WILKES-BARRE — In three previous appearances in the District 2 Class 3A Tournament, Nick Carr fell short of achieving the ultimate goal of winning a district championship.
In fact, the Abington Heights 160-pounder only reached the Northeast Regional Tournament just once before in his career.
That changed on Saturday as the senior won his first district title with the victory at the Kingston Armory.
“It means so much to me because I’ve been working so hard,” he said. “I was just happy that I can show my ability, my skill and my dedication and I’m just happy that I achieved my goals.”
Carr won the bracket as the No. 2 seed and upset the No. 1 seed, Tunkhannock’s Dalton Ray 8-2 in the championship match.
“I didn’t pay much attention to it. Focusing on that is not gonna help me,” he said about the seed despite entering with just one loss this season to Ray’s two-loss campaign entering the event. “I just need to wrestle from where I am and that’s what I did. I didn’t let it bother me and I just wrestled my match.”
Carr not only won the match, he won it with ease to advance to this weekend’s Northeast Regional Tournament at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. Carr said he knew Ray was going to be a tough opponent; he was a No. 1 seed for a reason. But as the match went on, his confidence grew.
“I knew he was a good wrestler and he’s wrestled some good kids, beat some good kids and I knew I would have to give it my all if I wanted to win and I did,” he said. “Going into the match I didn’t think I’d have such an easy time. But after the first period after I got the first takedown I knew that I could dominate the match. I could feel it.”
Carr defeated Dallas’ Xavier Barber in the tournament’s semifinals by major decision to advance to the finals. But he escaped an upset after nearly pinning himself while trying to get back points. But the referee didn’t see it, and Carr advanced.
At regionals, Carr is the top seed in the 160-pound bracket, which consists of Ray, Barber and Delaware Valley’s Gabe Laucella from District 2, five wrestlers from the ever-so-tough District 11 and five wrestlers from District 12.
Carr’s teammate Noah Sirianni also advanced to regionals from the Comets. The senior finished second in the 106-pound bracket falling to Wyoming Valley West freshman David Krokowski in the finals.
The top four finishers at regionals will advance to the PIAA Championships at Giant Center in Hershey on March 10, 11, 12.
Tunkhannock’s Bill Manley (145) also won the gold medal in his weight class during the District 2 Class 3A wrestling tournament.
Tunkhannock’s Josh Beeman (113), Tom Traver (126), Jake Richards (138), Mike Manley (152), Ray, Sam Rice (195), and Ricky Stevens (220) will also advance to regionals.
Tunkhannock placed second out of 14 schools in the team standings with a score of 191.0.
Traver, Mike Manley and Rice joined Ray as second place finishers for the Tigers. Richards placed third, Beeman and Stevens finished fourth.
Carr (33-1) has a bye in the first round of regionals. He will face the winner of the match between East Stroudsburg South’s Richard Nations (29-6) and Central High’s Vlad Falendysh (24-14) in his first bout of the competition.
Sirianni (32-3) will face Franklin Towne Charter’s Conner Shousky (23-4) in the first round.
Bill Manley (37-5) will face South Philadelphia’s Kareem Fuller (20-7) in his first bout.
Beeman (24-20) will face Parkland’s Nick Dolak (29-8) in the first round.
Traver (36-7) will face Ian Pulli (14-26) of Nazareth in his opening bout.
Richards (37-10) will face Roman Catholic’s Matthew Grueninger (29-7) in the first round.
Mike Manley (38-8) will face East Stroudsburg North’s Darrien Roberts (28-4) in his first bout.
Ray (38-3) will face Aidan O’Shaughnessy (21-12) of St. Joseph’s Prep in the first round.
Rice (32-7) will face Pocono Mountain West’s Greg Bensley (30-5) in his opening match.
Stevens (30-15) will face Trent Thomas (28-4) of Pleasant Valley in his first bout.
Robert Tomkavage contributed to this report. Reach Dave Rosengrant at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @tldrosengrant.