Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser avenges Surge loss to Erik Gibson, earns KoM semifinal berth

MILL HALL, Pa.: There were some nerves bouncing around Kenny Kiser’s stomach as he approached the mat Saturday morning at Central Dauphin High School.

The Saegertown junior’s opponent, Forest Hills freshman Erik Gibson, the No. 6 wrestler in the state at 145 according to PA Power Wrestling. The same wrestler who beat him the finals of The Surge a little over a month ago.

All Kiser, the No. 3 seed in the King of the Mountain, could think about was not falling short of his ability and losing again.

No worries, not this time. Kiser did more than avenge his lost, he stuck Gibson, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, in 5:03 to earn a spot in Saturday’s King of the Mountain semifinal round, which begins at 1:30 p.m.

“I don’t like looking at names, usually, because it psyches me out a little bit,” Kiser said. “But, my coaches were telling me I was going to see him here. They told me, ‘You’re ready, you’re going to beat him, we know you’re going to beat him.’ So, I had nothing to worry about. I trusted them.”

It showed in Kiser’s performance. He entered the tournament ranked 11th in the state at 138, but he was in the 145-pound bracket this weekend and looked pretty comfortable at the weight.

The two wrestlers felt each other out in the first two periods with neither cracking the scoreboard. Kiser chose down to start the third and was out within the first 10 seconds of the period.

“Since that loss, I’ve been training and been practicing a lot,” Kiser said. “It wasn’t specifically to beat him, but just training a lot harder. That loss gave me a lot more motivation since the last time we wrestled.

“I know no one can hold me down. There have only been a handful of kids who could hold me down, and I knew I could escape. I knew it was going to be 1-0 at some point, but I didn’t expect to pit him.”

That came later in the period.

Kiser slipped to the side of Gibson and executed a nice dump. Instead of just getting a takedown, the Panthers ace put his opponent on his back and secured the fall in 5:03 to earn a semifinal berth.

“That doesn’t happen to the best guys,” Kiser said. “I usually get them in that outside fireman’s dump, and they will either get the arm free, fight, or scramble from there.

“I will get the takedown, but not put them to their back. I was surprised he eased up to get me there.”

Not only did Kiser avenge a loss, he gained some much-needed confidence heading into a pretty loaded final four.

Boiling Springs two-time state runner-up Kollin Myers is in the top half of the bracket. Penn-Trafford’s Nick Coy, the No. 2 seed, is also lurking and will be Kiser’s next opponent.

“This gives me a lot of confidence,” Kiser said. “That was the only guy I was worried about in the bracket.

“I walked on the mat, and my stomach was churning. I don’t think I wrestled as good as I could have, because I felt really nervous. I didn’t want to lose to him again. I was nervous that I wouldn’t perform at my best, and now I can focus on my other matches.”

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