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Hartranft made his mark at Catasauqua

Ever since he entered the doors of Catasauqua High School, Jaryn Hartranft has had one major thing in mind. He wanted to wrestle.

Over the past four years, he certainly made his mark in the sport. In addition, he also had a four-year stint in cross country, a career overshadowed by his successful wrestling vocation.

Because of his efforts and accomplishments, Hartranft has been named the Catasauqua Press Male Athlete of the Year.

For the record, Hartranft recorded a 39-6 slate this past winter with 23 pins, and an overall 109-39 mark with 58 falls in four seasons. He was a four-time district qualifier, three-time regional qualifier and one-time state visitor. Hartranft wrestled anywhere from 145 to 160 over the past two years.

Ironically, Hartranft began his wrestling career due to a friend’s suggestion. His father, Jason, guided him through the new waters.

“I remember it was in first grade,” Hartranft recalled. “I had a couple of friends approach me and told me that I should try wrestling. I figured I would give it a try. My dad has been with me through all of it.

“I’ve fallen in love with it ever since.”

Hartranft played other sports in middle school, but he knew wrestling would be his sport in high school.

“Once I got to high school, I really wanted to focus on wrestling,” he said. “In middle school, I was having success with wrestling. I knew I had to keep working on it.”

In middle school, Hartranft wasn’t discouraged by a dislocated shoulder, a problem that occurred more than once.

“I just had it wrapped and did everything I could,” he said. “I did a lot of leg workouts and ran as much as I could.

“I kept a positive attitude, and I never stopped working.”

His first varsity matches proved to be ones of reflection.

“At first, it was very hard,” he remembered. “I was really nervous. At the end of the match, I ended up crying because of all the people.

“But I gained a lot of motivation from it. From there, I didn’t worry about who I was wrestling. I just went out there and wrestled.”

Hartranft wrestled at 106 his freshman and sophomore years, and he compiled an overall 64-16 record with 33 falls. During his sophomore year, Hartranft made it to states, but he didn’t place.

During COVID in his junior year, Hartranft had just a 6-3 record and finished third in districts. He realized it wouldn’t be a totally productive campaign.

“It wasn’t very good,” said Hartranft. “We all just tried to support each other the best we could. It was hard to stay in wrestling shape. You had to run on a treadmill and do what you could.

“We got hit hard with it at Catty. We did what we could.”

Hartranft took the time to work on his shots, which eventually helped him score more points.

“I really wanted to work on them more,” he said. “I scored more and more points about it the past two years. I became more aggressive and active.”

Head coach Joe Russo recognized Hartranft’s contributions to the program.

“He had a historic career with 109 wins in basically three seasons due to COVID,” said Russo. “He was a four-time district finalist, which only happened a few times in our town.

“Our coaches were fortunate to watch him grow since first grade into our team leader. He had the rare combination of skill, determination, and love of the sport.”

Hartranft also had plenty of admiration for his coach.

“He’s a great coach,” said Hartranft. “I couldn’t have gotten this far without him. He was always there for me.”

Hartranft also has had a long relationship with cross country head coach Kyle Rusnock, who previously was the head wrestling coach. Rusnock has watched Hartranft through his years, and appreciated his contributions in cross country.

“I really ran cross country to try and stay in shape,” said Hartranft. “I was competitive with it, and it was fun. I had some good times and some good races.”

Rusnock saw a focused approach in all of Hartranft’s efforts.

“Jaryn is a dedicated athlete and a talented wrestler,” said Rusnock. “Over the years, he has put a lot of time in running cross country and wrestling in the offseason.

“Jaryn’s mental and physical toughness will carry him to that next level.”

Hartranft’s next step will be attending Wilkes University in the fall, where he’ll continue his wrestling career.

“When I was at the Jim Thorpe tournament last year, one of their coaches spoke to me for a while,” said Hartranft. “He wanted me to make a visit. I met the head coach, and the staff showed a lot of interest in me. I felt like I could be at home there.”

Over the last four years, Hartranft made the mats his home in Catty and across the Lehigh Valley.