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Wrestlers reflect on trip to states

Catasauqua’s Gavin Fehr didn’t finish his senior year the way he wanted at states, but he truly enjoyed the moments with teammates juniors Mikhail Hartranft and Chad Beller.

The trio was the largest Rough Rider contingent at the PIAA state tournament since 1992 when Catty sent four wrestlers to the event. In that year, former head wrestling coach and current cross country and track head coach Kyle Rusnock won a state title.

This year, all three wrestlers lost their opening matches. Fehr won his opening consolation match, but was eliminated in the next round. Both Hartranft and Beller lost their opening-round consolation matches.

Despite his outcome, Fehr enjoyed his time. He finished with a 40-9 record this year and had a lifetime record of 112-38.

“States was great,” he said. “It didn’t end how I wanted it, but getting to be out there and wrestle with two of my teammates was pretty awesome. I was really proud of how CJ and Mikhail wrestled this year, and I know they’ll get another chance to wrestle out there next year.”

His season was worthwhile.

“My season definitely was great besides the ending,” he said. “I was able to reach 100 career wins and qualify for states for the second time. As for the team, we had a great season as well. We won the Colonial League West, qualified for districts, and had an overall record of 11-5.”

Hartranft realized the level of difficulty of the tournament. He had a 33-16 record this year, and has a 59-36 career record.

“States is hard,” said Hartranft. “There’s definitely a huge gap between the competition at regionals and the competition at states. There is a lot higher pace, a lot stronger kids, and a lot more technique.

“But the season couldn’t have gone better. It was a huge wake-up call, and I know what to do for next season. And I’m not going to slow down. I’m just going to keep on grinding from here on out, keep wrestling, and lifting.

“The season was one to remember.”

Beller viewed his experience as part of the continued learning lesson. He ended the year with a 38-11 mark and has a 54-25 career slate.

“I’ve improved a lot throughout the season,” he said. “Over the last two weeks, I’ve impressed myself with how far I made it. I didn’t think I’d be at states. I have to keep working hard to try and get the gold.”