For four years, Tunkhannock Area senior Ben Siegel has pushed himself to be the best wrestler on the mat.
Now, he’s finally got something to show for it.
On Tunkhannock’s senior night in front of a packed gym, Siegel earned the 100th win of his wrestling career with a 6-5 decision over Valley View’s Matt Judge on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
“It was the best possible scenario for something like that,” Siegel said. “It was on senior night, in my home town, in front of my family and friends, and it was a really good match. It just happened to be on the night of my 100th win and I’m lucky.”
Siegel has wrestled at 145 for most of the season, but moved up to 152 to avoid reaching the milestone by forfeit. That meant he would be up against Judge, who battled Siegel for most of the match until a quick reversal by Siegel gave him the win.
“It was a little tougher than I hoped but it was a good match and it made it exciting,” Siegel said.
Tunkhannock head coach Bob Hegedty also knew the match would be tough, but had confidence that Siegel would come out on top.
“To get it against a tough kid (like Judge) made it sweeter,” Hegedty said. “We were hoping to get that matchup and Ben was up for the challenge.”
“It means a lot to him, and it was one of the goals he set for this year. We’re all excited about it.”
As one of the team’s three seniors, Hegedty has looked to Siegel for leadership in not only his senior season but throughout his entire career at Tunkhannock.
“He’s meant a lot to our program,” Hegedty said. “He’s accomplished a lot and he’s a huge leader on the team. He’s always been counted on to have to give everything he’s got every time he steps on the mat.”
Siegel has certainly spent a lot of time on the mat, but has a pretty good memory when it comes to his matches.
“I remember a lot of the ones I wasn’t supposed to win in my freshman year, being the younger guy and taking it to the older guys,” Siegel joked. “I can remember both my Kiwanis finals pretty vividly and any final I’ve been in really. But I also remember most of the close ones that I’ve lost pretty well, and I think that helps me improve.”
There’s no question that Siegel gives it his all in each match, regardless of the opponent, something that has certainly helped him to reach 100 wins.
“It’s something you really have to work for,” Hegedty said. “The harder you work for your success the more success will come, and he’s had success so far. There’s been a lot of offseason wrestling and time spent in the weight room to get to that goal. It’s a big accomplishment and it says a lot about the kid.”
And Siegel is no stranger to big accomplishments. He was also a member of the Tunkhannock cross country team that brought home the school’s first state title in 41 years in November.
Ironically enough, his cross country teammate and close friend Joey Moffitt, who is on the Tigers swimming team, earned the 1,000 point of his career the week before.
“I think it’s awesome that we can both do so well in one sport and then go our separate ways and be equally as successful,” Siegel said. “We both work equally hard and I’m super happy for him. It was great for both of us.”
Siegel and the Tigers earned a 5-1 record in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference and are hopeful for a strong showing at the District 2 AAA Duals at the Kingston Armory on Feb. 22.