Lizak golden again on mat
The one question that everyone had for Ethan Lizak following another state wrestling championship over the weekend had nothing to do with his form on the mat or his methodical style.
It was about him smiling.
The Parkland junior won his second straight state championship at Hershey's Giant Center Saturday night, scoring a 3-1 decision over Norristown's Zack Fuentes in the 113-pound title bout.
It was Lizak's third straight state finals appearance, his second straight title and he became only the second member of Parkland's illustrious wrestling community to win multiple titles, joining legendary assistant coach Jon Trenge in that category.
"It feels great and it's a little bit of a relief to accomplish my goal," said Lizak. "Maybe part of the reason that I don't show much emotion is because I focus so much for every match. Now it's over, I can just relax."
Lizak's (44-2) focus helped him to winning close matches in three of his four bouts at Hershey, as only his opening bout against Gateway's AJ Wilkins ended in dominating fashion with a fall in 3:36. His next two bouts ended in 3-2 and 4-2 decisions, respectively.
A second period takedown against Fuentes was all he needed to solidify his title, just like his two previous bouts, as all wrestlers in his weight category knew that taking down Lizak was as difficult as riding a bull at a rodeo.
"I think he's smart enough at this point of his career to realize that guys are not going to open up and wrestle him," said head coach Ryan Nunamaker. "If they do that, they're shooting themselves in the foot. They know where his strengths are and he has to be very technically sound. He's been very prepared being out here three years in a row in the finals and that goes a long way too."
Lizak was one of only two Trojans to medal in Hershey, as junior Josh Ortman (138) took eighth place following a 3-2 defeat to Big Spring's Chad Wickard in the seventh place consolation round.
"It's awesome to come out here and medal, but it's still heart-breaking because I know I can wrestle better," said Ortman (41-13). "Ever since I was a little kid, it's been my goal to be a state champ, but I just have to go back in the room and work harder and prepare for next season."
Jacob Lizak (106), Nezar Haddad (182), Omar Haddad (195) and Shaun Heist (220) all were bounced from Hershey on the second day of competition.
All three upper weights won their first bouts before losing two straight to be eliminated.
The younger Lizak dropped his first match, won his next consolation bout and then lost in the second round to be eliminated.
All of that is now water under the bridge, as Ethan Lizak looks to make history next season en route to becoming the Trojans only three-time state champion.
"I think I had more pressure this year after winning it my sophomore year," Lizak said. "It definitely helps having coach Trenge because he helps me focus on taking each match at a time. He knows what I'm going through out there on the mat and he definitely makes you feel less nervous."
Now Lizak will need to focus on a third straight PIAA gold medal.