Heavier, happier: Northern’s Replogle cutting less weight
He was an underweight 103-pounder as a freshman, but Northern Bedford’s Mason Replogle has had to cut weight since that time over the course of his very long and successful career.
In fact, he might have cut a little bit too much weight last season.
Replogle is one of those tall, skinny kids you’ll find in wrestling who can cut weight, but you find it surprising they have any weight to cut.
Last year, he dropped to 113 pounds from 120 for the postseason, and from the beginning of the season to his elimination at the Southwest Regional Tournament, he estimates he lost 20 to 22 pounds. The year before, he dropped from 112 to 103.
“It’s been a struggle for him the last couple years,” Northern Bedford coach Brian Dutchcot said. “He struggled to make 113 last year. His parents talked to me about it, and I talked to Mason and told him ‘We’ll get you certified at a weight and you stay there.’ I know his parents said he was not the happiest person to be around. Most wrestlers aren’t when they’re cutting weight.”
“I like this weight a lot more,” Replogle said. “It’s not as stressful. It was pretty tough last year. There’s a lot of mental stuff to go along with cutting weight. You get your mind off your goals and start thinking about other stuff like ‘When am I going to eat?’
“I was always irritable and stuff. I actually made the decision I didn’t want to lose as much this year at the end of last season. When I lost at regionals, I decided. Coach Dutchcot said he didn’t want me losing more than 10 pounds this year.”
This year, he’s wrestling at 132 and forming a strong 1-2-3 punch in the middle of the Northern lineup with fellow senior captains Damian Corle at 138 and Drew Gartland at 145. Replogle, who is 11-2 with seven pins and ranked fifth in the Mirror rankings at a very deep weight, isn’t cutting as much weight and he feels better.
“This year, I can actually sit down and eat a meal instead of having an apple for supper,” he said. “It’s definitely more fun. Last year, I dreaded practice. This year, it’s a lot more entertaining. I definitely have a lot more energy.”
“He’s in better spirits, that’s for sure,” Dutchcot said.
Replogle has always had the leverage on most of his opponents, and he’s a bear from the top position. One thing’s had to deal with, though, at 132 is facing stronger kids than he’s used to at the lower weights.
“There’s a difference in styles,” Dutchcot said. “We’ve run into more powerful kids that Mason has had some trouble with. We ran into one of those in Southmoreland quarterfinals [in a 3-2 loss to Knoch’s Blaine Elliot]. It was hard for him to get in on the single leg. I talked to him about using his quickness. He lacks strength, but when he gets on top, he stretches people out and does a real good job.”
Replogle, who has a career record of 84-30, has probably seen a variety of styles in his opponents for the course of his career. For some, his career seems longer than it really has been.
“It really does,” said Dutchcot, who is in his second year as NBC’s head coach. “The funny thing is the Jefferson Morgan coach said something like that about Mason, Damian and Drew [at Southmoreland]. He’s been here for quite awhile, and Mason has had a lot of success, and people recognize that.”
Replogle has won more and more every year, going from 20-12 as a freshman to 26-7 as a sophomore to 27-9 last season. He came up as a freshman even though he was underweight, starting as a 112-pounder and ending at 103.
“I wanted to move up,” he said. “The only thing that was questionable was they had a 103-pounder in Cody Guyer. They moved me up originally as a 112-pounder, and then that kind of changed. I think I did all right being a small 103-pounder who wrestled a lot at 112.”
A couple things that have eluded his grasp have been a district title (second as a sophomore, third as a junior) and that trip to the PIAA Championships. He came very close to making the medal round at the Southwest Regional his sophomore year, but Ligonier Valley’s Justin Patrick rallied to beat him, 5-4, in the consolation quarterfinals.
Last year, he pinned Jefferson Morgan’s District 7 runner-up John Demaske in the opening round, but he lost to Beth-Center’s District 7 third-placer Zach Swarrow, 8-4, in the consolation quarters.
“The first year I lost, I was winning by two points, and the kid escaped and took me down,” Replogle said. “That was devastating. I came up short last year in the same round. This year, I want to make it to states.”
“Unfortunately last year, we got into a situation with Zach Swarrow,” Dutchcot said. “He did something that we haven’t seen him do too much. He went to a leg ride, got in bad position and he got taken to his back. Usually, he stays in real good position and is very intense on the mat. He’s going to try to pin you with a half nelson.”
Those losses have driven him in the offseason to want to get better. After last year’s regional, he worked on his wrestling and lifted weights to get stronger.
“I think if I wrestle to my full potential and wrestle hard, I can accomplish my goals,” he said. “I have to keep positive, keep my confidence up and don’t worry about names. I don’t want my senior to go too fast. I want to savor it, but I’m looking forward to districts.”