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Malvern Prep takes third at Nationals as Beard closes out historic career

It’s the end of an era for Malvern Prep wrestling.

While the Friars’ run may not be over, they will have to find a new ring leader.

This past Friday and Saturday, Malvern’s superstar senior, Michael Beard, won his third straight national title, while eight other Friars earned All-American status with top-eight finishes.

Malvern placed third as a team, trailing Blair Academy and Wyoming Seminary.

“We’re always striving to get better and this year was a weird up and down year for us with different guys in and out of the lineup,” Malvern coach Nate Lautar said. “Taking third at national preps is a great feat for us.”

Beard (195 pounds) went out in his dominant style, winning by technical fall in 2:17 in the semifinals and then pinning in 53 seconds in the finals.

This season the Penn State recruit went 53-0, a year removed from a 50-0 junior season, and hasn’t lost since the Beast of the East finals against Pennridge’s Kyle Gentile in December of 2015. That’s good for a 141-match win streak to close out his career, and Beard finished with a 266-19 career record.

Malvern Prep’s Michael Beard (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

“It’s a culmination of hard work and his work ethic and setting goals and wanting to do it,” Lautar said. “With the schedule we wrestle, it’s unbelievable what he accomplished and it’s nice to see a kid like that still hungry. He’s not done. He’s ready to move on to the next stage and he’s hoping to be the best at the next level. He’s one of the greatest wrestlers I’ve ever seen, in terms of wrestling ability and instincts. He’s a great person and he’s fun to be around.”

Senior Mark Salvatore (126), who will wrestle at Franklin and Marshall in college, and sophomore Dalton Harkins (132) finished third.

Harkins avenged a loss to Hill School’s Kyle Gorant in the state semifinals by beating him for third place at nationals.

“I think Dalton is starting to show signs of maturity,” Lautar said. “He recognized some of his weaknesses and starting to change and opened up a little bit. We knew he was good on top, so we focused on getting better on bottom and on his feet. When you’re in a room with (Chris) Hisey and (PJ) Crane and Henry (Hague), you have to start to open up and get more offensive against them. He wants to learn and he’s just starting. His athleticism is extremely good and he has a great attitude on and off the mat.”

Malvern Prep’s Dalton Harkins (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Seniors Brendan Devine (220) and Crane (145) placed fourth, while senior Hisey (152) and junior Hague (138) earned their first trips to the podium at nationals with fifth-place finishes.

“It’s bittersweet to see them go,” Lautar said of his senior class. “For Hisey to take fifth and reach 200 wins was great. These are the kids that helped make Malvern Prep what Malvern Prep is today.”

Malvern Prep’s Chris Hisey (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Also earning hardware was former Penncrest wrestler Dayton DelViscio (sixth at 113) and Nick Florschutz (seventh at 170).

Along with Malvern’s 13 qualifiers, Westtown sent five with Alex Taylor (160), Matt Rhile (182) and Carter Dean (195) earning wins. Rhile reached the blood round, going 3-2.

Phelps School’s Khasim Mumim went 2-2 at 220 pounds.

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