HERSHEY — The Brockway wrestling team experienced a rough start Thursday at the PIAA Class AA Championships but bounced back to advance three of its four competitors to Day 2.
Brockway’s four state qualifiers went a combined 1-3 in their opening bouts, with only freshman 106-pounder Mark Palmer claiming a victory in a pigtail contest.
The Rovers reversed their fortunes from there, as senior Garrett McClintick (182) and junior Anthony Glasl (126) rebounded with consolation bracket wins to move on along with Palmer — who later dropped his first round contest. Junior Eric Johnson (195) went 0-2 on the day and was eliminated his first trip to the Giant Center.
Palmer (33-11) got the Rovers off and running with an 11-4 win against Mount Pleasant freshman Luke Geibig (32-14).
The Rover showed no signs of nerves in his first bout on the Giant Center floor as he dominated the first period. Palmer hit a four-point move just over 30 seconds in, then added three more nearfall points in the closing seconds of the period for a 7-0 lead.
Geibig closed the gap in the second period after Palmer chose neutral. Geibig took down the Rover before earning two backpoints to cut his deficit to 7-4 after two periods.
Geibig got no closer though, as Palmer scored a takedown and two more nearfall points in the third to capture his first win at states.
That victory earned him a matchup with Biglerville freshman Levi Haines (38-0), the Southeast Regional champ who entered states ranked third at 106. Haines scored the initial takedown on Palmer before pinning the Rover in 1:42.
The loss dropped Palmer into the consolation bracket, where he wrestles Glendale freshman Suds Dubler (40-3) in the second round of consolations. Dubler, the third-place finisher from the Southwest Region, is ranked ninth in the state. Palmer is ranked 21st.
McClintick and Glasl, both ranked in the Top 10 at their respective weights, had to regroup fast to stay alive after suffering first-round losses Thursday.
McClintick (34-3), who came in ranked third, drew a tough opener against Freedom Area senior Bryson Miller (28-9), ranked No. 6, in a battle of state returnees. Miller, who placed sixth a year ago, knocked off the Rover senior, 7-2.
Miller opened the scoring when he took down McClintick with 28 seconds left in the first period, then added an escape from the bottom position late in the second after McClintick had rode him most of the period.
McClintick needed just four seconds to escape in the third to cut his deficit to 3-1, but Miller responded with two takedowns from there to come away with victory.
McClintick bounced back with a 5-0 win against Mahoney junior Dan Lawrence (38-9) in the consy bracket to keep alive his dream of ending his career with a state medal. The Rover scored a first-period takedown and second-period reversal when Lawrence chose top. McClintick then escaped from the bottom in the third to set the final.
The senior continues his states journey today against Hamburg junior Nick James (24-8), the Southeast Region champ. James lost his first round bout to West Branch’s Derek Yingling, 8-2.
Glasl (34-3), a two-time qualifier who placed sixth as a freshman, also had a tough first round bout as he got fourth-ranked Brandan Chletsos (41-10), a freshman from Notre Dame-Green Pond.
The bout was close entering the third period as Chletsos led 3-1 on the strength of a first-period takedown and second-period escape.
Glasl chose bottom in the third and reversed Chletsos with 1:22 remaining to pull even at 3-3.
Chletsos countered with a quick escape to go back up 4-3. With Glasl needing a takedown for the win, Chletsos caught the Rover on a shot attempt and hit a late four-point move to come away with the 8-3 victory.
The loss dropped Glasl into the consy bracket, where he met a familiar foe in Curwensville senior Blake Passarelli. The pair had met twice already this season, with Glasl winning both — including a tiebreaker win in the District 9 finals.
Glasl made it 3-for-3 against Passarelli, the first four-time state qualifier for the Golden Tide, with a hard-fought 3-2 victory.
After a scoreless first period, Glasl jumped out front with an escape nine seconds into the second. The Rover then took down Passarelli before he worked free for an escape near the midway point to trail 3-1 after two periods.
Passarelli chose bottom in the third and escaped with 1:15 to go to make it 3-2, but Glasl held off Passarelli on his feet to advance to Day 2.
Next up for the Rover is Biglerville senior Joshua Tuckey (36-7), who went 1-1 Thursday and was knocked in to the loser’s bracket by a 7-0 loss to Glendale sophomore Brock McMillen (40-1), a returning state runner-up.
Johnson (32-9) saw his standout junior campaign come to an end in heartbreaking fashion as he lost at the buzzer in his consolation bout to go 0-2.
The Rover junior opened his day against Montoursville senior Gable Crebs (32-6), the sixth-ranked 195-pounder in the state.
Johnson struggled to get going in his states debut against Crebs, who built a 6-0 lead after two periods. Johnson finally found the scoreboard when he took down Crebs with seven seconds left in the third in a 7-2 setback. Crebs will now battle DuBois native Kolby Franklin (42-5), a freshman at St. Joseph’s Academy, in the quarterfinals.
The loss dropped the Rover into consy bracket, where he met Towanda senior Clay Green (33-13).
The pair wrestled a scoreless first period before Johnson went up 2-0 with a reversal 25 seconds into the second period. He took that 2-0 lead into the third, where Green chose bottom.
Green earned an escape eight seconds into the period, then the pair battled on their feet the remainder of the period. Johnson looked to be headed to Day 2 as it appeared he fought off a shot attempt by Green in the closing seconds as the buzzer sounded.
However, after conferring with the side official, the referee awarded Green a takedown that gave him a 3-2 victory and handed Johnson a stunning loss that ended his tournament.