Tigers grapplers take down Pirates
With this being his senior season, Matt Peters isn’t taking anything for granted.
Ever since Peters qualified for the PIAA wrestling tournament as a freshman, luck hasn’t necessarily been on his side. Injuries have derailed his sophomore and junior seasons, keeping Peters out of postseason wrestling in each of the past two years.
But Peters is looking to put all of that behind him with one last season to go. And he’s off to a solid start in his quest to get back to Hershey for states.
Peters was one of three Northwestern grapplers to earn pins in Tuesday’s 44-27 win against Palisades. He improved his individual record to 5-1 on the season.
“I think I wrestled tough,” Peters said. “I was pushing the pace out there. There are a couple of things I could have done better, but overall I think I wrestled tough and wrestled hard.
“In the beginning we had a couple of toss-ups that we broke off, so that was good for the team. It got us going. We fell short in a couple of matches, but we stayed positive and pushed the pace.”
After Palisades decided to bump its 170-pounder up a weight class, which earned Northwestern’s Caleb Clymer a forfeit victory, Tyler Watson (182) and Quinn Moyer (220) earned impressive falls for the Tigers.
“Tyler Watson wrestled awesome,” head coach Jim Moll said. “He was physical, aggressive and intense. He did a great job, and that was big because they forfeited Clymer and bumped up. It kind of backfired on them.”
When it got to the bottom of the lineup, the Tigers gained a bit of separation. A forfeit at 106 pounds for Jake Dellicker put the Tigers ahead 24-12. Northwestern dropped its next two matches, but another forfeit win, this one to Harrison Bernhard, gave the Tigers a bit more breathing room.
And then Peters came through with the most convincing win of the match. After jumping out to a 6-2 lead in the opening period, Peters used a cement job to pin Palisades’ Mason Smeland late in the second period.
“I think in years past I worried about who I was wrestling more and how good they were,” Peters said. “This year I don’t really care. I’m going to go out and wrestle my match, and push the pace for the full six minutes. If I do that I’m going to come out on top.”
“The way he wrestled tonight, that’s the way he wrestles every practice,” Moll said. “That’s the way he does every drill. He looks great. I’m excited for him.”
Colton Rex earned a major decision at 145 pounds, and Jackson Bernhard earned a decision to close the match at 160.
Nearly a year from when Peters encountered an accident that resulted in surgery to his patella tendon and forced him to miss the Holiday Classic at Liberty, he is just days away from that stage once again.
This time, he’s hoping to have a successful run at Liberty and into districts, regionals and states.
“I was wrestling pretty decent, and I was getting better every day,” Peters said. “And that’s what I was excited for. I think Christmas Eve practice we were wrestling real tough. I was excited to go into the [Liberty] Holiday Classic, just to see how I could do and compete with some quality wrestlers.
“It makes me work a lot harder for sure because I know I could have done a lot more out at states, especially missing sophomore and junior year. It makes me want it more since I haven’t competed there since freshman year.”