When Bedford steps on the Giant Center mats for an 8 a.m. PIAA Class AA Team Duals second-round match against District 7 runner-up Shady Side Academy, they’ll be treading new ground.
No Bedford team has wrestled in the PIAA Team Duals since the tournament’s inception in 1999. The Bisons won the 1999 District 5 Duals, but they lost a first-round wrestle-in match.
This Bedford team appears prepared to take on the best of the best in the state. The Bisons are 15-0, have beaten three undefeated teams and are coming off of Tuesday’s 61-9 romp over Claysburg-Kimmel.
“It’s unbelievable the roll we’ve been on,” Bedford coach Brian Creps said. “Forest Hills was undefeated. Westmont was undefeated. Northern Bedford was undefeated. Chestnut Ridge had two losses. And we beat Northern Bedford again. We’re looking for good things this weekend.
“I think our kids are ready to go. We really have been working hard in preparation for this weekend. I think it’s all starting to come together for us.”
The Bisons, who are sixth in the state in the latest Off The Mat Rankings, will face a Shady Side team that is 22-2 and ranked third by OTM.
They’re led by two returning state champions in fifth-ranked Frank Martellotti at 112 and top-ranked Dane Johnson at 125. They also have second-ranked freshman Geoff Alexander at 103.
Bedford can respond with Trey Easter (23-5) at 103, Cory Thomas (20-2) at 112 and possibly big-bout tested Devin Cook (15-6) at 125.
The winner will wrestle District 4 champion Towanda (27-4) in the noon quarterfinals. The loser will wrestle a first-round consolation match at 4 p.m. and have a chance at wrestling back for third.
With a bunch of talented wrestlers back this season, Creps said he saw his team having a good chance at participating in the Duals. So, he took steps toward preparing the Bisons for this time.
“We took a lot of these kids down last year to watch in anticipation of coming to this point,” Creps said. “So, I think a lot of them have an idea of what we’re walking into down there. We know we have to wrestle well.”
Fact BoxState duals
When: Second-round Class AA dual meets begin at 8 a.m.
Where: Hershey’s Giant Center
Bedford’s opponent: Shady Side Academy is 22-2 and the District 7 runner-up to Burrell.
What’s at stake: The winner moves on to noon quarterfinals to face District 4 champion Towanda (27-4). The loser wrestles in a consolation match at 4 p.m.
Bedford fact: Bedford has never wrestled in the PIAA Team Duals.