Valley’s Hutcherson advances to PIAA Class AA quarterfinals with overtime decision

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 1:30 AM

HERSHEY — Noah Hutcherson needed some extra effort on his first day at the PIAA wrestling championships.

Good thing he came prepared.

Hutcherson, a state qualifier for the first time in his senior season at Valley, advanced to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals at 170 pounds with a 10-8 win in sudden-victory overtime over Greenville’s Brady Gentile on Thursday at Giant Center.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, and it just shows it out there,” Hutcherson said. “I’ve put in a lot. This is my life. I love it. I’ve just been out here working, I’m finally here, and I’m just trying to put in work.”

Valley emphasizes conditioning during training, a practice that coach Dane Johnson tends to draw some grumbles, even from Hutcherson.

But with his match against Gentile on the line, Hutcherson’s extra work helped him score the winning takedown in overtime.

“We really push the kids during the year, and he’s kind of the one sometimes to complain about why do we do it so much,” said Johnson, a three-time PIAA champion wrestler during his days at Shady Side Academy. “He thinks other kids aren’t doing that and we’re pushing them too hard, but I think he’ll look back, if not this year, maybe years down the line that’s what we do it for.”

Hutcherson found himself in trouble early against Gentile, the fourth-seeded wrestler in the bracket. He was taken down to his back late in the first period, a move that put him in a 4-0 hole. He answered with a reversal, but Gentile escaped to end the first period with a 5-2 lead.

But Hutcherson stayed with it. He got an escape and takedown in the second period to tie the score. After Gentile retook a two-point lead with escapes in the second and third, Hutcherson tied it again with a takedown midway through the third.

“I just kept pushing the pace,” Hutcherson said. “I (saw) he was tiring in the second, and I just kept going.”

Gentile got another escape point after Hutcherson cut him loose, but Hutcherson stayed on the attack and ultimately re-tied the score when Gentile was called for stalling late in the third period.

Then the Valley senior got his takedown with 18 seconds remaining in the minute-long sudden-victory period, letting an exhilarated laugh loose afterward.

“Everything I’ve ever worked on is going to be out on those mats,” Hutcherson said. “I’m just out here trying.”

The atmosphere of the state tournament didn’t bother Hutcherson, who pinned Tri Valley’s Kolt Schaeffer in the preliminary round.

“He’s the type (where) I didn’t really think he’d get nervous,” Johnson said of Hutcherson, who will wrestle Kutztown’s Tyler Fisher in the quarterfinals. “He had a great two weeks of practice. I knew (Gentile) was tough, but the guys (Hutcherson) wrestled this year have all been really quality opponents. … It came down to the wire, and he pulled it out. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Burrell sophomore Ian Oswalt will join Hutcherson as Alle-Kiski Valley wrestlers in the quarterfinals. Oswalt, the top seed at 120 pounds, outlasted Biglerville’s Blake Showers, 3-2, in the round of 16.

Showers took Oswalt down in the first period, but Oswalt answered with a reversal to tie the score and got the win thanks to a third-period escape.

“I don’t think I wrestled my best match there,” said Oswalt, who won titles at the WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Regional tournaments this season and finished fourth at the state championships in 2018. “I’m not making excuses or anything, but that first match at Hershey every year, every time I come here, it’s just not my best.

“But that doesn’t really matter. I moved on, so it’s just on to the next match.”

Burrell’s other two PIAA qualifiers, sophomore A.J. Corrado and senior Austin Mele, won preliminary-round matches before dropping down to the consolation bracket after losses in the round of 16. Corrado beat Notre Dame’s Nick Vonelli, 3-2, before falling by major decision to Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser. Mele beat Reynolds’ Hunter Thompson, 8-5, but lost by technical fall to Saucon Valley’s Matthew Arciuolo.

The PIAA Class AA tournament will resume at 9 a.m. Friday with the quarterfinals and second-round consolations, with all four Alle-Kiski Valley wrestlers in action. Semifinals take place Friday night.

“Just go out there and leave it all on the mat,” Hutcherson said of his quarterfinal game plan. “Just keep trying and keep pushing myself. That’s really it.”

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

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