WARFORDSBURG — Yes, you read that headline correctly.
For the first time ever, Southern Fulton High School hosted a wrestling match Wednesday night. No, the Indians didn’t just start up a program, but over the past eight years, quite a few SF students have wrestled for Everett as part of a PIAA co-op program.
Wednesday, it was time to pay it back to Southern Fulton, which hosted Senior Night for Everett vs. Glendale.
The highlight of the match, a 42-27 Everett victory, was the final bout, at 138 pounds. It featured the Warriors’ Liam Flaherty, an SF senior, wrestling not only before his true home crowd for the first time, but also going for victory No. 100 in his career.
He made sure there was no suspense.
Flaherty scored a quick takedown, then four tilts for a 10-0 advantage before finishing the first period with a three-point nearfall to lead 13-0. He secured a 15-0 lead early in the second with a takedown, then finished off the match against the Vikings’ Joel McClellan with a pin in 2:40.
“I set a goal in ninth grade to get 100 wins, and I’m sure this will be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Flaherty said.
He became the 12th Everett wrestler to achieve 100 wins, and he can tie the school record for career wins if he can manage 12 more victories before the end of the season. He is already a three-time PIAA qualifier, so that goal certainly seems possible.
“It was so awesome that I could get the 100th here tonight,” Flaherty said. “I was at 99 before the Bloody Run Duals, but when that got canceled, it worked out that I could get it here.”
The co-op program between the schools has been in existence for at least eight years and it’s been a big positive for both.
Everett athletic director Brian Koontz said, “Our program was struggling for numbers, so getting the Southern Fulton kids was a real boost. Of course, Southern Fulton has such a rich tradition in basketball that we wondered what we’d get, but a kid like Liam — a talented student and gifted athlete — makes the whole room better.”
“We have a really good relationship with Everett — our kids will cheer for them and vice versa in the playoffs when we’re at the same site,” SF AD Kent Hendershot said. “This is how a co-op program is supposed to work.
“We’ve been able to have about five or six kids most years in their program, either in junior high or high school. But it’s a 40-minute drive one way between schools, so those kids sacrifice a lot.”
Hendershot and Koontz both said it took a little work to pull off the event. Of course, Everett had to bring along its mat, and finding the right date and an opponent willing to travel some extra miles was a challenge, too.
“We’ve been talking about it for a few years, but it’s not easy to come up with an available date that suits everybody,” Koontz said. “This was actually rescheduled from December. And, no, I couldn’t have planned for this to be Liam’s 100th win, but it’s great it happened that way.”
Hendershot said, “We’re just glad it all worked out. There was definitely a buzz in the community about it.”
In the last four years, SF students Devin Reed, Flaherty and Gavin Wills have all reached the state tournament in Class AA for the Warriors. Reed was a sixth-place finisher in 2014.
Flaherty, who also played the Star Spangled Banner before the match on a piano, acknowledged that all of the travel hasn’t been easy, but said it has gotten easier each year.
“I couldn’t have done this without my mom and dad driving me around,” he said. “And it wouldn’t have been possible without the coaches helping me, too.
“It’s just so cool to have my match be the last one tonight, and to get the 100th here, too. It was an awesome experience.”
Everett 42, Glendale 27
145 — Lane Younker (E) won by forfeit; 152 — Isaac Krause (G) d Masen Akers, 3-1; 160 — Brent Kuhn (G) p Quinton Spade, 2:58; 170 — Luis Saldivar (E) d Doug Beeny, 7-0; 182 — Wyatt Clark (E) d Quinten Ulrich, 5-4; 195 — Logan Propst (E) p Seth Dudunich, 2:56; 220 — Cody Rock (E) p Logan Keith, 1:24; 285 — Kyle Jasper (G) won by forfeit; 106 — No match; 113 — Garett Misiura (G) p Zach Reed, 3:53; 120 — Brock McMillen (G) p Jaden Perrin, 0:38; 126 — Garrett Cornell (E) won by forfeit; 132 — Evan Brennan (E) won by forfeit; 138 — Liam Flaherty (E) p Joel McClellan, 2:40.