Ligonier Valley’s Patrick earns rematch with nemesis for state wrestling crown
By: Paul Schofield
Friday, March 9, 2018 | 10:24 PM
HERSHEY – Ligonier Valley's Robby Patrick has been waiting 363 days for another shot at Susquehanna Township junior Edmond Ruth.
He gets that shot Saturday in the PIAA Class AA 170-pound finals after he defeated Susquenita senior Dalton Group, 6-3, in the semifinals Friday night at Giant Center.
Ruth defeated Patrick, 3-1, in overtime in the 2017 final and a photo of Ruth celebrating over him hangs almost everywhere Patrick turns (his room, locker, on his wall and iPad) for motivation.
To get to Ruth, Patrick had to maneuver through the toughest side of the 170-pound bracket.
“I defeated the fourth-ranked kid, the third-ranked kid and now I get Ruth,” Patrick said. “It's been 363 days since he beat me. It's going to be something on Saturday. It's going to be special for the crowd.”
Ruth rallied from an early deficit to defeat Penn Cambria senior Derek Brown, 15-9.
Ligonier Valley coach Tom Brown said he watched the match and felt Brown got sloppy.
Patrick said wrestling Group, who was seeded third, should prepare him for Ruth.
“It was a solid win against a solid kid,” Patrick said. “I was a huge win against a state runner-up (170). He wrestled a lot when we were young.
“I saw a quote by Chris Bono, wrestling coach at South Dakota State University; it read ‘release your passion.' So going out there, for my last high school tournament and the last time people will see me wrestle at this level. I showed how much I love this sport and doing it through my technique and effort.”
Derry junior Dom DeLuca had his dream come true. He used a takedown with nine seconds left to defeat Greenville junior Jacob McMaster, 4-3, to reach the finals against Bishop McCort senior Anthony Walters. It will be a rematch from the Southwest Regional at IUP, where Walters won 5-3.
“It's a battle out there,” DeLuca said. “A win's a win. You can't be picky up here because (Pennsylvania) is arguably one of the toughest states in the country, so I'm happy.
“Keeping your poise is big here. You're going to get scored on, stuff is going to happen. Coach (Mike) Weinell said keep going and get after it. It was incredible to get the win because I've always wanted to wrestle in the state finals. I'm not done yet.”
Another regional rematch will occur at 152 pounds where Frazier sophomore Thayne Lawrence will face No. 1-ranked Justin McCoy of Chestnut Ridge. McCoy won the first matchup, 10-1.
Lawrence (29-2) rallied from an early mistake to defeat Mt. Union senior Andrew Todaro, 9-5. Lawrence found himself down 5-0 late in the first period, but a two-point reversal and a two-point nearfall before the buzzer got him back in the match.
He controlled the match the rest of the way for the win. He had defeated Todaro, 8-2, at IUP two weeks ago.
“I kept telling myself not to take him lightly,” Lawrence said. “I made a bad shot, which I shouldn't have, and he caught me.
“Obviously, McCoy is ranked No. 1 for a reason. But I've been working on some new things and we'll see what happens.”
The other WPIAL wrestlers to reach the finals were Jefferson-Morgan senior Gavin Teasdale, who defeated Athens senior A.J. Burkhart, 14-5, at 126, and South Side Beaver senior heavyweight Bishop McCoy, who defeated Curwensville senior Steve McClure, 4-3.
Teasdale is attempting to become the 13th wrestler to win four state titles.
Falling in the semifinals were Quaker Valley freshman Connor Redinger at 106, Southmoreland senior Tyler Griffiths at 145, Burrell senior Corey Christie at 152, Freedom junior Bryson Miller at 195.