Mordaunt, Strouse eliminated
Jim Thorpe’s Ethan Mordaunt (right) attempts to take down Kolby Flank of Wilson in a 220-pound bout at the PIAA Championships on Friday. For a photo gallery go to www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
HERSHEY – Defeats don’t diminish legacies.
Jim Thorpe’s Ethan Mordaunt has been stellar this season, collecting his first district, regional and league titles.
Two losses Friday at the PIAA Championships prevented the senior from adding another.
Mordaunt’s tournament came to a close with a 6-4 overtime loss to Wilson’s Kolby Flank in a 220-pound third round consolation match.
“I’m absolutely proud of Ethan,” said Olympians’ head coach Shawn Albert. “He’s a great man and he’s a good wrestler. The fact that he’s not on that podium doesn’t diminish the fact that’s one of the best wrestlers to come through our program. That’s the bottom line and we’re very proud of him.”
The senior had defeated Flank three times previously this season, most recently pinning him a week ago to win the 220-pound regional title. He also posted a 6-2 decision over Flank in the district final the week earlier.
But Flank flipped the script in the fourth meeting, getting a takedown to win the match in the sudden victory portion of overtime after Mordaunt tied it with a reversal in the last seconds of the third period.
“Just like football, it’s hard to beat a team twice, it’s hard to beat them a third time. It’s the same situation with wrestling,” said Albert. “He had his opportunities there, he just didn’t get them. Good job to Flank. We wish him a lot of luck.
“But I’m proud of Ethan, and he has noting to hang his head about. Nobody likes not accomplishing their ultimate goals, but at the end of the day, he’s accomplished what sports is all about, and that’s building character, and building yourself to be a better person.”
After a scoreless first period, Mordaunt got an escape to grab a 1-0 lead. Flank got a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the third period to go up 2-1 before Mordaunt tied it with another escape.
A Flank takedown with 39 seconds to go in the third period made it 4-2 before Mordaunt tied it with his last second reversal.
In the quarterfinals, Southern Columbia’s Preston Zachman struck first and fast to hand Mordaunt his first loss of the tournament. Zachman, who was third at the Northeast Regional tournament and entered states 42-8, got a takedown and quickly put Mordaunt to his back, finishing the match in 30 seconds.
“Just from what I’ve done in the past, and how different I am today,” said Mordaunt, who also earned his 100th career victory a week ago at regionals. “As a freshman, I was kind of weak minded, a lot more than I am today.
“I’m just sad to leave these guys.”
Tamaqua’s Bronson Strouse lost 3-1 in sudden victory overtime to Boiling Springs’ Damon James in the second round of consolations, a defeat that ended his tournament.
James, who was fifth at last week’s Southeast Regional, took 1-0 lead with an escape with 1:42 left in the second period. Strouse tied it with an escape of his own with 1:28 to go in the third.
Strouse was unable to get to his offense in overtime, and James ended it with a takedown.
“The only thing he could have done a little bit better is setting up his shot, instead of forcing the shot,” said Tamaqua head coach Jim McCabe. “If he gets on the leg, he finishes his shots the majority of the time.
“He was getting a little frustrated; he was trying to get in on the leg, he wanted to finish in that first minute of overtime with a takedown, and he was unsuccessful with facing him after a shot.”
“I just have to try to keep the momentum going,” added Strouse, who won his first district title this year and was third at regionals.
Strouse made strides in Hershey in his second trip as a junior, gaining his first victory at states on Friday. Tamaqua had another underclassmen qualify for states for the first time in sophomore Nate Wickersham.
“We’ll look to mature over the summer in different aspects of wrestling,” said McCabe. “Not only him, but everybody, and work to get back here and progress and place.
“The more you get to wrestle, the more experience you get. Our goal is just to survive that round (consolation) so you can get another match. And as you survive the round, and continue to wrestle, you learn just a little bit more toward overall improvement. That’s what our goal is to try and hopefully do.”
Strouse is ready to make a run at the podium next year.
“I just have to get bigger and stronger, and put in the work during the offseason,” Strouse said.
WHAT’S NEXT … The Parade of Champions for Class 2A wrestlers is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Saturday, with the finals, third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches to follow at 2. The Parade of Champions for Class 3A wrestlers will take place at 6:45, with the finals, third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches to begin at 7.
BEEN A WHILE ... The last time the Times News area did not have a state medalist was 1996. Since 1971, there have only been four times that the Times News area has not had at least one state medalist — 1972, 1973, 1996 and 2019.