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Wagner makes it to finals

Carson Wagner closed out his Northampton wrestling career with a weekend in Hershey that included everything but claiming the title.

In the quarterfinals, he beat a state runner up and the third-ranked 114-pounder in the state to secure his fourth state medal, only the fourth K-Kids’ wrestler to achieve the feat.

In the semifinals, he came back from being down 4-0 at the start of the third period and 5-2 with 16 seconds left to beat a past state champion and the previously undefeated second-ranked wrestler in the weight class in PA to reach the final.

The match with Kaedyn Williams of Manheim Township will no doubt go down as the highlight of Wagner’s high school career.

“I knew he was out of gas. The injury time (with 1:05 left) was the turning point. I knew it was my time to push him,” Wagner said of his comeback.

The K-Kid made good on his observation by scoring a takedown with 34 seconds left to cut his deficit to 4-2. After cutting Williams loose and needing more than takedown to at least extend the match, Wagner induced a roar from the Giant Center crowd when he took the former state champion directly to his back and held him there until time expired.

Wagner described the decisive 5-point move, “He was in on a high crotch. I got the Assassin on him, turned him. That’s what I got with Nasdeo (Cael of Williamsport, the 2023 121-pound state champion) at the beginning of the year (at the Top Hat tournament).”

The only thing standing in Wagner’s way all postseason was Bethlehem Catholic phenom Nathan Desmond, who took the district, regional, and state titles at 114 pounds to register his second postseason sweep in as many years.

Although disappointed with the result in the final, Wagner took satisfaction with being able to wrestle his final high school match on the championship mat at states.

“It felt good to finally be walking out being in the championship match. It hurts to lose a big match like that, it’s a hard loss, a big loss, but looking back on everything I’ve done in my high school career, I can’t hang my head on this. I know I’ve done a lot.”

Head coach Joe Provini reflected on his senior wrestler. “I’m so happy for Carson. Carson is a kid who does everything right. He’s a good student. His classmates like him. The teachers like him. He works hard every day. He did everything I asked of him all year long. 4-time place winner, that’s very rare. It’s an incredible accomplishment.”

Wagner, a commit to Binghampton University, finished his Northampton career with a record of 115-39 and four medals at the each of the district, regional, and state levels. He was the district and regional champion at 106 his sophomore year.

Press photos by Don Herb Carson Wagner made it all the way to the state finals but lost to a familiar opponent for second place.