We had an exciting weekend in Johnstown at the PJW Junior High State Championships. L-S was well represented with 4 wrestlers at the event: Bradey Cunningham, Parker Owens, Zac Shelley, and Neil Eckman. All of our guys picked up a win against the toughest competition from the state of PA.

Neil went 1-2 with a thrilling victory where he scored a take down with about 2 seconds left to break open a 1-1 tie. He battled with every kid he wrestled despite being tremendously undersized at 252lbs.

Bradey went 2-2. He won both his matches Saturday which put him in the quarterfinals where he lost a close 2-1 match. In the next round, which is the blood round for placing, he was dominating his opponent by a score of 10-4 at the end of the 2nd period. Unfortunately, he got caught in a throw in the 3rd period and was pinned. The young man he lost to in that match went on to win 2 more to place 4th overall. Bradey’s two losses came to the 4th place and 6th place wrestler in the state. Both were very winnable. I know Bradey was heartbroken, as was I, but we know how good he was this weekend.

Zac also went 2-2 by winning his first 2 matches to make it to the  quarterfinals. He suffered a heartbreaker in the quarters by giving up a take down in the finals 12 seconds of the 3rd overtime period to lose 5-4. That young man won his next match and ended up in 2nd place in the State of PA. Zac found himself a little out of position in the next match in the blood round and got caught in a cement job and pinned. He ended up losing to the 2nd place and the 7th place kids in the state. Both, he and Brady won both of their first matches by fall before losing a couple of incredibly close matches. They both ended up in the top 12 in PA out of the 42 man brackets.

Parker won his first match, lost his second, then proceeded to win 3 matches in a row to break through the blood round into the top 8 in the state. He had 2 thrilling matches that were won in the closing 10 – 15 seconds including the blood round match where he broke open a 1-1 tie by taking his opponent down to his back to win 6-1! Parker ended the weekend in 8th Place. He was the first L-S Wrestler to medal at the PJW Junior High State Championship tournament. We are all ecstatic over this accomplishment. Parker should be incredibly proud, too.

Overall, our boys battled with everything they had. We experienced the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” in about a 20 min. stretch on Sunday morning. These 4 young men, put together an impressive showing at the tournament. Having 2 in the top 12 and 1 in the top 8 is our best showing yet, and hopefully it sets the bar for better things to come!

I​’m proud of all of our guys, including the other 8 who attempted PJWs at the Area 13 tournament. Keep working hard in the off season. That is where champions are made.

See you on the mats,
Coach Kevin Franklin