Canton’s Parker takes sixth at PIAA wrestling championships
HERSHEY — The goal from the time you start preseason workouts is to go to Hershey and “come home with hardware” as Canton Coach Lyle Wesneski stated last weekend at regionals. Riley Parker did just that in his first trip to states as he comes home with a sixth place medal.
“This was my first time coming down here. I wanted to do what I could, push myself and compete with everyone,” said Parker.
Parker knows that he will be able to use this experience as he prepares for next season.
“There are obviously things I know I can work on. I learned a lot being here. No matter where you are at in a match, you have to keep battling and keep scratching.”
Parker lost his final match of the state tournament to Southern Columbia’s Garrett Garcia by fall 4-0.
Parker made it all the way to the semi-final round but ran into a buzzsaw in his opponent Rune Lawrence, who went on to be the state champion at 172.
Match-ups like the ones that Parker faced this weekend make wrestlers “battle tested” as Wesneski likes his kids to be.
“We had a good week of practice and we managed our bodies well. You have to stay focused and stay confident at this stage,” said Wesneski.
Wesneski is confident about his group of kids as they move into the spring and even next season.
“We feel like we are prepared. Our schedule is going to get harder next year and thats the way we planned it. As you can see this is a meat grinder and a lot of really good kids didn’t medal. Thats what we prepared (Parker) for.”
This Warrior wrestling squad should see some wrestlers back at Hershey next season. Hayden Ward will be a senior and have more experience. Parker has tasted the tough competition and knows what it takes. Mason Nelson is expected to make a leap next year with the experience he gained through the District tournament.
This marks the second consecutive time the Warriors have had a wrestler take the podium. No one from Canton qualified last year due to covid and the super regional that was held. 2020 saw Timmy Ward take sixth and now Parker takes home a sixth place finish. Expect the battle tested Warriors to come home from Hershey with more hardware next year.
Videography: Nate Fransen, Ethan Chabala
Video Editing: Ethan Chabala
Writing: Joe Carreon
Anchor: Joe Carreon
Correspondent: Joe Carreon
Produced by Vogt Media