HERSHEY — It wasn’t easy, but DuBois junior Trenton Donahue left Hershey Saturday night with his first state medal around his neck after putting together a 4-3 weekend to place sixth at 126 pounds at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships.
Donahue needed a huge effort just to qualify for states as he won four straight consolation matches after losing his opener at the Northwest Regional.
The Beaver followed the same formula in Hershey, as he ripped off four straight victories after losing 6-0 to Canon-McMillan’s Kenny Hayman in Thursday’s first round. After making it out of Day 1, Donahue posted two hard-fought wins Friday afternoon to reach the medal rounds for the first in his second trip to states. He went 0-2 in Hershey as a freshman before not wrestling last postseason.
He opened Friday with a 5-2 win against West Chester East’s Corey Celenza, then beat Carlisle’s Rafael Portilla, 5-3, in the third round consolations to secure a medal.
Donahue then came back Saturday morning and used three nearfall points in the second period to top Council Rock South’s Braden Ricchini in the consy semifinals before losing a 7-3 decision to East Stroudsburg East’s Patrick Gould in the consy semifinals. Gould went on to place third, beating Hayman, 6-4, in the consy finals.
That dropped Donahue into the fifth-place match where he lost a tough 4-2 contest to JJ Wilson of Cedar Cliff. Wilson used an escape and takedown in the second period for the deciding points before holding off the Beaver on his feet the entire third period.
“I didn’t really wrestle too well in my regional matches and kind of got upset about that at first,” said Donahue. “I wrestled my butt off there (Altoona) to here (states), and everybody was doubting me, thinking I couldn’t place. I came in here with the mind-set I’m just going to let it fly and do my best.
“After I got that first win, things just kept coming together, and I started to feel good and feel comfortable and not nervous during my matches. Now that I got a medal, next year I’m looking to be on the top of that podium.
“I don’t really see anyone stopping me at this point. I’m going to do my best this summer to train hard and come back stronger than ever.”
“This was a big breakthrough for Trenton,” said DuBois coach Luke Bundy. “Throughout his wrestling career, he always talked about PJWs and into high school, making the state tournament and never doing that well. For him to come down and put up some wins and grab a medal, hopefully that spurs him into next year to really put himself in position to be in the finals.”
Donahue’s teammate, senior Dalton Woodrow (33-6), saw his run in Hershey come to an end Friday with a tough 4-2 loss to Canon-McMillan’s Tanner Rohaley in the second round of consolations.
After a scoreless first period, Rohaley grabbed the lead with an escape eight seconds into the second. It looked like the match would got to the third that way, but Rohaley took down the Beaver right before the buzzer for a 3-0 lead.
Woodrow started down in the third and cut his deficit to 3-2 on a reversal with 19 seconds to go. He promptly let Rohaley up in hopes of getting a tying takedown, but the Trojan held him off to advance.
Woodrow went 1-1 on Thursday to collect his first win in Hershey in his third trip. The Beaver finished his standout career with a 128-30 record. Those 128 wins record him third all-time in school history behind only Tom Sleigh (140-24) and Zach Lundgren (134-36).