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Clymer finishes third at CCI

The growing Coal Cracker Invitational wrestling tournament attracted teams from all parts of Pennsylvania and beyond last weekend at Lehighton High School. The event featured big schools like Parkland, Central Dauphin and St. Joe’s Prep, although the team title went to Faith Christian of Bucks County.

The Tigers finished 28th out of the 60 teams that competed in the tournament as two Northwestern wrestlers placed in the event. Dalton Clymer (172) took third place, while Buck Miller finished seventh at the Coal Cracker.

A state qualifier last season, Clymer (28-3) rebounded from a tough loss in the quarterfinals with an impressive run through the consolation bracket. It started with a 15-4 major decision over Jarod Bullington of Selinsgrove Area. He followed that up with decisions over Hazleton’s Robert Anderson and Palisades’ Danny Haubert. Clymer then punctuated the run with a 3-1 decision over Wilson West Lawn’s Blaise Eidle in the third-place match.

Eidle went ahead 1-0 in the second period with an escape, but Clymer answered with an escape of his own early in the third period to tie it before getting a takedown with two seconds remaining to secure the win.

“A win is a win, they always feel great,” said Clymer. “But some of these kids I’ll be hitting further down the road. I know kids I’ve lost to, that’s in the back of my mind when I’m about to wrestle them again, ‘Man, I lost to this kid last time.’

“From a mental standpoint, it’s huge to have that over your opponent. I’m just glad I was able to get those wins today where it counted.”

Clymer lost by technical fall to Faith Christian Academy’s Adam Waters (29-1) in the quarters. Waters, the seventh seed, went on to post a major decision in the semifinals, before winning the title with another technical fall.

“The loss is obviously not what I wanted, but to bounce back and take third - I’m happy with that,” said Clymer. “I wrestled a good kid. Adam’s (Waters) a great wrestler and good for him to finish on top. But I’m glad I was able to wrestle back. I’m happy with how I finished.”

Miller (24-5) - who also reached the quarterfinals and qualified for states a season ago - came back to place seventh with a 14-3 major decision over Central Dauphin’s Eli Poyer at 191 pounds.

Several other Tigers also won a few matches at the Coal Cracker. Luke Fugazzotto joined Clymer and Miller in the quarterfinals but lost two straight matches and came up just short of placing.

“I think this tournament’s probably increasing in difficulty compared to years past,” said Northwestern head coach Joe Killar. “There’s 60 teams in it. So for our guys to compete in it is a good test to see where they are. Some guys got it taken to them, and have work to do. Others are doing fine. So it’s a good test just to see where they all are for this time of year, right before districts, so it’s a great time.”

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Northwestern's Dalton Clymer finished third at last weekend's Coal Cracker Invitational at Lehighton High School.