Ryan Sullivan adds name to Shaler’s list of state wrestling champions

Monday, March 12, 2018 | 12:36 AM

Ryan Sullivan ended many droughts Saturday night at Giant Center in Hershey. Capturing the 113-pound PIAA championship with a 4-3 win over West Chester Henderson's Killian Delaney provided many highlights for Sullivan and for the Shaler wrestling program.

Sullivan, a junior who was a PIAA runner-up last year, became the 13th Titans wrestler to win a PIAA title and first since Nick Nelson won at 145 pounds in 2007.

Winning also brought back good memories of his youth. Sullivan, who was a two-time Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling state champion, found a way to return to the summit among his Pennsylvania rivals.

“It was awesome,” said Sullivan, who also won the WPIAL crown on the way to a 42-1 record. “I haven't won a state title since I was 10 years old. This has been my dream. I have bigger goals in the future. You have to work from it. It was a stepping stone.”

Shaler coach Drew D'Agostino said he thought Sullivan winning this year was fitting. Former Titans coach Bob Siar, who took over as coach in 1965, died last week. Sullivan's victory came 45 years to the day Siar had his first state champion: Keith Nellis, who won at 112 pounds in 1973.

“Obviously, it's great for our program,” D'Agostino said.

“We've been a successful program throughout the years. Bob Siar just passed away, and he put Shaler on the map, and it was kind of fitting to get a state champ a week after he passed away.”

The path to the finals didn't include many serious speed bumps for Sullivan.

He scored a 10-3 major decision over Upper Perkiomen's Jared Kuhns, pinned New Oxford's Timothy Uhler in 3 minutes, 29 seconds and beat Liberty's Matt Malone, 5-2, in the semifinals.

“He puts the time in,” D'Agostino said. “It's not a great secret. He worked for hours and hours in club and put extra time in with my coaches. He's a guy who puts time in the room, and there's no substitute for hard work. Winning is the reward for the labors he put in.”

In the finals, Sullivan wanted to wrestle smart against Delaney, who was stout physically. Picking up a first-period takedown gave Sullivan an edge.

“I think I dominated,” Sullivan said. “He was strong. I wrestled from the outside and moved a lot. I got that takedown in the first period, and that was huge. I ended up getting a reversal.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer. Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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