Bishop McDevitt’s #5 Nate Smith Comes Out Swinging Against #6 Wickard to Win District 3 Title

HERSHEY – After his semifinal match on Saturday morning Bishop McDevitt junior Nate Smith, ranked fifth in the State by PA Power Wrestling. sat in his car outside the Hersheypark Arena and mentally prepared for #6 Caydin Wickard. He ran through his head and visualized what he would do in the bout.

It was an opponent he knew well having faced him twice this season and splitting decisions. Smith got the best of Wickard in December at the Trojan Wars (3-2) but the Boiling Springs junior responded last month winning (2-1) during a dual meet. 

This time around Smith came out with his foot on the pedal scoring ten points in the first two minuets. In the opening ten seconds Smith scored off a fireman’s carry and quickly collected two back points in the process. He added two full sets of back points off tilts to go ahead (10-0).

“I came out and was so pumped. This whole week at practice I said – this is the kid I want. I know I’m my best when I am on my offense.”

Smith left no doubt about that as he made it look easy putting up ten points so quickly. Things then slowed down a little for the 2-time PIAA State Medalist.

“You need to be pumped up going into a match but I think I over-pumped up a little. I have to be a little more relaxed next time.”

Smith took bottom in the second and, despite nearly earning an escape, was held down by Wickard for the entire period. At that point it seemed Smith was running low on gas. Wickard gained more speed as the match went on – although he had a big hole to dig out of.

“I have a lot of respect for him – after each match we’ve talked and I think he is a nice guy. With that being said, I gave him way too much respect this time.”

Wickard took neutral in the third period and quickly got in on a shot that Smith defended – however he gave up a technical violation point for a figure four on the head. Wickard then picked up the pace, fighting hard for under-hooks, but Smith responded connecting on a fireman’s carry. Wickard escaped and scored quickly on Smith – twice. A clearly exhausted Smith was hit for stalling as time ran out ending the match (14-7).

“I did what I had to do to win” Smith stated. “When I’m my best I think I am hard to beat.”

He will need to be his best next weekend in the South East Regional if he wants to win his third straight Regional Championship there. His biggest test will likely be the State’s top ranked wrestler at 120 pounds, Ryan Crookham of Notre Dame-Green Pond, who is a freshman ranked #2 Nationally by FloWrestling.

For Smith, he said he is taking it one match at a time.

“I like to take it slow. I didn’t even look at this bracket until this morning. I take it one match at a time because everyone’s trying to stop me from my dreams and I’m trying to go get it.”

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