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### Updated Lehigh Valley High School Wrestling Rankings Post District 11 Dual Meet Tournament

It was just a brief moment, but it could have spelled disaster for Reef Dillard during the District 11 Class 3A team tournament championship match against Nick Salamone from Easton last Saturday.

The Bethlehem Catholic freshman shared, “I almost found myself trapped in a cradle. I was momentarily frightened.”

Fortunately, Dillard possesses a training partner skilled in making pre-match and in-match adjustments, coupled with a coach who dedicates significant time to developing the mental aspects of wrestling.

In the first two rounds on Saturday, the 114-pounder secured a pin and a technical fall. Despite facing a challenging situation against Salamone towards the end of the match, he managed to emerge victorious with an 11-4 win. This victory not only avenged a previous loss but also provided the Golden Hawks with the early momentum needed to reverse their initial defeat against Easton.

Dillard expressed, “That win was crucial. Once we start gaining momentum as a team, we become formidable. With confidence on our side, we are a force to reckon with.”

Reflecting on his growth throughout the season, Dillard remarked, “At the start of the year, my confidence was not as strong. Now, I believe I can compete with the top wrestlers in my weight class. My brother, Keanu, is my training partner. He played a significant role in strategizing for this match and preparing me for the tough opponents.”

As Bethlehem Catholic gears up for the upcoming PIAA Team Wrestling Championships, challenges lie ahead as they aim for a third consecutive 3A victory under the leadership of head coach Mike Cole.

The team will face tough contenders such as Central Mountain and Council Rock South, both ranked higher in the PA Power Wrestling team rankings. Despite being a talented yet imperfect team that has grappled with wavering confidence, Coach Cole consistently addresses this crucial aspect of the sport.

The impact of this mental fortitude was evident in the performances of Reef Dillard, James DeLuise, Dario Cruz, and Jacob Lance on Saturday. Their resilience and determination will be put to the test this weekend at Hershey’s Giant Center, where the stakes will be at their highest.