In the 60-plus year history of the sport locally, only one Lebanon County wrestler – Northern Lebanon lightweight Jim Collins – has ever won a PIAA Championship. Given that fact, qualifying for the state tournament has become both an attainable and realistic goal for local competitors.
Last week, Jeffrey Inman achieved the ultimate goal for County wrestlers.
A 132-pound sophomore out of Annville-Cleona, Inman qualified for the state tournament by placing second at the Class AA Southeast Regional. Once there, Inman went 1-2 during his first PIAA Championship experience at Hershey’s Giant Center.
Inman opened his stay in Hershey Thursday morning with a 4-2 overtime decision over Williamson junior Trevor McWhorter. The win put Inman in the position of having to win one more bout to claim a state medal, but it wasn’t meant to be.
In the quarterfinals of his weight class bracket, Inman ran into undefeated Jason Nolf of Kittaning, who dealt him an 8-2 defeat. Then with his season on the line, Inman couldn’t get anything going in the second round of consolations and fell to Brookville’s Dalton Zimmerman 3-1.
Though his initial trip to states was an up-and-down ride, it should served as valuable experience – and motivation – for Inman to get back there next season.
– JEFF FALK