DOWNINGTOWN - Downingtown West's Chase Mielnik hoisted his opponent, Jacob Chmielecki of Coatesville above his shoulders, confidently striding a few steps before returning him emphatically to the mat.
The landing evoked a roar from an energetic West bench and student section, and moments later Mielnik finished the deal with a first-period pin.
Like his foe, Wednesday night, the senior Whippet, who won his 100th career bout last weekend, has reached some heights and hit some lows. But in his last hurrah, Mielnik has high hopes of finishing on top.
"I definitely put a lot of work into it," Mielnik said. "For the most part it's working out. Losing in the blood round (at states) last year pushed me to make this my season."
Mielnik's 93-second pin at 220 pounds wrapped up the Whippets' Ches-Mont National Division opener, 55-21, against visiting Coatesville.
It's been a common theme, thus far, for Mielnik, who is 16-3 on the season with 13 pins. As a junior, Mielnik finished runner-up at regionals, but lost a one-point match with a state medal on the line. The year prior, Mielnik took sixth at regionals, one spot shy of a trip to states.
One hundred wins is nice, but Mielnik called it "part of the journey." There are bigger goals at hand. Whether he stays at 195 or goes back up to 220, Mielnik's mission ends with some hardware in Hershey.
"He's focusing in on where he wants to go," West coach Brad Breese said. "Either weight, he's wrestled very well. I think he has a good shot at both weights of medalling very high."
West (1-0 National, 3-2 overall) has been through the wringer, early this season, traveling to the Cumberland Valley, Beast of the East and Trojan Wars tournaments, with Escape the Rock on tap in a week and a half.
The refining process has been good for two-time state medalist, Max Hale (195 pounds), who won by fall, Wednesday, and state qualifier, Dom Findora (120), who won by major decision.
But it has also tested the rest of the lineup in a sink-or-swim manner, that Breese believes will pay off as his Whippets head into their league schedule.
"We went down to the Beast and some guys got some wins down there who could've just gone 0-2," Breese said. "And other guys did go 0-2, but they fought. I've been pleased with the way they've stepped up and wrestled hard."
"I thought this was a match we could win, and 132 and 138 were matchups we knew could go either way," Breese said. "To win at 32 and get bonus at 38, and even at 45, we thought we could win, but Dan's attacking to get extra bonus was huge."
Coatesville was a bit undermanned, giving up three forfeits, but with a growing group, coach Jeff Bowyer walked away pleased with the effort.
"We have three kids on the team with more than a year or two of experience, so the rest of them are coming a long way," Bowyer said. "They're working hard and have a great attitude."
Nate Lucier (126) and Nate Meyer (160) picked up six for the Red Raiders, while Jacob McBride (152) won by decision. Lucier is now 17-1 on the season.
"He's starting to physically mature and grow into his weight class," Bowyer said of Lucier. "His positioning and mat awareness in close matches has really helped him get to the next level where I think he's able to beat anyone in the state. We're working on getting him there with the mental aspect part."