Wrestlers prep for districts
The Whitehall wresting team’s climb through the District XI AAA Team Championships was halted by Freedom last Thursday, and after a final dual meet to close out the regular season, they’ll be looking to make their mark in the individual tournament.
Twelve teams gathered at Liberty’s Memorial Gymnasium for the 3A title, with the eleventh-seeded Zephyrs drawing Freedom in the opening round. The Patriots won 11 matches to defeat the Zephyrs 57-15, sending them into the quarterfinal round to meet Bethlehem Catholic. The Golden Hawks won the match against their city counterparts, eventually making it to the finals where they were upended by Nazareth, 31-11.
In that match, Whitehall got victories from Xavier Arner who defeated Chris Nieves 11-5, while both Kai Clark and Randy Okungu registered pins, with Clark decking Justin Cortijo in 49 seconds, and Okungu pinned Ryan Frantz in 2:43.
Whitehall’s regular season ended with a win over Palmerton on Tuesday. The denizens from the Colonial League were 2-6-0 heading into the meet against the Zephyrs.
It was also senior night inside Zephyr Gymnasium when they faced the Blue Bombers, and the team recognized seniors Clark, Wilfred Jimenez, Okungu, Izak Bright and Michael Zuniga.
All those wrestlers have been integral parts of the Zephyr program. And with the regular season now behind them, Clark, Jimenez and Okungu will try to advance as far as they can in the postseason which gets underway Feb. 21.
With Tuesday’s win, the Zephyrs finished 11-6 on the season.
Cunningham said that their mission heading into their final dual meet was to “wrestle to score points and not worry about the score.”
That will also carry over to the District XI 3A Individual Wrestling Championships where each wrestler is looking to meld their aspirations with their goals.
“Our focus for the postseason is just looking to score points and winning the close matches, that is how we will go into the postseason better prepared,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham said that it would be nice to win the dual meet for the seniors and he’s sure the wrestlers “will go out and give it their all tomorrow [Tuesday] night.”
He also realizes that they need to enter the tournament sound both mentally and physically.
“Our focus is just to get better and get healthy for districts,” said Cunningham.