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Preisch not even close to satisfied after regional win

March 2, 2013 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT

mrupert@sungazette

Ryan Preisch wouldn't even let the question be asked of him. He wasn't going to talk about his last three weeks and the remarkable run he's made to being a sectional, district and regional champion.

Those accomplishments are nice, sure, for the Milton junior 152-pounder. They're not his goal, though. As good as the last three weeks have been as he's consistently manhandled Southern Columbia freshman Blake Marks, and then on Saturday added a 1-0 win over Hughesville returning state runner-up Kyle Barnes, they're merely the mile markers in the marathon of a postseason run.

“I gotta make it four (good weeks),” Preisch said Saturday night after winning his first regional title. “I'm not happy, or satisfied. I'm ready to stand on the top at Hershey. I've been training since last March for this.”

Saturday was the final test in his preparation to see if he was ready to make that kind of deep run in the state tournament. He realized quickly last year his mistake of just being happy to get to Hershey which eventually had him leaving the Giant Center empty handed and triggering his rigorous training that has spanned the last year.

He's progressively made point after exaggerated point through the three weeks of the postseason he wasn't going to be satisfied with just getting back to Hershey. First it was a 9-1 win over Marks in the South Sectional final. Then it was a repeat performance last week in the district final. And finally it was yesterday's 1-0 win over Kyle Barnes in which he put together a sublime performance which left no doubt of the outcome, even if it was just 1-0.

He got in deep on a pair of shots on Barnes and just wasn't able to finish. Then it was a four-second escape in the second period before a bullish two-minute ride on top in the third period.

He exercised his strength by numerous times lifting Barnes off the mat and returning him flat, forcing the reigning regional champion back to square one. Then he ran more than 30 seconds off the clock when he was able to get a leg ride locked in, all but immobilizing Barnes.

It was a performance as special as any other put on display this weekend.

“(Barnes) doesn't open up as much (as Marks), so it's harder to capitalize on mistakes because he doesn't make any,” said Preisch, who wasn't nearly as satisfied with his performance as the crowd in attendance seemed to be. “I wanted to get a takedown or two. I was hoping to get a turn in when I got legs in, but we went out of bounds. I felt pretty good, especially riding on top.”

The smile he flashed under that mop top of curly hair constantly Saturday night wasn't one of satisfaction or of content. Instead it said 'Wait until what I show what I still have in store'.

“I feel like everything is coming together at the right time,” he said. “I'm ready. I want to go down there and make a deep, deep run.”

He joined North Penn's Minnich as local wrestlers seeming to put it all together at the right time. The senior is making his first trip to Hershey after winning his first regional title, defeating South Williamsport's Justin Knee, 10-6, in the 170-pound final.

Minnich became the first regional champion in the program's short history, and follows Nathan Stettler as a state qualifier for the Panthers. And much like Preisch, he's not looking to just get to Hershey, he wants to win the school's first match at the state tournament and also provide the school with its first state medalist.

It's a pressure Minnich wants to put on himself. He thrives off it.

“Just getting to states was nice because nobody really expects much,” Minnich said. “But a little pressure helps me wrestle better, so I'm putting that pressure on myself.”

Minnich's win in the regional final came just two weeks after he beat Knee in the West Sectional final, and a week after losing to Midd-West's Alex Lieberman in the district final. In maybe the most unpredictable weight class of the last three weeks, Minnich was maybe the most consistent performer.

He was the only one to reach the final in each of the last three weeks. He made the adjustments from what he said was a disappointing loss to Lieberman a week ago and it showed yesterday. He was scintillating in an 8-2 semifinal win over Benton's Brandon Lontz, and crisp in his win over Knee.

“It was a sobering experience to be beaten,” Minnich said. “It's never nice to lose, but I'm glad I did it there and not at regional this week. My mental confidence is really there.”

 
 

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