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Colon ready for district wrestling

With the District XI 3A Individual Wrestling Tournament on the horizon, Whitehall will be looking to maximize its opportunities to advance as many wrestlers as possible.

One of those wrestlers is junior Johnny Colon. Colon had another strong year for the Zephyrs, winning five of his six matches. His lone loss came in a tough, 4-3 decision to Emmaus’ Marco Albanese. Additionally, he earned bonus points in three of his fives wins, recording two pins and a technical fall.

Colon and his teammates are now preparing for the D-11 individual tourney that is set to begin this Saturday. The format will be different this season, splitting the day into two halves, but his preparation will remain the same. He said that they’re working really hard in practice, and he feels he’s wrestling his best right now in the ramp-up to the tournament. He credits the coaches for getting everyone where they need to be heading into Saturday.

“I feel like the coaching staff is doing a really good job of getting us to peak,” said Colon. “This is the best I’ve wrestled all year.”

While they haven’t had dual meet competitions in a couple of weeks, Colon believes that all the work inside the wrestling room has paid dividends. He’s ready to go, and will be wrestling at 122 pounds during the tournament. He said he’s aware of the wrestlers in his weight class, but isn’t focused on who he’ll oppose when the brackets are released on Friday. He looks at it as an opportunity for victory no matter who’s across from him in the circle.

“Every match is a winnable match,” he said.

Last year Colon had a strong district tournament, finishing sixth, and missing the regional round when he lost the five-six bout by just three points.

That task will be made more difficult since the number of wrestlers advancing to the regional round will be trimmed to three instead of the customary five that preceded COVID-19 restrictions.

Still, last year’s experience proved valuable for Colon. He said he was disappointed with the final outcome, but believes he gave the tournament his best shot.

“I felt like I still did good,” said Colon.

This season has been marked by several challenges. All the upheaval has limited the number of dual meets they’ve wrestled this year. Head coach Tim Cunningham said that the team stayed away from competing in February for precautionary reasons. However, it allowed them to work in the wrestling room and that proved beneficial.

“It gave the guys more practice time to drill and work on fine tuning the little things that can make a difference in close matches,” said Cunningham. “We are looking forward to competing in this weekend’s district tourney.”

Colon said that his goal is to place among the top three and make it to regionals. He said that the entire team was invited to list their goals, and that advancing to the regional round was the uppermost goal on that list.

Colon said that he’s ready to meet the challenges of the D-11 Individual tourney. And with all the practice time he’s put in, he’s looking forward to seeing how it will all shake out when some of the best wrestlers in the country gather once again at Liberty High School.