Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lehigh lands Burkett

   Greg Lazor has a wealth of hard workers in his Chestnut Ridge practice room, but he says Aaron Burkett can measure up to any of them.
   The senior-to-be is a prime example of that hard work paying off in more ways than one. Over the weekend, Burkett made a commitment to wrestle at the next level at Lehigh University.
   "It's great to see someone who has done everything right on and off the mat get this opportunity," said Lazor. "He's a perfect role model for everyone else in our school and community."
   Burkett is 111-23 in his career, coming off a 41-6 season. He's a two-time District 5 champion and two-time state placewinner, including a runner-up finish this past March at 106 pounds. And he's been a key member of the Lions' state team medal runs two of the last three years. Burkett projects at 125 pounds at Lehigh.
   While Burkett's wrestling credentials are high-level, he'll get a chance to be in the room with the Mountain Hawks because of classroom work as well. After his junior season, Burkett was named a first team All-Academic choice by the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association, as he was listed with a 4.0 GPA.
   "To be able to go to a place like Lehigh shows that Aaron has more than great ability on the wrestling mat," said Lazor. "He's such a great person to put up there in your program to show everyone else that the work pays off. He's just an all-around example of what you want your child to be."
   Burkett's resume currently speaks for itself, though he wasn't always mentioned among the top wrestlers to be coming up around the local area.
   "He's put a lot of work in, especially later in his wrestling life," added Lazor. "He's really improved throughout his junior high and varsity years, and has really made himself into something. He may not have been as well-known as some other kids in our program or some others in the area, but we knew we had something special when he got to our room."
   Burkett has a chance this coming season to make a little history on a few fronts. He's well within striking distance of the all-time win records for Chestnut Ridge (Tyler Dibert, 138) and the county (Bedford's Ryan Easter, 141). Also, should he reach the podium in Hershey again, Burkett would become the Lions' only three-time state medalist.

Chestnut Ridge's Aaron Burkett controls Benton's Alan Diltz during a win in the 106-pound state semifinals in March. Burkett, who went on to finish second, recently committed to wrestle at Lehigh University.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bedford's Ed Clark a coaching legend

   Earlier this week, one of Bedford's longtime coaching icons, Ed Clark, passed away at the age of 89.
   I have a more detailed story for Saturday's edition of the Bedford Gazette, but here are some of Clark's highlight accomplishments.

— Posted a wrestling record in 17 seasons of 149-24-1.
— Coached state champion Ron Hamilton, who was Bedford's last PIAA winner (1964) until Jonathan Gabriel won this past season.
— Also coached wrestlers to 71 district championships and nine regional titles.
— Had two brilliant stretches in dual meets, going 45-3 between 1961 and 1966, and went 42-4 from 1971 to 1974.
— Was named PA Coach of the Year in 1974.
— After handing the wrestling reigns to Bill Creps, Eddie took over Bedford's golf program and had nine unbeaten teams in 17 years.
— PA Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame (1980) and Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame (2006) inductee.

    Clark, also well-known for his "Eddie-isms" as a coach and a health/physical education teacher, is survived by his wife Margie and three sons among other family members. His son Jim was an outstanding coach in his own right, having guided Chestnut Ridge to 342 dual meet wins in a 31-year career. The younger Clark is also a member of both Hall of Fames mentioned above.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AAU National Duals Updates

   In further action at the 2015 AAU Scholastic Duals at Disney World, Middle Atlantic Blue and Young Guns White met in a first round match in the medal rounds of the District All-Stars Division. Middle Atlantic Blue won the dual, 56-6. There were two bouts of note to local followers:

— At 126, Luke Karam (MAB) dec. Justin McCoy (YGW), 5-2. I didn't see this bout and it is the "offseason", but a three-point loss to a two-time state champion and three-time finalist isn't a bad result for the Chestnut Ridge stud, sixth in the state as a freshman.

— At 132, Jake Boozel (YGW) dec. Jonathan Gabriel (MAB), 7-4. Interesting result here, as Mount Union product Boozel (state qualifier at 132) scores a big win over Bedford state champ Gabriel (at 126).

Monday, June 29, 2015

AAU Disney Duals

   A few local wrestlers are competing this week in the AAU National Duals at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Here are results as of Monday:

Jonathan Gabriel - Bedford
Middle Atlantic Blue
132 pounds
   (4-0 in pool rounds): won by 12-2 major decision, won by fall in 3:37, won by 6-3 decision, won by 3-1 decision
— Middle Atlantic Blue went 6-0 in District All-Stars Division Pool C

Justin McCoy - Chestnut Ridge
Young Guns White
126 pounds
   (5-1 so far in pool rounds): won by 7-0 decision, won by fall in 3:34, won by 7-5 decision, won by 3-2 decision, won by 9-4 decision, lost by 6-0 decision
— Young Guns White went 5-1 in District All-Stars Division Pool D

Ryan Wertz - Bedford
Young Guns White
170 pounds
   (1-5 so far in pool rounds): won by 5-2 decision, lost by 13-5 major decision, lost by fall in 0.46, lost by 2-0 decision, lost by fall in 1:19, lost by 7-0 decision
— Young Guns White went 5-1 in District All-Stars Division Pool D

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Chestnut Ridge Wrestling Camp

   Chestnut Ridge is holding its annual weeklong wrestling camp later this month at the high school. There is no cost to attend. See below for further information:
   Elementary, June 15 and 16 from 9-11 a.m.
   Advanced Elementary and Junior High, June 15-17 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
   Advanced Junior High and Varsity, June 17-19 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

   The camp consists of wrestling technique and live wrestling. It is run under the direction of Chestnut Ridge varsity head coach Greg Lazor, who has guided the Lions to a pair of top-four state team finishes in the last three seasons. Lazor was also named the 2012-13 PIAA Class AA State Coach of the Year.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Deremer wins MAWA title

   Chestnut Ridge sophomore Morgan Deremer won a Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association (MAWA) Eastern National wrestling championship this past weekend.
   Deremer competed at 152 pounds and won the Advanced Division crown. His championship was the highlight of a handful of other local wrestlers shining in both the Eastern Nationals and the Northeast Regional Freestyle Tournament.
   Ridge's Dylan Williams was also at Eastern Nationals and took 4th place in the Advanced Division at 115 pounds.
   At the Northeast Regional, held at East Stroudsburg University, Bedford's Jonathan Gabriel and Chestnut Ridge's Justin McCoy each had high finishes. Reigning PIAA champion Gabriel placed 2nd in the Junior Men's 132-pound bracket. McCoy ended up 3rd at 126 pounds in the Cadet Men's class.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

All-Academic Wrestling Teams

   The 2014-15 PWCA All-Academic Wrestling Teams have been released. Below are those wrestlers from District 5 that were selected. They are listed by grade.

   3rd Team - Tevin Mostoller, North Star
   Honorable Mention - Trent Crouse, Chestnut Ridge; Shane Davis, Chestnut Ridge; Jon Fabian, Somerset; Colby Hillegass, Chestnut Ridge; Luke Hobson, Chestnut Ridge

   1st Team - Aaron Burkett, Chestnut Ridge
   2nd Team - Jonathan Gabriel, Bedford
   Honorable Mention - Dillian Charlton, North Star; Gus Strasiser, North Star

   1st Team - Dylan Williams, Chestnut Ridge