A rather impressive streak came to end this past weekend at the Juniata Duals. Prior to the tournament, Garth Ladley had never lost a match in a dual meet. Not in high school, nor even in middle school.
But when the Braves squared off with Hamburg, who would go on to win the championship at the Juniata Duals, Coach Mark Durante saw an opportunity for Ladley to see what he could do against one of the best in the state in Hamburg's Nick Stabile.
Stabile was a state-runner up last season, falling in the finals to two-time state champ and four-time medallist Matt Fisk of Wyalusing, who also finished as the state's all-time wins leader. This season, Stabile is ranked number one in the state at 135 by various publications.
So Ladley, who weighed in at 130 for Octorara, was bumped up to 135 to face Stabile. Ladley wrestled tough, even putting Stabile on his back with a headlock, but Stabile was able to escape with a hard-fought 9-6 victory.
The streak was impressive, but with the post season just around the corner, it's important to get mat time against the best competition you can find. So if the streak had to end, at least it was because Ladley bumped up in weight to go after the toughest competition.
Mike Letts was the only Braves wrestler to go 4-0 at Juniata, but Octorara's big men, Matt Wilson and Tykee Rendell, each went 3-1 on the day, as did freshman Josh Smith, who seems to be making the adjustment to varsity wrestling after a somewhat shaky start to the season.
The Solanco Over 35 Men's softball league, under the direction of the Southern End Community Association (S.E.C.A.), will have a meeting and registration on Tuesday, February 28, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the SECA Building at Legion Park in Quarryville. All teams, new and old, should attend this meeting. Individuals looking to play will be assigned to a team.
The league, entering its second year, is looking to expand to eight teams. All games are played under the lights on weeknights at 8:15, allowing those players who coach various teams in youth leagues the opportunity to get out and enjoy some athletic competition of their own.
New players/teams or those unable to attend the meeting should call 717-806-0123 (day) or 717-786-6205 (evening) for registration information.
I wonder if there is anyone out there still saying that Steve Smith, not Shawn Alexander should have won the NFL MVP? Unlike the Bears, who seemed to ignore Smith, and didn't even put their best cornerback on him, Seattle double and triple teamed him, and late in the game, the NFL's leading receiver had but 2 catches for eight yards, finishing with 5 for 33. Alexander, meanwhile, rushed for 130-plus, and scored a pair of touchdowns as the Seahawks reached their first Super Bowl.
On the other side, even though I thought it would be a good game, the closer we go to kick-off, the more I realized it would have been really tough to hear the name "Jake Plummer" and the words "Super Bowl" in the same sentence. The Steelers made sure that didn't happen.
Feel free to contact Bill Rudick at 717-786-6095 or firstname.lastname@example.org to report any sports news or to comment on anything regarding sports in the Post Ledger.