MILTON — Milton’s Paul Rohland was at least four inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than Warrior Run’s Caleb Long when when they took the mat for the wrestling version of the two school’s backyard rivalry Tuesday night. Long is senior leader for the Defenders with 15 victories in during his two seasons as a starter while Rohland is a sophomore with immense promise after a good junior high season a year ago and a fall in his lone varsity bout last weekend.
Milton freshman Alex Hoffman didn’t face the physical disadvantages that Rohland encountered but after a disappointing loss in varsity debut against Bloomsburg on Saturday he was looking for his first varsity win against junior Kalen Ritenour, a part-time starter for the Defenders last season
In what had to be a rated as critical toss-up bouts for both teams, Rohland made a first period takedown stand up for a 3-1 decision and Hoffman handled Ritenour in an 8-0 major decision. With those two bouts falling the Black Panthers way, Milton rode a six-pin effort down the stretch to a decisive 46-18 win in HAC-II action.
“On paper I had those two matches maybe going either way,” Milton coach Josh Anspach said. “We really didn’t know what we were going to get with just five days of practice and then competing right way and we didn’t know where our conditioning was going to be. We had a game plan for Paul and he stuck to it. He’s intelligent and he stayed in good position. He just wrestled a really smart bout. Hoffman is going to get better every time out. He’s got more offense than he showed tonight but as a freshman he’s a little tentative.”
Milton improved to 2-0 while the Defenders lost their opener.
“This season has been like a farmer trying to plant a crop and harvest it all in a month to get a yield that will get him through the winter,” Warrior Run coach Jeremy Betz said of his team’s lack of practice and the prospect of 8 matches over the next 18 days. “We are trying to get everything done in a month and there’s not enough time to get the field plowed and the fertilizer down. We will have to compete ourselves into shape. The kids are excited to compete but I don’t think it’s the quality of wrestling that we’d normally see this time of year.”
The Defenders did build an 18-3 lead after Rohland’s victory, getting a forfeit at 113 — there was no bout at 106 — and falls from lightweight standouts Kaden Milheim and Kaden Majcher. Milheim cradled Ryan Bickhart for a first period pin while Majcher converted 11 takedowns before pinning Quinn Keister in the third period.
But Warrior Run wouldn’t win again. The Black Panthers got a first period fall from Aiden Keiser at 132 and Tim Walter survived a bloody nose and Nathan Michael for a 3-2 win at 138. Senior Kyler Crawford earned a fall late in the first period at 145 to bring the Black Panthers back to even at 18-18.
“We’ve all been looking forward to getting the season started,” Crawford said. “It sucks that the first part of the season was cancelled. We have been working hard in practice and wanted to have fun out here.”
And it certainly was fun for Milton after Crawford, a two-time state qualifier, won his 72nd career match. After that, Crawford’s workout partner, Chase Hoffman used a cement job to get a fall over Landon Kurtz at 152.
“For Kyler and Chase, it’s all about business,” Anspach said. “They know waht to expect and what type of bout they want to wrestle before they take the mat. They have the ability to end the match at any time. They are the leaders of this team.”
Jason Valladares, Aven Ayala, and Nathan Rauch closed out the win with falls.
“We are going to be getting a lot of competition here in the next month and we want to focus each match,” Anspach said. “It’s going to go fast and it will be easy to fall into a funk and we want to avoid that. They need to have a short memory and move on to the next match.
Warrior Run is back in action at home Thursday night with Towanda while Milton’s hosts Shamokin at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Milton 46, Warrior Run 18285:
Paul Rohland, Mil, dec. Caleb Long, 3-1
Anson Rouch, WR, won by forfeit
Kaden Milheim, WR, pinned Ryan Bickhart, 2:52
Kaden Majcher, WR, pinned Quinn Keister, 5:03
Aiden Keiser, Mil, pinned Isaac Butler, 1:18
Tim Walter, Mil, dec. Nathan Michael, 3-2
Kyler Crawford, Mil, pinned Colton Kirkner, 1:50
Chase Hoffman, Mil, pinned Landon Kurtz, 2:36
Alex Hoffman, Mil, major dec. Kalen Ritenour, 8-0
Jason Valladares, Mil, pinned Taylor Wise, 3:06
Aven Ayala, Mil, pinned Ethan Litchard, 1:31
215: Nathan Rauch, Mil, pinned Austin Witmer, 1:17