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Knoch’s Frank leading way as wrestling team’s lone senior

Main Man

JEFFERSON TWP — First-year Knoch wrestling coach J.B. Orris was looking for a leader. His search was over before it even began.

“I took over in July and before I got a chance to meet him, Matthew Frank was calling up the other guys, telling them about me getting the job and making sure they came to that first meeting I had with the team,” Orris said. “ I knew then that we had a leader. I trust him and being in my first year here, that’s been very helpful.”

Matt Frank 2023

Frank, Knoch’s lone senior on a 13-member squad, has compiled a 13-7 record with six pins at 121 pounds.

“I had to adjust to being the only senior on the team, but I’ve always been a kid who talked with the coaches a lot,” said Frank, who took up wrestling in Knoch’s youth program nine years ago.

“I liked it from the start, but I wasn’t too good back then. But once my coaches learned my style, they worked with me and helped me improve,” he said. “There were times in the past when my flexibility hurt me, but now I use it to my advantage.

“A lot of times, I will wait for the other guy to make a move on me, then use it against him.”

But Frank does not restrict himself to one strategy, which keeps opponents guessing as to what he will do on the mat.

Orris referred to him as a “funky wrestler ... a kid who is comfortable in any position. If his opponent rocks the cradle with him, he can scramble and find his way out of it.

“He’s a great wrestler and is enjoying his senior season.”

Frank had won 11 consecutive bouts, a streak that was snapped last weekend when he finished in sixth place at the Mercer Tournament. He was coming off a case of strep throat.

“He weighed in light at 116 pounds,” added Orris.

Frank admits that his season got off to a slow start with his performance at the Hickory Tournament in early December.

“It was right after that when I got on a roll,” said Frank, who went on to go 5-0 at the recent Valley Duals. He was 17-17 as a junior, went 3-2 at the WPIAL Class 2A tournament to reach the Southwest Regional, where he won one of his three bouts at 113 pounds. He has not ruled out competing in college.

“My goal is to place at regionals this year and I want to get to states,” he said. “My season is going a lot better than I expected.”

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