Kiski Area heavyweight Reid caps remarkable comeback with state title
By: Doug Gulasy
Saturday, March 10, 2018 | 11:00 PM
HERSHEY — Isaac Reid still remembers the feeling, in early December, of chest pains that made him think he was having a heart attack.
The actual diagnosis, of a pulmonary embolism in his lung, threatened his high school wrestling career, but his heart carried him through it. And Saturday, Reid pointed to that heart and then to the sky after the biggest moment of his career.
Reid, a senior heavyweight, became the second PIAA champion wrestler in Kiski Area history when he beat Kawaun DeBoe of Cathedral Prep, 3-1, in the 285-pound final at Giant Center.
“I can't put into words how everything just worked out perfectly,” Reid said. “I'm just going to keep thanking God so much for what He's done. I remember when it was just like yesterday doctors were telling me, hey, you're 18 years old, I don't think you can wrestle anymore, stuff like that.
“It was just tears and tears, but God had all my tears collected in a bottle and said, you know what — let's make a story for this kid.”
The pulmonary embolism, diagnosed in late November, put Reid in the hospital for a week and kept him out of the Kiski Area lineup until mid-January. But even then, he said he would return because he had “a great story to tell.”
That story unfolded over the three-day PIAA tournament, when Reid dominated his 285-pound weight class. He won his first two matches by first-period pins, beat Warwick's Ryan Stewart, 7-0, in Saturday morning's semifinals and finished with the win over DeBoe, where Reid scored a takedown for the eventual winning points.
“I feel like this is just the first step,” said Reid, a Lock Haven recruit. “I'm going to keep on grinding and trying to excel more and more. I got a taste of what it's like, but I'm not full. I just had the appetizer.”
Reid added his name to a short list of Kiski Area state champions, right underneath Matt McCutcheon's 2012 title.
He came close to joining McCutcheon last season but finished as state runner-up behind Canon-McMillan's Brendan Furman.
The high finish in 2017 made Reid the top-ranked heavyweight wrestler in the state at the beginning of the season. The embolism delayed that, but Reid overcame it.
“For him to go through what he went through this season and to persevere through that, his initial thing is he wanted to just come back and help the team,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “That was his focus, and that's what he did.”
As the buzzer sounded on his victory, Reid pointed to his heart, then to the roof of the Giant Center before running toward Heater and assistant Chuck Tursky and feigning a leap into their arms.
“He's a big boy,” Heater. “Thank goodness. We might have been like a bug on a windshield.”
Reid's faith grew stronger after his battle with the blood clot. He thanked people for their prayers and his priest for his guidance, as well as his parents and coaches.
“Dec. 5, I thought I was having a heart attack, and I thought it was my last day on this Earth,” Reid said. “I truly can't describe how good it feels just to serve such an awesome God. Holy cow, it's just awesome.”
Senior Noah Levett put his own name into the Kiski Area record books, as his victory over Northern York's Paul Feite in the 138-pound third-place match gave him 159 for his career, moving him past McCutcheon for the most in school history.
“Taking third and getting the new win record is awesome,” said Levett, who finished his Kiski Area career 159-33. “There was a lot on that match, so I was a little nervous for it. But I knew I could pull it out, for sure.”
Levett got there with a 4-2 win over Feite — who was born without a left hand and a portion of his forearm — in the ultimate tiebreaker. The wrestlers each traded a pair of escapes through three regulation and three overtime periods before Levett secured a reversal in the ultimate tiebreak.
The Bucknell recruit earned his third PIAA medal, battling back after a semifinal loss Saturday morning to win in the consolation semifinals and the third-place match.
“Last year when I lost in the semis I didn't bounce back too well,” Levett said. “This year I didn't want to do it again, so it was just all about bouncing back and doing what I usually do and trying to win.”
Junior Cam Connor added a third medal to Kiski Area's haul with a seventh-place finish at 145 pounds. He beat Mars' Alex Hornfeck, 2-1, in the seventh-place match.
Connor declared himself satisfied with the finish but hopes to build on it for next season.
“I'll be working out all offseason, lifting, probably trying to get bigger,” Connor said. “I know what the bar is, so I'm trying to raise that bar next year.”
Heater received some recognition of his own before the night began, accepting the award as the PIAA's Class AAA Coach of the Year.
Tags: Kiski Area