Franklin Regional’s Camacho enters Powerade tournament brimming with confidence

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017 | 10:35 AM


Franklin Regional junior Colton Camacho has had a pretty good Christmas so far.

But there is still one present within his grasp, and that gift must be earned, not given.

Camacho (8-1), who is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA at 132 pounds by the Tribune-Review, wants a gold medal at the prestigious Powerade tournament, which is Friday and Saturday at Canon-McMillan. The tournament is ranked the second best in the country by Wrestling Report.

It features a loaded field of talented teams — a tournament-high 52 — and wrestlers from the WPIAL, PIAA and around the country.

The pairings for the tournament have yet to be released, but Camacho is looking forward to possibly meeting some of the top wrestlers in the country at 132 pounds, according to FloWrestling: No. 1 Joey Silva of Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) and No. 8 Carson Manville of Wyoming Seminary.

Gavin Teasdale of Jefferson-Morgan, ranked second nationally at 132, is moving to 126. Teasdale is an undefeated three-time PIAA Class AA state champion.

Camacho isn't ranked by FloWrestling, but he's beaming with confidence after winning the King of the Mountain tournament and taking Teasdale to the wire in the Eastern Area Invitational at Gateway, losing 4-3.

Camacho and his coach, Matt Lebe, said they felt the loss was a confidence builder.

“He took Gavin down during the match, and he had a chance at another takedown late in the match,” Lebe said. “Gavin is a tremendous wrestler, and he did what he needed to pull out the win.”

Camacho said he and Teasdale are wrestling partners at Young Guns. He said Teasdale didn't know Franklin Regional was in the Eastern Area. Teasdale prefers not to compete against Young Guns teammates.

“We got in late, and I don't think he realized we were in it,” Camacho said. “It should have mattered. We're both looking for good competition.

“I knew the match would be a good one. My confidence started growing after the Super 32 tournament.”

Camacho went 4-2 during the Super 32 preseason tournament against some of the top wrestlers in the country.

Facing tough competition is nothing new for Camacho. His training partner in high school the past two seasons was Spencer Lee, arguably the best high school wrestler in the country the past two seasons. Lee is at Iowa.

“I want to get a shot at those guys,” Camacho said. “All the brackets are good at Powerade.

“Going against Spencer was an experience. He taught me well. I couldn't have a better teacher.”

And it wasn't just moves Lee taught Camacho. He talked to him about mental toughness and about conditioning.

“I have a lot of potential and talent,” Camacho said. “But conditioning and mental toughness is very important. You have to be able to handle different situations when things aren't going well.”

Camacho finished sixth at Powerade at 120 pounds last season.

He was a PIAA qualifier, but he went 1-2 and didn't place.

“That disappointment serves as motivation,” Camacho said. “I was wrestling well, but mentally I broke down a little. I'm working hard, and if something doesn't go my way, I can still comeback.”

Camacho said his goals also including winning the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament, the WPIAL and PIAA titles.

“Colton has all the talent in the world,” Lebe said. “He can compete with anyone.”

That's why Camacho is looking forward to the Powerade Tournament this weekend.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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