SHARON — Six Tri-County Area high school wrestlers reached the finals of Saturday’s Class AA Northwest Region Tournament at Sharon High School and two came away with titles.
More important was the 11 area wrestlers overall who punched tickets to this week’s PIAA Championships at Hershey’s Giant Center starting Thursday.
Coming home with regional titles were Brookville senior Caleb Hetrick, who pulled out a highly-contested 6-5 win at 145 pounds against Reynolds’ Hunter Michaels. In an all-area final at heavyweight, it was Curwensville senior Steve McClure avenging last week’s loss in the district finals by beating Brookville sophomore Colby Whitehill 1-0 for the title.
Three other wrestlers lost in the finals as Curwensville junior Blake Passarelli lost 5-2 to returning state champion Beau Bayless of Reynolds at 113 pounds. Brockway sophomore Anthony Glasl dropped a 3-1 decision to Fort LeBoeuf’s Isaac Crowell at 120 and Ridgway’s Lukas McClain was pinned by three-time state medalist and top-ranked Cole Matthews of Reynolds in the 138 finals.
Overall, Brookville had one other state qualifier as senior Dontae Constable was fourth at 138 pounds. Ridgway’s Logen McClain was third at 145, Brockway’s Garrett McClintick finished third at 182 and Clarion’s Tom Wurster notched his first state berth with a fourth at 220, and Redbank Valley’s Mason Songer finished fourth at 113 pounds.
See the other story for all of the non-finalists.
The heavyweight final was a rematch of Whitehill’s 6-2 rideout win, but this time, McClure rode out Whitehill in the second period. Whitehill let McClure go 17 seconds in the third period and Whitehill couldn’t score the rest of the way on McClure who makes his first trip to states.
“We worked all week on breakdowns and ways to prevent his first moves and every time I’d either pick the ankle or chop the arm and last week we went into overtime,” said McClure (31-3), who was ranked No. 10 in the latest www.papowerwrestling.com rankings compared to Whitehill’s No. 6 ranking. “I knew this one would be close too, so I knew if I could ride him out it might be the difference in the match and I was able to do it.”
Hetrick and Michaels are both Clarion University recruits, so the familiarity was there and the battle fierce in a hotly contested bout with a couple of key calls that wound up benefiting Hetrick.
Hetrick scored the first points with a first-period takedown, but Michaels, on top, tilted Hetrick and got him in a split to where a pin was looking very likely until the official stopped it for potentially dangerous, apparently gauging Hetrick as being hurt.
“I know a lot of people said that I called injury time but it’s one of the coach’s team rules that if you call for injury time, you’re disqualified and he stops the match,” said an emotional Hetrick, who assured that’s not what he did. Neither Michaels or his coach Casey Taylor felt that was the case as well.
“I was surprised he stopped it, so it was one of those situations where we regrouped and came back and got our one point after that and got back in on his legs a couple more times,” Brookville head coach Dave Klepfer said. “We just didn’t finish them off twice.”
Hetrick wound up giving up four points on the stoppage, but got a point back with an escape to cut it to 4-3 going into the third. Hetrick cut Michaels to start the third and trailed 5-3 and after Michaels used injury time coming off the mat with a flurry with 1:17 left, Michaels was penalized a point for an illegal somersault to get Hetrick within 5-4. Then with two seconds left, Hetrick took Michaels down on the edge of the mat to win 6-5.
Hetrick, now 32-5, wasn’t sure what the penalty point was for and Klepfer wasn’t sure it was worth a penalty point, but reserved judgment until seeing it again on tape.
“I knew I needed a takedown to win it,” Hetrick said. “I honestly don’t what the penalty point was for. Obviously, it helped, but without that I needed to tie it up and the plan was to cut him and take him down again.
“(The final takedown) was one of those positions we work on not that often throughout the season and it’s more of a freestyle thing. It was a position where if you needed a last-minute move … I don’t even know what to call it, an arm throw or whatever but I felt it, it was there and it felt right and went through with it.”
In other finals bouts:
Passarelli runner-up at 113
Passarelli, ranked No. 10, started his trip to the finals with an 11-3 major decision over Saegertown’s Alex Kightlinger in the quarterfinals. He then got by Titusville’s No. 9 Hunter Thompson with a 9-6 decision.
Against top-ranked Beau Bayless of Reynolds in the final, Passarelli gave up the initial points from the top when Bayless escaped quickly in the second period. Passarelli tied it at 1-1 21 seconds into the third period.
Bayless pulled away with two takedowns in the final 54 seconds, allowing a Passarelli escape for a 5-2 win. Bayless, a junior, heads to states for the third time looking for a third medal. He won a state title last year and finished fourth as a freshman.
It’s the third trip to states for Passarelli (28-5), who seeks his first top-eight medal finish.
Glasl drops final at 120
Glasl, ranked No. 5 after medaling with a fifth-place finish at 106 as a freshman, locked up with No. 2 Isaac Crowell of Fort LeBeouf and could only manage an escape in a 3-1 loss. Crowell took Glasl down with 35 seconds left in the first period and escaped in the second period.
Glasl (33-4) got out for his escape in the third and nearly got the tying takedown as time expired, but Crowell held off a deep shot by Glasl who nearly got the two points.
Prio to that, Glasl slapped a technical fall on Union City’s Judah Gardner in the quarterfinals and then dropped Reynolds’ Andrew Ischo, 5-2, in the semifinals.
McClain falls to No. 1 at 138
Ridgway’s No. 4 Lukas McClain ran into the Reynolds buzzsaw in No. 1-ranked Cole Matthews in the 138 final. Matthews built a 13-4 lead in the third period before pinning McClain with 32 seconds left. It was Matthews’ 99th career pin.
With teammate Bryce Barclay notching his 100th win in Friday’s action at 132, McClain edged closer to the milestone as he went 2-1 for the weekend and takes 97 wins to Hershey. He opened with a 16-4 major decision over North East’s Dylan Mascarella in the quarterfinals and a 7-2 decision over Coudersport’s David Kudrick in the semifinals before facing Matthews in the final.
Other D-9 finalists
District 9 got regional titles from Kane’s Alec English at 152 and Jacob Kallenborn at 160.