Finishing with a flurry
Butler's Baxter, SV's Newell look for mat success at PIAA tourney John Enrietto 
Eagle Sports Editor 

HERSHEY — Butler senior Caleb Baxter and Seneca Valley junior Louis Newell are competing in the PIAA Wrestling Championships this weekend.
Matches begin today — and they got there via different paths. 
When Newell was a freshman, he won 35 matches and wound up placing eighth at 106 pounds. When Baxter was a freshman, he didn't wrestle at all because of a broken elbow suffered during football season. 
Last year, Newell returned to the state meet and wound up placing second. Baxter fell short of a PIAA berth due to a pair of 1-0 losses at the WPIAL tourney. 
“I felt for the kid. That was a tough way to end his season,” Butler coach Scott Stoner recalled. 
“Louis exceeded his own expectations by placing (in Hershey) as a freshman,” SV coach Kevin Wildrick said. “He gained an idea of what he was capable of and I think that helped set up his success last season.” 
Now both are primed for more success. 
Baxter (30-4) was scheduled to face fourth-place region placer Hunter Vogels (34-14) of Boyertown in his first PIAA match at 160 pounds today. That winner gets No. 3 seed Jonah Barley (39-2), a senior from Penn Manor. 
“There are a lot of wrestlers with multiple losses ... Everyone's beatable,” Stoner said. “If he has a good weekend, I see no reason why Caleb can't place out here. Facing a fourth-place finisher (at region), he has a good match to start out with.” 
Baxter, 87-23 in his career, had a solid WPIAL Tournament with one exception — an 11-0 loss to Belle Vernon's Zach Hartman in the semifinals. 
Besides that match, Baxter allowed only two points in four matches, scoring a pin in 2:31 and winning decisions of 11-2, 23-0, 2-0. 
“He (Hartman) kept scoring on me with the same move — his tilt — and I couldn't stop it,” Baxter said. “I know how to defend against it now. 
“If we meet again, things will be different.” 
Newell (38-4) was scheduled to face freshman Rafael Portilla (35-6) of Carlisle in his first-round match today at 113 pounds. A win would put him up against senior and top seed Matt Wilde (43-3) of Boyertown. 
“Our goal is to improve over last year and we were second last year,” Wildrick said. 
Newell, 112-17 in his career, ran into a nemesis in North Hills freshman Sam, Hillegas (39-0) in the WPIAL finals and dropped a 6-4 decision in the final minute.

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Butler senior 160-pound wrestler Caleb Baxter has reached the PIAA Championships for the first time. 

Three of Newell's four losses this year are against Hillegas. 
“He scrambles on the mat really well and he's strong,” Newell said. “Those are huge advantages for him. Most kids can't scramble like he can. 
“I'd love one more shot at him this year. I came pretty close the last time.” 
Newell and Hillegas could only meet in the state title match or in the consolation bracket. 
Wildrick said one of Newell's biggest assets is his composure in big matches. 
“His demeanor is one of the things that makes him so tough to beat,” the coach said. “He's got the athleticism and good technique, but he never lets himself get too high or too low mentally on the mat. 
“He just keeps working hard.” 
Baxter sees hard work as the key to his potential success this weekend as well. 
“I don't know much about a lot of these other wrestlers ...You just have to be yourself, wrestle your match and what happens, happens,” Baxter said. “I don't think the (state tourney) atmosphere will bother me. I've been wrestling for a long time.” 
He plans to continue wrestling in college. Waynesburg, Thiel, Mercyghurst and Pitt-Johnstown are among the interested schools. 
Newell has been wrestling for a long time as well. 
“Ever since I was little, wrestling for clubs, going to camps, it's all helped me,” Newell said. “I placed fifth in states in eighth grade. 
“Everything else just sort of happened from there.” 
Stoner said mental toughness can make it happen for Baxter. 
“You have to mentally prepare yourself,” the coach said. “It's the experience and excitement of being there with the best in the state. 
“Find a way to win by a point and move on ... One match at a time.”