Neisenbaum competes at Hershey
Moments after Jonah Niesenbaum’s run in the PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Championships ended, his mind was already moving forward.
“Next season starts today,” said the second-year wrestler. He just wishes 2018 hadn’t ended as quickly as it did.
Niesenbaum dropped his first two matches in Hershey over the weekend, and his memorable season came to a close. He closed out his junior season with an 18-14 record after earning medals at districts and regionals prior to his run in states.
“My goal the whole season was to qualify for states,” Niesenbaum said. “I was super excited. Looking back on it, it was an incredible season. I’m pretty happy with it, but today was just not my day. I definitely would have liked a better outcome.”
“He wanted to be a state qualifier and he made it here,” said Salisbury head coach Juan Garcia. “Obviously we wanted more, but also to have that experience as a junior and come back next year and not have that sense of awe.”
After dropping his first match to Clarion’s Tom Wurster via a 10-1 major decision, Montoursville’s Cameron Wood pinned Niesenbaum in 3:48 in the 220-pound consolation bracket.
“He doesn’t have that sense of, ‘Oh I lost’ and ‘I stink’,” Garcia said. “It’s like I lost, but what do I have to work on now to beat that kid. Most kids don’t have that at that age.
“For a kid that has only been on the mat for literally not even 18 months, it’s pretty tremendous, especially in Pennsylvania.”
And Niesenbaum has picked up several revenge wins this postseason, finding a way to defeat opponents who had his number during the regular season. And just like he did then, he’s hoping to take another step forward in 2019.
“We told him that everything is going to connect at one time,” Garcia said. “It happened right before districts, and he beat kids that pinned him early in the season. The confidence level for him is tremendous.”
Niesenbaum was never one to shy away from his future goals and what he believes is obtainable. That’s especially true of where he hopes to be this time come next season.
“With how far we came this year, there is no limit in my mind to what we can accomplish next year,” Niesenbaum said. “State title for sure. That’s my goal. And then everything up until that, too.”
And one thing he’ll be able to hang his hat on a year from now is the experience he felt this past weekend in Hershey.
“When I first walked in, the huge board on the top and all of the fans, it’s really cool,” Niesenbaum said. “Everything I’m doing is for next year. This is a great experience and I know what it’s like.”