Trib HSSN Wrestler of the Week: Canon-McMillan’s Gerrit Nijenhuis

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 11:14 PM

Wrestler of the week: Gerrit Nijenhuis, jr., Canon-McMillan

A controversial officiating decision cost Nijenhuis a spot in the finals at the 2018 PIAA Class AAA tournament. This time around, he wouldn’t be denied.

Nijenhuis won his first career state wrestling championship when he beat Susquehanna’s Edmond Ruth, 8-3, in the 170-pound finals Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey.

Ruth came into the tournament as a two-time state champion, but Nijenhuis took control of the match immediately with a takedown seven seconds into their bout. He added an escape, another takedown and two nearfall points in the second period for a commanding 7-0 lead.

After the tournament’s conclusion, Nijenhuis, a Purdue recruit, was named Outstanding Wrestler. He yielded just seven points in four matches.

Other nominees

Carter Dibert, so., Franklin Regional: After losing to Seneca Valley’s Dylan Chappell in overtime of the WPIAL Class AAA championship, Dibert got his chance at revenge in the state finals and didn’t waste it. A five-point takedown in the first minute of the match was all Dibert needed to earn a 7-2 victory and his first PIAA championship.

Jacob Ealy, sr., Hopewell: There’s nothing like making history, and Ealy did just that when he beat Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser, 7-5, in the 138-pound final at the PIAA Class AA championships. The victory allowed Ealy to become the first state wrestling champion in school history, coming on the heels of WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Regional titles.

Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, so., Seneca Valley: Herrera-Rondon earned his second consecutive PIAA Class AAA championship with a strong performance in the 113-pound bracket. Outside of a short injury timeout in his quarterfinal match, Herrera-Rondon faced little trouble along the way. He beat Franklin Regional’s Finn Solomon, 10-5, in the final.

Thayne Lawrence, jr., Frazier: Last season, Lawrence became Frazier’s first state champion in any sport. He doubled down on that by claiming the PIAA Class AA championship at 160 pounds. Lawrence never trailed in any of his four matches at the tournament and got a comfortable 7-2 decision over Alec English of Kane in the finals.

Darren Miller, sr., Kiski Area: For the fourth time this season Miller met up with Franklin Regional’s Colton Camacho with a tournament title on the line, and the Kiski Area senior won for the third time. In one of the most entertaining matches of the night, Miller beat Camacho, 6-5, in the 126-pound championship bout, avenging a loss from the WPIAL final and winning his first PIAA title.

Dayton Pitzer, fr., Mt. Pleasant: It’s not an easy occurrence for a freshman to win a state title, and especially not at Pitzer’s weight class of 182 pounds. But Pitzer did just that, beating Freedom’s Bryson Miller, 3-1, to earn a PIAA Class AA championship. Pitzer became just the second freshman to win a state championship in a weight class of above 160 pounds.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .

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