WILKES-BARRE – The result didn’t really shock Harold Shotwell.
The Nanticoke head coach has been watching his 170-pound junior Derek Fisher wrestle through the junior high system.
“Real talented kid,” he said.
The turnaround in just one year’s time might shock some.
Fisher continued his rise toward the top of the District 2 Class 2A ranks in his weight, reaching the district semifinals with a 7-1 victory over GAR’s Rashaun Mathis at the Kingston Armory.
“I knew just to wrestle, do what I do best,” said Fisher, who beat Mathis for the second time this season. “That was probably the best match that I’ve had on top all season. I’ve grown to know him pretty well. He knows my style and I know his style. The first takedown takes all the nerves away. Everything just flows from there.”
Meyers is currently first in the team standings with 57 points, while Western Wayne (56) and Lake-Lehman (51) round out the top three. Hanover Area and Lackawanna Trail are tied for fourth with 41 points.
The Wildcats have eight of 14 wrestlers in the semifinals, while Meyers and Lehman each send seven forward in the championship round. Moving on for the Mohawks are Colin Pasone (103), Mike Dempsey (113), Tyler Patronick (138), Gino Setta (145), Quince Hutchings (152), Johntae Meyers (160) and Kyle Krepich (285). Lehman still has Rodney Driscoll (113), Austin Harry (132), Thomas Williams (152), Bobby Wright (160), Derek Dragon (170), Brady Butler (182) and Phil Hettes (220) alive in the championships.
It’s amazing when you look at the numbers.
As a sophomore, Fisher took his lumps on the varsity squad. He finished with a 7-22 record, and a sixth-place finish in the district.
How much of a difference does one year make?
He already has 25 victories, and has a real strong chance to reach the district final. Fisher already defeated his semifinal opponent, Blue Ridge’s Addison Parsons, twice in 2013-14 – including a 7-2 victory in their last match.
“The whole year, I’ve been focused on districts,” Fisher said. “I’ve just tried to win all of my matches and get the experience that I needed for this tournament. I just want to wrestle hard in districts, get to regionals and see what happens from there.”
Against Mathis, Fisher wasted no time.
He drove in deep waist, dropped to one leg and pulled the Grenadier to the mat. He later added three near-fall points for a 5-0 lead after one.
After holding down Mathis the entire second period, Fisher added a double-leg dump in the final period.
“I had him on junior high, and he went all over for offseason tournaments,” Shotwell said. “He sort of regressed a little bit, but he went right back to basics this year, wrestling to his strengths. He’s a strong kid. Nobody wrestles the same. I try to look at the strengths and coach to them. We want them to be the best they can be using their given abilities.”
Brad Glazenski’s berth in the semifinals is no surprise.
Seeded No. 2 in the 120-pound bracket, the Hanover Area senior dominated his quarterfinal opponent, Bryan Hammer of Lackawanna Trail, in the quarters. Glazenski quickly shot in and picked up the takedown before sticking his opponent with 38 seconds left in the first.
“My goals are take the district title and don’t get taken down,” said the senior, who was a regional qualifier last season. “You have to stay focused. I’m working hard in the room to make sure I don’t make any mistakes out there. It’s a big crowd, and you can lose focus really easily if you are not mentally ready. You have to do what you have to do.”
The Hawkeyes have five in the semifinals, including freshman Jeffrey Bennett (103), who disposed of his quarterfinal opponent, Scranton Prep’s A.J. Sluko, in just 20 seconds.
He’ll meet up with Montrose’s Jacob O’Brien in the semifinals, and if he wins, could face off with Meyers’ freshman standout Colin Pasone in the finals. Pasone, the top seed at 103, needed just 27 seconds to dispose of GAR’s Moises Tlatenchi.
“I knew that I got in on him and I was able to work him to his back,” Bennett said. “It’s going to be tough. O’Brien is a pretty good wrestler, and if I get past him, I’ll probably see Pasone in the finals.”