In a few days, we'll hang the new 2010 calendar, and with the close of the decade, it's time to look back at the top wrestlers, events, teams and trends in the Mirror coverage area.
Story of the decade: This one has to be the rise, fall, rise and fall of Juniata Valley's Garrett Scott.
He lost two classic bouts to Forest Hills' Jake Strayer as a freshman in 2002-03 in the District 6 Class AA and Southwest Regional 119-pound finals and then won the first of his three state titles after Strayer was upset early in the PIAA Championships. Scott continued to dominate and won state titles as a sophomore and junior at 130 and 135, respectively.
But it started to unravel for Scott his senior year as a run-in with the law off the mat and a broken jaw on the mat gave fans and fellow wrestlers a chance to speculate what was going on. Scott came back from the broken jaw and won district and regional titles, but he was suspended by the Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School in Orbisonia, not Juniata Valley, the day he was to leave for Hershey to begin his quest for a rare fourth gold medal for violating school internet policy.
While others like me were still arguing about the timing of the suspension, he wrestled in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and was named the Outstanding Wrestler for Pennsylvania. The Penn State recruit lost his scholarship as he attended the university on a part-time basis as a freshman.
The next year, he was on the PSU roster and in trouble again. Former coach Troy Sunderland suspended him before the 2007-2008 season after an arrest for underage drinking. Scott was allowed to return, and he won the Penn State Open by beating Strayer.
Troy Sunderland couldn't decide on how to solve having Scott and Strayer at the same weight. When he was in the lineup, Scott went 21-7 and became the starter for the postseason. He placed seventh in the Big Ten Championships to qualify for the NCAAs.
Shortly after that, Sunderland kicked Scott off the team for good. Scott landed at Edinboro University, where he redshirted last season. Scott, however, left the university this year.
Team of the decade: This one has to be Bedford. The Bisons are on a roll no other team in this area has been in quite some time. The Bisons, led by three-time Mirror Coach of the Year Brian Creps, have won 39 regular-season matches in a row since losing to Central Cambria, 35-28, on Dec. 19, 2006, breaking the school record of 37 set by the 1997-98 Bisons.
Bedford finished fourth in last season's PIAA Team Championships, becoming the first school in the area to earn a medal in the event. Claysburg-Kimmel reached the semifinals in 1999, but there were no consolation rounds then.
Biggest addition: The biggest would be the addition of the 215-pound weight class in 2002-03. Until that season, if a wrestler weighed more than 200 pounds, they either had to wrestle with the big boys at 275- and later 285 - or make the cut to 189.
Continuing trend: It's disturbing and it's different in different areas of the state, but District 6 teams, especially smaller ones, continue to battle lack of numbers and giving up forfeits. Coaches have been forced to either go out and recruit within the school or deal with it and give up forfeits.
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at email@example.com.