Five grapplers from region reach PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals
Mar. 9—HERSHEY — Penn Cambria's Trent Hoover wasn't happy about his performance in last year's PIAA Class 2A wrestling championships.
The District 6 and Southwest Regional champion won his first bout, but then lost his next two to be eliminated from the tournament on Day 2.
A motivated Hoover was relentless in his opener on Thursday at Hershey' Giant Center. The Panther junior dominated Biglerville's Joey Ney in a 16-3 major decision to advance to today's quarterfinals.
"I'm ready to go. I'm excited," Hoover said. "I'm back to where we were last year. It's what I've been working for. I want to wrestle hard. It's all I can do."
Hoover was one of five wrestlers from the Tribune-Democrat coverage area to advance to the quarterfinals.
Chestnut Ridge freshman Dominic Deputy (107) and senior Calan Bollman (145), United freshman Josef Garshnick (114), Somerset sophomore Rowan Holmes (189) and Berlin Brothersvalley senior Grant Mathias (215) also won their respective first-round bouts. Three of those wins came by fall.
Friday is always the longest day of the 2A tournament. Wrestling begins with the Class 2A quarterfinals and second-round consolations at 9 a.m. Quarterfinal winners will wrestle in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. The consolation semifinals are scheduled for 9:30 p.m.
Southwest Regional champ Deputy pinned Conwell-Egan's Jeffrey Spofford in 2:33. Bollman, wrestling in his third state tournament, earned a 7-1 decision over Curwensville's Nik Fegert.
Garshnick didn't appear to be nervous in his first state tournament, pinning Wyalusing's Cole Patrick in 2:52. Holmes decked Loyalsock's Kaden Rodarmel in 5:14 in his second appearance in Hershey. Mathias pinned Conwell-Egan's Dante Burns in 5:49.
Chestnut Ridge's Easton Mull (114), Kobi Burkett (127) and Mason Weyant (133) are still alive in the consolations. Teammates Sam Albright (152) and Nick Presnell (189) were eliminated after going 0-2. The Southwest Regional team champion is in seventh place in the team standings.
"Obviously it was a tough day," Chestnut Ridge coach Josh Deputy said. "We had some guys who it was their first time here. You could see a little bit of the Giant Center jitters. We won the matches I thought we should win, and we actually won a match or two that I wasn't so sure of."
United's Jacob Sombronski (107) and Gideon Bracken (121) are also still alive in the consolations.
North Star's Thanyal Miller (127), Bedford's Kross Cassidy (133) and Berlin Brothersvalley's Landon Ulderich (139) were eliminated by going 0-2.
Hoover scored two takedowns in the first period on two low single-leg shots for a 4-1 lead over Ney.
"I've been working on a low-leg attack for awhile," Hoover said. "I can attack both sides, but the one thing I was missing was being to go low. I've been developing that and making it work at the higher levels."
Hoover added two more takedowns in the second for an 8-3 lead. He put Ney on his back for three near-fall points. Hoover was awarded three more back points, but the official reversed his decision and took the points off the board. Hoover led, 11-3, after two periods. Penn Cambria coach Todd Niebauer understood.
"We still had the leg hooked," he said. "Technically on a turk, if you still have that leg hooked, even though he bellies out, you've got to give him a chance to get that leg out."
In the third, Hoover added his fifth takedown and cradled Ney for three more back points.
"I thought he wrestled well," Niebauer said. "He stayed aggressive, stayed busy on his feet, and had heavy hands. It's the first match, and we'll keep it in perspective. We know what we've got coming next."
Hoover (39-2) will wrestle Meadowbrook Christian's two-time state place-winner Cade Wirnsberger (39-3) in the quarterfinals.
Deputy (38-3) built a 15-4 lead on Spofford, notching six takedowns and three near-fall points, before getting his 20th pin.
"I did pretty well," Deputy said. "It's nice to get one under your belt. My goal is to go through and win it all, so that (a pin) is what you have to do."
"He looked good," Josh Deputy said. "This is a comforting situation for him. A bunch of these top guys, he's been around his whole life. This isn't something he's not used to. It's actually probably more comforting for him to be in this building than a normal gymnasium."
Deputy will wrestle Faith Christian Academy's Kole Davidheiser (31-9) in the quarterfinals. Davidheiser also won by fall in the first round.
"I wrestled this kid twice over the past year," Dominic said. "I wrestled him at the PJW states last year in the first round, beat him 5-0. Last time I wrestled him, I beat him 13-3."
Garshnick built a 4-0 lead on Patrick with a first-period takedown and second-period reversal before getting the fall in the second. Garshnick (40-5) will wrestle Notre Dame-Green Pond's top-seeded Ayden Smith (44-3).
Bollman notched three takedowns — one in every period to earn the decision over Fegert.
Bollman (33-9), a state runner-up as a freshman and a fifth-placer last season, will take on Notre Dame-Green Pond's Vince Bouzakis (43-7) in the quarterfinals.
"This is Calan's spot," Coach Deputy said. "He makes hay at the Giant Center. Calan's been around these kids and the big events as a young boy, so he tends to step up in these moments. He's a got tough tomorrow, but we'll take it. We're excited to see if he can get high up on that podium again.
Holmes was up 9-0 on Rodarmel in the third period thanks to three takedowns and a two-point nearfall when he got the pin. Holmes (32-4) wrestles Bishop McDevitt's Jake Gilfoil (36-5) in the semifinals.
Mathias was in a wild bout against Burns. Burns led 5-2, but Mathias rallied and led 8-7 going into the third. He escaped with 55 seconds left, took Burns down with 15 seconds left and got the fall with 11 seconds remaining.
Mathias (39-7) has a huge test against Muncy's returning state runner-up Austin Johnson (36-0) in the quarterfinals.