To move or not to move.
That was the scenario that Tyler Worthing faced at the end of his sophomore year at Kiski Area High School.
Worthing competed in the 195-pound weight class most of the season and was considered one of the top four wrestlers in WPIAL Class AAA. The problem is that only three of the four could qualify for the PIAA tournament.
Moving down to the 182-pound weight class was not an option for any of the four. However, moving up to the 220-pound weight class was an option. In fact, all four considered the move, since the 220-pound weight class had no clear-cut favorite.
After talking over the situation with his family and coaches, Worthing decided to move up to 220, despite the fact that he would be facing opponents who weighed 25 pounds more than he did.
The strategy worked at the WPIAL level, as Worthing captured the 220-pound title with relative ease. He recorded three pins, all in the first period, and capped the title with an impressive 14-3 win against Latrobe's Dylan Davis in the title match.
Worthing, a resident of Allegheny Township, didn't fare as well in the PIAA tournament, held one week later at the Giant Center in Hershey. He made a quick exit after losing two of three matches.
When asked whether he made the right decision, Worthing replied: "Yes and no."
"I reached my goal of winning a WPIAL title by moving up, but competing at 220 at the state level was much tougher," Worthing said. "I actually weighed in at 191 for my last match at Hershey, while my opponent was weighing in at 222. I was still shooting good shots, but I couldn't finish because my opponents were stronger than I was."
Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky has similar feelings.
"Tyler did a great job in the WPIAL tournament, but found the 220-pound weight class was much tougher at the state level," said Tursky, who advised Worthing to stay at 195. "We will never know how he would have done at 195, but I feel he was good enough to win that weight class. And I think he would have done much better at Hershey facing kids his own size."
Worthing could face the same situation in his junior year.
"I'm currently weighing in at 208, so dropping to 195 would not be a problem," Worthing said. "But I'm actually trying to gain weight. I'm doing a lot of lifting to put on muscle."
Worthing competed in the 195-pound weight class earlier this month at the Disney Duals.
"We had a five-pound weight allowance so getting down to 200 was easy," said Worthing, who posted a 5-4 record. "I wrestled for the Young Guns Black Team. We totally dominated the tournament, winning all nine matches. Our team was stacked. We had seven guys go undefeated."
Worthing broke into Kiski's varsity lineup as a 170-pound freshman. He won a Section 1 title, then placed fifth in the WPIAL and finished the season with a 31-11 record. Last season, he won section and WPIAL titles and finished with a 33-3 record.
"It's unusual to see a sophomore win a WPIAL title in the upper weight classes," Tursky said. "Those weight classes are usually loaded with seniors and juniors. Sophomores usually don't have the maturity to win, but Tyler is an exception."
Worthing will have his choice of weight classes again this season, but has an even bigger decision to make about his future. He would like to continue his wrestling career in college, but has found another option.
"I have been playing rugby for Kiski Valley," Worthing said. "I started playing a year ago and I've fallen in love with the sport. Quite a few colleges have a rugby team and offer scholarships. It's another option for me to consider."