Hartranft eyes deep postseason runs
In his first visit to the District 11 wrestling tournament, Catasauqua’s Mikhail Hartranft knew it wasn’t going to be an easy experience.
The team was decimated with COVID outbreaks and constant shutdowns.
“It was the COVID year,” recalled Hartranft, who wrestled at 106 and placed fourth at districts with an overall 6-2 record. “It was my freshman year, and we had a lot of COVID around.
“If it was a normal season, I would have gone to regionals.”
Now, three years later, Hartranft is ready for his final round at districts and possibly beyond as a senior leader on the Rough Riders squad.
Heading into districts in two weeks, Hartranft has an overall 21-11 mark at 121 pounds with 18 falls at the weight.
He has a positive outlook heading into the postseason despite being bothered by a torn labrum and separated shoulder. Last season, Hartranft posted an overall 33-16 record with a fourth-place finish at districts and sixth at regionals in the 121-pound bracket. Hartranft also was a state qualifier, but he didn’t place.
“I’m pretty confident heading into districts,” beamed Hartranft. “I’m pretty confident that can win districts, but I’m not too happy with how I did in the beginning of the season. I had a horrible shoulder injury in the first tournament that disabled me form wrestling and winning.
“Thankfully, it didn’t wipe me out of the season, and I’ve been working on rehab for it the past few months.”
Head coach Jonathan Reed envisions his grappler making a deep postseason run.
“Mikhail is wrestling very well at this point in the season,” stated Reed. “He had some injury issues earlier on, but the layoff we have until individual districts should help him tremendously to get back completely healthy.
“If his body is healthy and his mind is right, he can go with anyone in the state. I know his goals are to be a district champion and make it back to Hershey with a medal and he believes in himself. His weight class is a tough one with a lot of kids that he has battled the last couple of years.
“The region doesn’t get any easier as District 3 always has some very talented kids, and Faith Christian has some unbelievable wrestlers at every weight.”
Reed also believes Hartranft can stay focused.
“He needs to take one match at a time,” said the head coach. “He shouldn’t worry about who he is wrestling and stay offensive. The sky is the limit to how far he can go and climb the podiums at districts, regionals and states.”
Hartranft also sees a path to Hershey ahead.
“I do like the competition that I will face,” he said. “Every kid in my bracket I have wrestled and beaten in the past. I have no doubt that there will be some extremely tough matches.
“It’s time for me (and fellow senior) Chad Beller to bring Catty home a medal.”