This season was tabbed as a rebuilding campaign for Tunkhannock, with seven freshmen starting and five wrestlers graduated from last year's team that was winless in the Wyoming Valley Conference (and 7-18 overall).
The lack of success even meant the Tigers dropped to Division II from the more prominent Division I.
Don't look know, but the Tigers have already surpassed both win totals this season at 3-0 in Division II of the WVC and 9-5 overall. They are a victory tonight from controlling their own destiny and claiming the WVC Division II title for the first time since back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
But it won't be an easy task during the home meet because the team has to face perhaps the toughest Class 2A team in District 2, Lake-Lehman, which is the reigning division and District 2 Class 2A champ. The Black Knights are coming off big victories against Wyalusing, Wallenpaupack and Dallas in the last 14 days. They stand 2-0 in the division and 13-3 overall, with all three losses coming at the season-opening Catasauqua Duals.
Now may be the best time for the Tigers to get the Black Knights and pull off a victory because Lehman is in the middle of a stretch where it wrestles 11 duals in 12 days, which included five last Saturday. The Black Knights also have tough division opponents Wyoming Area and Hanover Area on Friday and Saturday.
Tunkhannock also wrestled five duals last weekend and will compete in 10 duals in a 10-day period, but is just beginning the stretch. After tonight's match, the Tigers face Wyoming Area and GAR on Monday and Tuesday to close out their divisional slate.
Junior Ben Siegel (152 pounds) leads Tunkhannock with a 20-3 record and a runner-up finish at the conference tournament earlier this month. Freshmen Dalton Ray (145), Jake Richards (113) and Dakota Quick (120) have combined for a 53-19 record. Senior 195-pounder Andrew Muckin is 19-4 with 12 first-period pins.
For Lehman, 132-pounder Austin Harry is 23-0. Josh Sayre (138) and Bobby Wright (160) have combined for 41 wins this season, while seven other grapplers on Lehman's squad have at least 10 victories.
Tunkhannock's going to be all about matchups, Harry said after Lehman's win over Dallas on Monday. But if we wrestle like we have been then I think that should come out our way.
There is a big dual in Wyoming County tonight at Tunkhannock with WVC Division II championship aspirations. But there is also a key meet in Luzerne County with District 2 implications as a pair of Class 3A teams square off when Wyoming Valley West hosts Delaware Valley in what could be a preview of the district championship.
The Warriors are the favorite and the two-time defending district champions with an 11-2 record this season -- their only losses coming to District 11 powers Parkland and Easton.
Valley West enters with a 9-2 overall mark and is a win against Berwick on Saturday afternoon from wrapping up the WVC Division I title for the second straight year. The Spartans also have possibly the best middle of the lineup in D2 from 126 through 152.
Tonight's match will begin at 6 in Plymouth.
When Lake-Lehman hosts Wyoming Area on Friday night, the program will hold its annual Hall of Fame night prior to the dual.
This year, the last two PIAA champions from Lake-Lehman – Scott Davis (2007) and Matt Dragon (2005) -- will be inducted. The ceremony is expected to begin at approximately 6:30 p.m., with the dual to follow at 7. Davis and Dragon will be inducted alongside Andy Josuweit and Jeremy Schutz (both 2005 graduates).
Eddie Ciprich, a senior from Coughlin has been on quite a run lately with 13 wins in a row prior to Tuesday's dual against Crestwood. In the stretch, he has recorded nine falls.
Over the last eight days, the 132-pounder has gone 6-0 with five consecutive falls, four coming in the first period. With the Crusaders at a dual tournament last weekend, Ciprich went 5-0 picking up five pins to improve his record on the season to 20-8 after getting off to a rocky start to the season dropping seven of his first 12 bouts.