Wrestlers place two
Whitehall completed their holiday wrestling schedule with a solid showing at the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic, placing two wrestlers among the top eight in their respective weight classes.
The Zephyrs were part of a large and star-studded field of grapplers that assembled at Liberty’s Memorial Field House for the annual tournament that attracts some of the best teams in the country. This year’s tourney featured 32 teams, with Whitehall finishing 28th among that strong contingent with 40 points.
The tourney, which was held Dec. 28-29, saw the host team claim victory with 225 points. Northampton was second with 211, while Nazareth was third with 170.5.
Whitehall’s top-two wrestlers were both freshman as Tyler Cunningham finished seventh at 113 lbs., and Xavier Arner finished eighth at 126.
Cunningham was in a weight class that featured Liberty’s Tal-Reese Flemming who finished third at 106 during last year’s PIAA tourney. Flemming won again at the Classic, this year at 113, giving him back-to-back titles.
Cunningham defeated Phillipsburg’s Logan Maczko 3-2 in a tiebreaker to earn the seventh spot. He won five matches en route to the seventh-place finish.
Arner lost to Delaware Valley’s Preston Machado in their seven-eight bout, as Machado worked a fall in 1:56.
A number of wrestlers had multiple wins. including Wilfred Jimenez at 106, Josh Grol at 132, and Izak Bright at 220.
Head coach Tim Cunningham said that Bethlehem’s Holiday Tournament serves as one of the strongest gatherings of scholastic wrestlers in the country, and to have two wrestlers place among that group was a big achievement.
“Both of them wrestled extremely well beating some of the toughest wrestlers in their weight class,” said Cunningham.
He also said that the tourney provided another step in their overall growth as a team.
“In general we saw improvement from all our wrestlers that participated in the tournament,” said Cunningham. “It was a great experience for the wrestlers that really want to try and get to the next level.
“In order to get better you need to wrestle the best competition possible. Most of the guys went out and wrestled without the fear of losing and just scoring points. The wrestlers all need to understand the idea of nonstop wrestling until the match is over and keep trying to score points.”
It was also help prepare them for the rest of their dual meet season as they’re set to wrestle Northampton and Pleasant Valley this week.