Two milestones were within Brandon Judge’s reach entering the District 2 Class 2A Wrestling Championships. The Valley View junior took care of both in one shot.
A pin of Elk Lake’s Juan Loboda in 1:31 in the preliminary round at 126 pounds gave Judge his 100th career victory. And, the pin was his 28th of the season, breaking the school record of 27 held by Kyle Davis.
Judge also pinned Hanover Area’s Jared Banesh in 36 seconds in the quarterfinals and Lake-Lehman’s Matt Galasso in 4:20 in the semifinals to raise his season total to 30 pins. In the final, he decisioned Honesdale’s Troy Russell, 11-9, to capture the district title.
Now, Judge heads to the Class 2A Northeast Regionals in Williamsport with hopes of qualifying for the PIAA Championships in Hershey for the first time. He is the No. 1 seed at 126 pounds and will face Line Mountain senior Brian Earlston in the regional quarterfinals.
One week before districts, you faced Troy Russell in the final at the Lackawanna League Championships and rallied to beat him. How did that match help you in the district final? It gave me a lot of confidence. I had just got over bronchitis, so knowing that I could beat him when I wasn’t 100 percent helped me get more confidence wrestling him again.
You won at district title as a freshman at 113 pounds and finished district runner-up as a sophomore at 120 pounds. How did that motivate you get back the gold this season? It motivated me a lot. It wasn’t just that I lost the district title, I lost to the kid (Hanover Area’s Jeff Bennett) three or four times that season. I couldn’t figure him out. So having that in the back of my head, working hard over the summer, helped me get my goal of winning districts and getting a better seed at regionals.
Do you try to go for pins or do they just kind of happen? For me, it’s trying to help the team. A pin is worth the most points (6). So if we have a dual meet or are at a tournament like districts, it helps a lot with the team because you get a lot more points.
Is there one food that you have to deny yourself during wrestling season in order to make weight? My mom, for some reason, likes to make brownies more during the season. It’s kind of hard to make weight with that.