HERSHEY — It may have not been the medal rush that the Brookville Raiders were used to over the last handful of years, but two more were added to the team’s list of medalists at last Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A Championships.
That’s 24 top-eight medal finished in the past eight seasons for the Raiders, who upped their total to 47. So that’s over half of the state medals for a program that just finished its 58th season.
Hetrick, a four-time state qualifier and three-time medalist, saw his standout career come to an end with a fourth-place medal when he was forced to injury default during the 145-pound consolation finals.
Whitehill, a sophomore, came away with an eighth-place finish at heavyweight in his first trip to Hershey.
“Two medalists is a pretty good weekend,” said Brookville coach Dave Klepfer, whose teams had earned five medals at Hershey in each of the past two seasons. “It wasn’t the color of medal they wanted, and obviously as coaches you want the same as they want. But, I think when they time to sit back and reflect, especially Colby with what he accomplished as a sophomore is pretty big. It’s a short list in our program of those who have come down here and placed as a sophomore.”
Whitehill, who finished 40-7, takes a 53-13 record into his junior season. Expectations will continue to be high.
“It’s a step in the right direction for him, and he has two cracks at it yet,” Klepfer said. “Down here, I think it was just a physical thing. He wasn’t losing to guys who were better, just bigger and more physical.”
Hetrick, headed to Clarion University to wrestle with some of his former Raiders teammates and head coach Keith Ferraro this fall, finished his career with a 127-42 record, which ties him for fourth on the Raiders’ all-time wins list with Zach Vroman.
He is just the second four-time state qualifier in school history, joining Taylor Ortz on that short list. He also is just the fourth Raider to win three state medals, with future CUP teammates Ortz and Brock Zacherl, and the late Jason Gilligan being the others.
“And for Caleb, it just didn’t work out. Next weekend if we wrestled this, we might be standing on the top spot of the podium. Last night (Friday) was a close one, and it just got away from us on the penalty point. Then we had to try to go after something late there.
“Just one of those things where it wasn’t our weekend.”
state medal run
Hetrick (35-7) had his eyes set on joining the Raiders’ elite group of state champs, and while he fell short of that ultimate goal, his fourth-place medal was the best of his stellar career.
He fell short of a medal at 160 pounds as a freshman before placing eighth as a sophomore and seventh a year ago as a junior. Both of those medals came at 152.
Hetrick made the drop to 145 for this year’s postseason, winning district and regional titles before putting together a big weekend at the Giant Center.
Hetrick, who pulled out a close 3-1 win in his opener Thursday, looked strong in a 10-0 win against Palmerton junior Lucas Christman in Friday’s quarterfinals. Hetrick scored a first-period takedown before taking control of the bout with a big five-point move in the second after escaping from the bottom.
Leading 8-0, Hetrick tacked on another takedown in the third period to finish off the major decision.
That win set up a showdown Boiling Springs junior Kollin Myers, another two-time medalist entering the weekend. Myers was a state runner-up as a freshman before finishing fifth a year ago.
The bout lived up to the billing until a late call changed the complexion of things. The duo wrestled a scoreless first period before Myers escaped in the second to lead 1-0 after two periods.
Hetrick chose bottom in the third battled for a reversal near the midway point of the period to go up 2-1. However, he was called for a full-nelson with 50 seconds to go while trying to turn Myers on his back. The technical violation point evened the score at 1-1.
Hetrick elected to let Myers up after the call, and needing a takedown for the win, was caught and put on his back by Myers for a five-point move in the final 20 seconds. That move gave Myers an 8-2 victory in a bout that was much closer than the score indicates.
The Raider bounced back with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Pequea Valley junior Gabe Miller in the consy semifinals. After a scoreless first, Hetrick rode out Miller in the second period before escaping with seven seconds left in the third to pull out the victory.
However, Hetrick’s career ended on an unfortunate note after he was forced to default with what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the second period of his third-place match against Southmoreland senior Tyler Griffiths (26-7), a three-time medalist himself.
Griffiths had just taken a 2-0 lead on a reversal when the match was stopped.
“It’s just kind of the way this tournament is,” said Hetrick of his performance. “Rarely does the kid who is suppose to win, win it. Sometimes that’s the way it plays out. I dropped to 45 to maximize my chances to winning a state title,and I still feel confident on the right weekend I would do that. It just so happens it wasn’t this weekend, and that’s the way it works.
“Our coaches always preach you have to be on your ‘A’ game and be ready to go. Even though you might be, it’s just not always enough. That’s the way it works out sometimes, and I’m going to have to accept that.”
medal at HWT
Whitehill was forced to take the long road to a state medal in his first trip to Hershey.
The Raider lost his opening match Thursday but came back with a 9-0 victory to make it out of Day 1. Whitehill started Friday needing a pair of wins to reach the medal rounds, and that’s just what he got.
The first of those wins was a third-period pin of Mount Pleasant senior Cody Vokes (37-9) in a second-round consolation bout. Whitehill held a 1-0 lead when he pinned Vokes from the top position in 4:35.
Whitehill then knocked off Line Mountain senior Jaron Renn (40-12), 5-2, to reach the medal rounds, where he suffered a 6-3 setback to North Penn senior Justin Kriner (33-7), who finished fifth on the weekend.
That loss dropped Whitehill into the seventh-place match where he lost a 7-2 contest to Valley junior David Schuffert (37-6). Schuffert also bested Whitehill, 5-2, in Thursday’s first-round.
“It feels all right (to medal), but I would have liked to be higher up on the podium,” said Whitehill. “It just makes me want to work harder and strive for next year. It was a good experience to feel the atmosphere and stuff, so I know what to expect next year.”
Constable 0-2 at
Senior Dontae Constable finished 0-2 in his second trip to states. He dropped a 2-1 decision to Juniata’s Tyler Feltman in last Thursday’s preliminary round, then dropped a 1-0 decision later in the day to Nicholas Vonelli of Notre Dame-Green Pond in the second round of consolations.
Both bouts were obviously close, with his opener being decided with Feltman’s escape with 10 seconds left to go in regulation. The lone point in the second bout was a stalling point on Constable with 10 seconds remaining.
Constable’s season ended at 29-10 and career at 66-48. His first varsity season ended at 12-22 as a sophomore and he proceeded to advance to states in the next two seasons. He’ll wrestle collegiately at Division II Millersville University.
Courier-Express/Tri-County Sports Editor Chris Wechtenhiser contributed to this story.