“We knew that they were going to be the team to beat going into it for district finals,” Rigg said of Central Mountain. “And now after that match and after winning all our close matches and making some upsets, we’re the team to beat now, and it’s really good to say that.”
But before the Eagles can compete for the championship Saturday, they have to get past Bellefonte. The Red Raiders battled BEA during a 42-35 loss in early January.
“We have a little bit of beef with Bald Eagle,” Bellefonte’s Alex Coppolo said. “They beat us before. We’re rivals, and we’re looking to return the favor. We’ve been really working hard in the room. We’ve been tightening things up, getting everything good to go, and we’re looking to go and pound on ’em.”
Though the Eagles know they’re in for a challenge Saturday, they’re brimming with confidence. They’ve been working toward this goal all season — and they’re hoping to make memories Saturday before moving on to the PIAA team championships.
“It’s the best season I’ve ever had in my life so far,” BEA’s Seth Koleno said. “I’ve never been on a dominant team before.”
Added Rigg: “I would want nothing more for our team than to be able to wrestle at Hershey. The only thing standing in our way is whoever wants to beat us out for the district title. I think that’s ours to take and I’m sure other teams are saying the same thing, but we got to wrestle our hearts out to get it.”
District 6 Class 3A Team Dual championships
Who: No. 4 Bellefonte (9-7) vs. No. 1 Bald Eagle Area (13-0); No. 2 Central Mountain vs. No. 3 Mifflin County
What’s next: Winner of each match will face the same day in the championship match; district champ moves on to PIAA team championships on Thursday
Where: Tyrone High School
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Radio: WBLF 970AM, 106.3 FM