The Williamsport wrestling team is loaded, to say the least.
After a fourth-place finish in the United States last year, the Millionaires entered the 2021-22 season ranked 6th among all AAA class doubles teams in Pennsylvania by PA Power Wrestling – the highest ranking the program has ever seen. never received by the point of sale.
With a roster of four returning state qualifiers and a starting lineup mostly of decorated upper class students, the ceiling is high for Williamsport. Millionaires know it too.
“I’m a little disappointed that we weren’t higher, especially in fourth place (in the United States) last year” said junior Cael Nasdeo. “But it’s respectable, I mean it’s exciting, we’re sixth, but obviously we want to be higher.”
Nasdeo was a state runner-up last year and is now the top-ranked 113-pounder in Pennsylvania. The Penn State commitment took second place at the Tom Best Memorial Top Hat tournament last weekend after falling to Northampton’s Carson Wagner, who is ranked No.2 in the state behind Nasdeo.
The final 113th bout between the two was a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal in the PIAA tournament, where Nasdeo won 3-1. After reaching the Top Hat Final in his freshman year, the first half of Nasdeo’s college career has been fruitful with deep tournament runs.
“I feel like I have a target on my back, but there is more to show and prove” Nasdeo said ahead of his junior campaign.
Williamsport finished Day 1 of the Top Hat tournament in seventh place with 42.5 points. From there, however, the Millionaires made it through Day 2 and sent three more wrestlers to the final with Nasdeo.
Two of those wrestlers – Bucknell hires Braden and Riley Bower – won the 138 and 145 pound titles to give Williamsport a third place finish at 175 points. Last weekend marked the first time the school had multiple Top Hat winners since the mid-90s.
A good start for Millionaires, they are now turning the page on their next challenge in a very early timeline. With the Top Hat in the books, Williamsport is stepping up a gear towards the King of the Mountain tournament as well as the Powerade ahead of the New Year.
“These next few weeks are very busy for us”, senior official Charles Crews said. “We’re all going to showcase our talent and all the hard work we’ve put in all season to show we’re a great team. “
Crews was the fourth Millionaires wrestler to reach the final after defeating Brayden Blackwell of Central Mountain with a fall at 3:23 and winning a 5-1 decision over Ethan Miller of Central York.
In the last fight at 285, Emmanuel Ulrich of Mifflinburg escaped to break the tie for a narrow 3-2 victory over Crews. With the best Top Hat performance in more than two decades for Williamsport, the Millionaires are eager to put some distance between themselves and their preseason poll.
“We are very excited, ready to move up the rankings”, The crews said.
Ranked No. 12 in the state at 285, Crews started wrestling in seventh grade. Now he’s a heavyweight climbing the ranks since he first stepped on the mat.
“Since then, I have been improving year after year. I just finished fourth at Fargo this summer so seeing all the hard work pay off and seeing what will happen this season, it’s going to be very nice to watch ”, The crews said.
The only other school in the AAA class area with a double state rank higher than Williamsport is Central Mountain at No.4. The Wildcats have depth all over their roster with a sizable group of underclass students. .
With two of the top 30 freshmen – Dalton Perry at No.1 and Taylor Weaver at No.29 – as well as State Place winners Luke Simcox and Derek Keen, in addition to the return of eight district qualifiers, the Wildcats are stacked every avenue of their program.
King of the Mountain presents the perfect opportunity for the two teams to meet again just after a close final between the two.
“We saw a little, we are mainly focused on ourselves. Central Mountain is hot on our list just because we haven’t beaten them in a while, ” Nasdeo said. “We could definitely beat them this year, we have the roster, we equip ourselves well against them. We’re just going to keep competing no matter who’s in front of us.
The millionaires were close. The Wildcats finished just 11 points ahead of Williamsport to take second place in the Top Hat tournament.
With the King of the Mountain tournament starting this Friday, the Millionaires will have another shot at Central Mountain in their own gym. But the goals are set higher than any regular season game.
“We all have high expectations to do better than last year. We want to be state champions ”, Nasdeo said. “We want our team to be state champions and we’ll do our best to be there. This is what we say to ourselves every day in practice. So that’s the goal.