WILKES-BARRE – Trent Phillips admitted some doubt.
The Lackawanna Trail senior, seeded No. 1 at 195, found himself in an unusual spot – doubting himself in the middle of the championship bout of the District 2 Class 2A championship Saturday at the Kingston Armory.
“After he got that first takedown on me, that’s when the doubt started,” Phillips said. “He had great strength. I just kept pushing through and wrestling my hardest. And the tide started to turn.”
But like you would expect from a senior, he quickly regrouped.
Phillips rallied back, edging out Meyers’ Namir Murphy, 10-7, to claim gold at the tournament. It was his 33rd victory of the year.
“This win means a ton to me; more than I could ever imagine,” Phillips said.
Phillips will be joined at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A Northeast Regional by teammate Tyler Baltrusaitis, who placed third at 132. Trail also had two sixth-place finishers: sophomore Tom Kohinsky (138) and senior Rocco Pacini (170).
Meyers, which crowned three champs, won the team title with 216.5 points. Western Wayne (170.5), Lake-Lehman (169.5), Hanover Area (154) and Wyoming Area (127.5) rounded out the top 5. Trail finished in ninth with 71 points.
Up next for Phillips and Baltrusaitis is a trip to Williamsport High School this weekend. Phillips is the No. 2 seed and will open the tournament up against Bloomsburg senior Thomas Harrison (28-8). Montoursville’s Gavin Hoffman (41-2) is the top seed at the weight. Baltrusaitis will face a tougher draw to start at 132, facing off with Wyalusing’s Josh Haley – a junior with only four losses on the season. Valley View’s Brett Uhrin is the top seed after winning the District 2 title.
Phillips had been rolling along in the bracket – pinning Lake-Lehman’s Chuck Harry in a preliminary bout before sticking GAR’s Chris Malys to the mat in the second period during the quarterfinals.
In the semis, the Lion wasted little time before rolling up Wyoming Area’s Justin Joseph in 1 minute, 12 seconds.
That’s when he ran into Murphy, a 29-match winner from Meyers.
“That championship match showed me that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought for regionals, and I’m going to have to work hard this week in practice,” Phillips said. “To make it to states, which is my next goal, I’m going to need a great week of practice.”
Baltrusaitis’ road was different.
He opened with a major victory (13-4) over Nanticoke’s Chris Maute and added a 9-2 decision over Montrose’s Mikyle Fabrizio to earn a berth in Saturday’s semifinals.
There, he ran into Uhrin – who rolled to a 13-3 victory. Baltrusaitis battled back through the consolations, picking up wins over Elk Lake’s Keaton Smith and Fabrizio to earn the regional berth.
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