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Southmoreland's Beistel keeps momentum from high school season going into spring

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:07 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Southmoreland's Jake Beistel (left) keeps Reynolds' Gene Ringer from escaping in their 285-pound bout during the opening round of the PIAA Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships on March 6 at the Giant Center in Hershey. Beistel won by a 3-2 overtime ultimate tiebreaker.

Jake Beistel continues to pile up the accolades on the wrestling mat.

He finished fifth in the PIAA wrestling tournament at the heavyweight classification. Just a mere three weeks later, he placed second in the National High School Coaches Wrestling Association High School Wrestling Championships held March 28-30 in Virginia Beach among 30 sophomores at his weight class.

The Southmoreland sophomore lost the final match in triple overtime, culminating a fine weekend of wrestling. However, he admitted to being a bit disappointed, since he finished first in 2013.

“It hurts, but I found some stuff I need to work on for next year to get better and hopefully go back and win junior nationals,” Beistel said. “It was tough at the end to lose that. It's a good confidence builder. Being second in the nation is a pretty good feeling.”

This past weekend Beistel — along with teammate Evan Myers — participated in the prestigious Flonationals at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Beistel went 2-2 against some of the top wrestlers in the country.

“He was a match away from being All-American,” said Ryan Shaw, Southmoreland wrestling coach. “He wrestled well. He just had a couple bad matches. He wrestled some quality kids. You're talking the top competition in the country.”

Shaw actually surprised Beistel the prior weekend in Virginia Beach, arriving in time to see his heavyweight wrestler participate in the championship match.

Shaw said Beistel called him the night before to tell him he had made the finals. At the urging of his wife, Shaw made the seven-hour trek to Virginia Beach for the match.

When Beistel caught a glimpse of Shaw he was pleasantly surprised.

“I was standing outside his door. His eyes got as big as can be,” Shaw said. “I was glad I was there. It was one of the best matches I saw him wrestle even though he lost. These are the type of matches that make you better for next year.”

Beistel, 16, has been a success since he began wrestling at Southmoreland, qualifying for the PIAA tournament as a freshman and sophomore.

He continues to look ahead in his mat career and participation in tournaments such as those the past two weekends can only help as he works to achieve the goals he set for himself, which of course include a state championship, something that has never happened in the history of Southmoreland wrestling.

“It's good to face kids that you never face, to see new styles and the things they do,” Beistel explained. “In wrestling you can't take too long of a break, because it takes a while to get back into it. It's good to (compete) in the offseason like this. (I gained) experience for next year.”

Shaw does see the potential for a great future on the mat for Beistel.

“He should be ranked No. 1 or 2 in the state (next year),” Shaw said. “The future holds as much as Jake wants to put into it.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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