7 WPIAL wrestlers advance to PIAA Class AA finals

Friday, March 8, 2019 | 11:38 PM

HERSHEY – Things didn’t start out well for WPIAL wrestlers in the PIAA Class AA semifinals Friday night.

The first four wrestlers to step on the mat lost close battles at the Giant Center.

But the WPIAL finished strong as seven wrestlers advanced to Saturday’s finals at 2 p.m.

Hopewell senior Jacob Ealy breezed to an 8-1 win against Bishop McDevitt junior Tyler Martin at 138 pounds.

“It feels really good that I made it to the state finals,” Ealy said. “But I’m not done yet. It was a good confidence builder, but I still have work to do.”

Ealy has been a scoring machine in the tournament, outscoring his opponents 43-9.

“I’m constantly going out and trying to score points, using our club team motto ‘always our turn, never their turn,’ ” Ealy said. “You’re always trying to score no matter what the score is.”

Ealy is looking to become the first Hopewell wrestler to win at state title.

Freedom sophomore Trent Schultheis (36-4) continued is solid tournament with a 9-4 win against Bermudian Springs junior Trenton Harder at 152. He’ll face Pope John Paul II senior Ryan Valukh (34-0) in the finals.

“I’m sure there were doubters, but I proved them all wrong,” Schultheis said. “I’ve been since the Sunday after states last year, trying to get better. I finished eighth last year, now I’m in the finals.”

Frazier junior Thayne Lawrence kept the ball rolling as he looks for his second PIAA title.

Lawrence, the returning 152-pound champion, defeated Towanda senior Cooper Mosier, 11-4, at 160.

While the win came easily, Lawrence was disappointed he allowed a headlock takedown and also felt he should have been given a pin.

“I thought I had him flat,” Lawrence said. “And I got sloppy and allowed him the headlock. I can’t allow that.”

Lawrence (28-3) will face Kane senior Alec English in the finals.

McGuffey senior Christian Clutter (43-3) reached the finals with a 3-2 win against Penn Cambria senior Derek Brown. He’ll face Chestnut Ridge senior Jared McGill, who defeated Valley senior Noah Hutcherson, 17-2, in the other semifinal at 170.

It will be an all-WPIAL final at 182 as Mt. Pleasant freshman Dayton Pitzer squares off against Freedom senior Bryson Miller.

Pitzer allowed the first takedown to Union City senior Gavin Henry, and then took over, rolling to a 12-2 victory. He’ll face Miller for the third time this season.

Miller defeated Ellwood City junior Austin Walley, 3-2, in overtime. It was the first time in four tries that Miller had beaten Walley.

Now he’ll get Pitzer again.

Pitzer defeated Miller in the WPIAL semifinals, 11-5, and then pinned him in the PIAA Southwest Regional semifinals.

“Bryson will be coming hard, and he wants to beat me,” Pitzer said. “We’ll figure out a good game plan for him, and I’m excited for the finals.”

Miller said the match with Pitzer is just another obstacle in his way.

“I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to win the match,” Miller said. “I lost to him in regions, but it’s all a matchup and a head game.”

On finally defeating Walley, Miller said: “Whatever happened in the postseason doesn’t matter. Everything that happens here is what matters.

“If you’ve got the heart to do it, you can do anything. I knew if I got down, I knew I was going to win. Nobody’s holding me down.”

Derry senior Dom DeLuca advanced to the finals for the second consecutive year. This time he wants to get on top of the podium.

DeLuca (39-1) advanced to the finals by defeating Montoursville junior Cameron Wood, 5-1, in the semifinals on Friday. DeLuca used a first-period takedown and second-period escape to grab a 3-0 lead.

“I just have to let it all fire, I have nothing to lose,” DeLuca said. “I’m trying to end my career with a bang. Last year, I was a little nervous, a little timid. I said let’s go and have fun this year.”

South Park sophomore Joey Fischer gave up a late first period takedown and dropped a 3-1 decision to Troy junior Sheldon Seymour in the semifinals.

Seymour (35-0) got an escape in the second period for a 3-0 lead, but after allowing Fischer to escape in the third period, fended off his attack to tie the score.

Elizabeth Forward junior Ryan Michaels allowed a four-point move in the first period and dropped a 4-3 decision to Southern Columbia freshman Kole Biscoe.

Burrell sophomore Ian Oswalt gave up a reversal in overtime and dropped a 3-1 decision to Notre Dame-Green Pond freshman Ryan Crookham.

Derry sophomore Tyler Cymmerman gave up a two-point nearfall in the third period and lost 3-1 to Bishop McDevitt Chase Shields, 3-1.

Bentworth Chris Vargo lost a tough 3-2 decision to Southern Columbia junior Gaige Garcia at 195, and Quaker Valley senior Geoff Magin lost to St. Joseph Catholic Academy freshman Kolby Franklin.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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