South Park’s Joey Fischer 1 of 5 WPIAL wrestlers to win Class AA state titles
Friday, March 12, 2021 | 11:11 PM
HERSHEY — South Park senior Joey Fischer can now look down on his opponents.
No disrespect, but when you win a PIAA Class AA title, you get to stand atop of the podium to receive your medal.
Fischer became the third individual from South Park to win a state title — he joined two-time champions Jake Wentzel and Greg Bulsak — with his 3-2 victory against Muncy sophomore Scott Johnson in the 126-pound final at the Giant Center.
It was the third time Fischer has placed in the tournament. He finished fourth as a sophomore and second in 2020.
“This is sweeter than I expected,” Fischer said. “I even have bigger goals going into college (Clarion University). Now that I won, there is a lot of stress off my shoulders. Something I’ve been working at for so long and I finally did it. It feels good, and it makes me want more.”
The match was scoreless into the second period when Fischer rolled out for an escape. He then finished off a leg attack for a takedown and a 3-0 lead. Johnson got two escapes in the final two periods, but he never got a clear shot to take Fischer down.
“Anytime that you can score enough points and avoid overtime is go,” Fischer said who dropped to his knees after the match end and looked up to the sky.
Fischer was one of five wrestlers from the WPIAL to win state titles.
Mt. Pleasant junior Dayton Pitzer (215) won his second title with a 6-1 victory against Montoursville senior and Pitt football preferred walk-on Dylan Bennett.
“Winning this feels good,” Pitzer said. “My freshman year, I was kind of the underdog and I won it. Coming back from my injury last year definitely feels good.”
An injury his sophomore season prevented him from becoming a possible four-time champion.
“The injury was something I couldn’t control because my goal was to be a four-time champion,” Pitzer said. “The next best thing is becoming a three-time champion. Definitely that’s one of my goals, but you have to take it a day at a time. I try not to look too far ahead.”
Pitzer used two takedowns and a reversal to beat Bennett. He also defeated Bennett by the same score in the Powerade semifinals.
Burrell’s AJ Corrado pancaked Midd-West senior Avery Bassett in overtime of the 160-pound final and celebrated his first PIAA title with a pin.
The score was tied 1-1 when Corrado attacked.
“I knew he was going to take that shot and I was actually looking to hit the pancake,” Corrado said. “When he took it, I saw the opening and hit it. It was something I’ve been working on ever since I came to Burrell. I use it a lot. I guess I serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Frazier freshman Rune Lawrence won another thrilling match against Penns Valley senior Malachi Duvall, winning 9-7 when he exposed Duvall’s back to the mat with 15 seconds left. It was the third-consecutive week Lawrence has beaten Duvall.
The previous two times Duvall had an early lead. This time, it was Lawrence who got off to the lead only to have Duvall rally and tie the score in the second period.
“We just like to put on a show for the fans,” Lawrence said. “He’s a great wrestler and its fun to wrestle someone like him.”
The other champion was Laurel sophomore Grant MacKay, who won 1-0 against Hamburg senior Dalton Gimbor.
Burrell freshman Cooper Hornack (106) and senior Ian Oswalt (138) each placed second.
Hornack dropped a 6-2 decision to Hickory freshman Louie Gill at 106; it ended up being a learning experience. Hornack defeated Gill at the West Super Region on March 6.
“Losing here makes me want to work even harder,” Hornack said. “I just got caught in the second period. I thought I wrestled well until that point.”
Burrell senior Ian Oswalt lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to three-time PIAA champion Glendale senior Brock McMillan is a rematch from the 2020 final.
McMillen was able to escape in the second period and held on for the win. He finished 6-0 in his career against Oswalt.
“He’s tough on top, he’s a leech” Oswalt said. “He hangs for dear life. He does a really good job to sag on the opposite side and covers your hips.
“That’s no excuse; I shouldn’t get ridden out in the state finals. I was close to taking him down in the first period, but I just couldn’t finish.”
Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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