Weight Class: 145 pounds
All in the Family: Ben is the son of Gary and Jeannette Siegel of Falls. He comes from a family of swimmers, as his older brothers Josh (a senior at Ithaca) and Jake (a sophomore at West Chester) both swim in college.
Statistically Speaking: Siegel won five matches over the weekend to capture the 145-pound title of the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament, nailing down the tourney’s gold medal with a dominating 5-0 victory over Wyalusing’s Justin Haley. That extended Siegel’s unbeaten streak to 13 straight matches to open the season.
Dropping the Hammer: Siegel, coming off the fall season where he was a leader of Tunkhannock’s PIAA Class 2A state championship boys cross country team, didn’t need to pin anyone to prove his dominance this weekend. With two major decisions and a shutout in his final three tourney matches, Siegel left no doubt who the man at the top was. He took a 9-1 victory in the quarterfinals, then followed it with another 9-1 win in the semis before using an early takedown to set up his 5-0 victory in the championship match. That made Siegel, who won the event at 152 pounds last year, the first Tunkhannock wrestler to win back-to-back Kiwanis Tournament titles in 13 years.
Coach’s Corner: “He’s a gamer,” Tunkhannock coach Bob Hegedty said. “He gets up for events like that. He likes the hype, and he stays pretty cool about the whole thing. The first day (of the tournament), he was a little tired - he went down to 147 for the first time, he was at 152 last year. We thought that was a good time to change (weight classes). As the tournament went on, he started feeling a lot better. He’s definitely one of the leaders of the team the past few years. His work ethic in the room, the kids followed.”
Did you know? As if winning his school’s own wrestling tournament and a PIAA cross country title with the Tigers wasn’t enough, Siegel claims to wear another crown — in his own home. “I’m an avid table tennis player. We have a table in the house, it’s just kind of a family thing,” Siegel said. “I am the champion of my family.”
From his angle: “In front of the hometown crowd, it’s really spectacular,” Siegel said of earning his second Tunkhannock Kiwanis title. “Our wrestling team hasn’t had too much success lately, it’s good to start bringing that back. Cross country gave me that taste of gold. I’m definitely seeking it out now in wrestling. I dropped about seven pounds from my weight class last year — I was small for that (152-pound) weight class. It’s just eating right, watching my weight. But I wanted to put on a good show. I think I did that.”
Week in Review: It didn’t take Holy Redeemer standout Alexis Lewis very long to show her superior skills on the girls basketball court. Lewis scored 40 points, including her career 1,000th, during a first-round victory over Mountain View in the Pittston Area Christmas Tournament. Then she came back to dazzle the crowd with 26 points, more than 10 rebounds and four steals in one quarter while leading the Royals to the tournament title over host Pittston Area. Lake-Lehman’s Cayle Spencer continued her early scoring spree, going for 28 points in a five-point win over Crestwood after she scored 26 points against Pittston Area. However, Pittston Area’s Liz Waleski bested Spencer’s efforts by drilling a game-winning three-point goal at the buzzer to lift Pittston Area to victory. Coughlin’s Savannah Robinson had four three-point goals to lead an inspiring comeback by the Crusaders, who erased a double-digit deficit by shutting out Hanover Area in the fourth quarter to capture a one-point victory in the Meyers Christmas Tournament. Alyssa Sitch sparked Hazleton Area to the Punxsutawney Tournament title by scoring 25 points in the opener against Marion Catholic, then following with 11 points in a 47-46 victory over Cambria in the tourney’s title game. Standing tall for Crestwood, Rebecca Rutkowski blocked seven shots to go with her 19 points in a victory over Wyoming Area. …
GAR didn’t find a boys basketball victory against Springfield, but the Grenadiers did get 25 points from Isaiah Francis to give them a spark heading in to Wyoming Valley Conference play. Lake-Lehman’s Pete Borum played an exciting game with 23 points while leading the Black Knights to a three-point overtime victory over Holy Redeemer in the McGrane Tournament. Redeemer’s Darius Washington had five three-point field goals in that game. …
If winning another Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament was a goal of Austin Harry’s, he got it. The Black Knights senior edged previously-unbeaten James Palys of Pocono Mountain East, 2-1 in the 138-pound finals to win his third consecutive Tunkhannock Kiwanis title. His Lehman teammate Brady Butler won that tournament’s 195-pound title with a pin, after recording a 59-second pin in the quarterfinals. Wyoming Area freshman Kenny Beyer started the Tunkhannock Kiwanis tourney strong, winding up with a surprise appearance in the 132-pound quarterfinals with two technical falls and an upset of Jake Richards of Tunkhannock. Beyer’s Wyoming Area teammate Pat Heck pulled off an even bigger upset, beating GAR state qualifier A.J. Luton in an ultimate rideout in the tournament’s semifinal match. Then, Heck almost made the ultimate comeback when he recovered six points in the final minutes and appeared moments away from a pin when time expired in the 120-pound title match. He settled for a moral victory in the 9-8 loss, and a silver medal.