HERSHEY — Brookville used a strong finish, capturing bonus-point wins in six of the final nine bouts, to knock off Lake-Lehman, 40-26, in its opening match at the PIAA Class AA Team Wrestling Championships Thursday in Hershey.
Brookville (17-2) collected four pins, along with a major decision and forfeit win during that closing run. Wyatt Griffin’s second-period pin at 160 jump-started the Raiders’ run after they fell behind 14-6 after five bouts.
Teammate Braden MacBeth (182) recorded a fall of his own two bouts later, while lightweights Owen Reinel and Cayden Walter posted back-to-back first-period falls at 106 and 113, respectively, to seal the program’s 22nd overall victory in the state tournament its its 11th appearance.
Next up for the 10th-ranked Raiders is second-ranked Southern Columbia (19-0), the District 4 champ, in today’s quarterfinals at noon. The Tigers beat D-10 runner-up Conneaut Area, 62-6, Thursday.
Southern Columbia knocked off Brookville, 29-22, in last year’s quarters on their way to finishing as the state runner-up.
“When you’re on this floor, you’re happy to come away with a win no matter how it happens,” said Brookville coach Dave Klepfer. “But, we’re definitely going to have to bring a different game (today) against Southern.
“I’m happy with the win and thought we wrestled hard. I just felt a couple guys weren’t out there with the intent to score points. We need to change that because (today) is going to be a different story.
Brookville got on the board first Thursday against the Knights when senior Cabe Park upended Zach Stuart in the opening bout at 126.
Park seized control of the bout from the get-go, scoring a takedown just 19 second in. Stuart escaped, but Park countered with a big five-point move to take a 7-1 lead after one period.
The scoring slowed from there though.
Stuart rode Park the entire second period, then chose top in the third. Park escaped in the first 30 seconds, then sought a takedown for a potential major decision. The Raider got in deep on Stuart, but the Knight fought off the move and scored the takedown himself to save his squad a team point in an 8-3 loss.
Lake-Lehman took its first lead at 132 when Bob Long, ranked No. 18 in the state, tech falled Parker Fleming, 15-0, in 5:49. Long is the lone Lake-Lehman wrestler in the papowerwrestling.com state rankings.
Brookville countered with a hard-fought 8-4 win by Wyatt Kulik against Josh Bonomo at 138.
Bonomo opened the scoring with a first-period takedown and took that 2-0 lead into the second period. That’s when Kulik swung the momentum in his favor. After escaping from the bottom, the Raider secured a takedown with nine seconds left in the period to go up 3-2.
The pair started on their feet in the third, and it was Kulik who struck first with a takedown. Bonomo reversed the Raider just past the midway point, then let Kulik up with 39 seconds to go in hope of tying the bout.
But, it was Kulik who came up with that takedown with seven seconds on the clock to seal his victory.
The back-and-forth contest continued as Lake-Lehman captured wins at 145 and 152 to take its largest lead of the match at 14-6.
Knight Hunter Burke pinned Cody Hetrick in 2:40 at 145, while Jake Trumbower used a three-point second period (escape, takedown) to upend Jacob Cable, 3-1, at 152.
Griffin followed with his key pin against Connor Morgan at 160.
The Raider grabbed a 2-0 lead on a takedown just past the midway point of the first period then appeared to put Morgan on his back twice in the final 30 seconds. However, Griffin was awarded just one set of three nearfall points at the buzzer.
The sequence quickly became a moot point when Griffin escaped from the bottom position in the second and promptly took Morgan down to his back to get he fall just 20 seconds into the period.
“Griffin’s pin was big at the time in the dual meet,” said Klepfer. “He’s been wrestling different over the past month of the season and really starting to figure things out. At the time, that was a big pin for us.”
Lake-Lehman responded with a big win by Nick Zaboski at 170, as he edged 20th-ranked Elliot Park, 5-4. After a scoreless first period, Zaboski took a 3-2 lead in the second before the duo traded reversals in the third.
Zaboski came out on top following that third-period sequence and rode out the Raider for the 1:09 to hold on for the one-point win to put the Knights up five (17-12).
It was all Brookville from there as it won six of the final eight bouts.
MacBeth started that run with a 49-second pin of Tim Schechterly at 182 to put the Raiders up for good at 18-17, while teammate Nathan Taylor notched an 8-0 major decision of Thomas Nalbone at 195. Taylor put together four-point first and second periods before riding the Knight the entire third period.
Lake-Lehman momentarily halted Brookville’s momentum when TJ Meehan scored a reversal just before the final buzzer to stun Tanner LaBenne, 4-3, at 220.
After a scoreless first period, Meehan turned LaBenne for two backpoints in the second before the Raider scored a reversal just before the midway point of the period. LaBenne went on top when Meehan was called for stalling a second time.
LaBenne took that 302 advantage into the third period looked to be on his way to victory after riding the Knight most of the period. However, Meehan worked free late in the period and reversed the Raider for the win with two seconds remaining to make it 22-20.
A forfeit win by Whitehill followed by a 21-second pin by Reinsel quickly took the edge off the loss at 220, as Reinsel’s fall put the Raiders up 34-20 and sealed the win with two bouts remaining.
Walter followed with a 59-second pin of Jake Palta before Lake-Lehman’s Chandler Longstrength closed out the match with a second-period fall (2:28) of Zack Keihl to set the final.
“Nathan Taylor continues to impress, and I thought we let one get away there at 220,” said Klepfer. “But, rolling back round to the light weights, Owen and Cayden came up big and got bonus points, which is what we needed from them.”