PIAA States: CM, Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area wrestling recap
By DAVID BOHR
For The Express
HERSHEY – Two local wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals at the PIAA wrestling championships at Giant Center on Thursday. In Class 3A, Ethan Richner of Bellefonte will be in Friday’s Elite Eight in the 152-pound class. In 2A, Cooper Gilliam of Bald Eagle Area will compete in the 113 quarters.
Richner was never threatened in his Round of 16 match, as he was shutting out Michael Kistler of Northampton, 5-0, when he recorded a pin at the 2:47 mark.
However, when the match was scoreless through the first 1:45, Richner (36-4) was not taking anything for granted against a wrestler he had never encountered before.
“When we were tied up early, I was a little concerned,” said Richner, a sophomore. “But I’ve been good scrambling all year out of those positions.”
At the very end of the first period, Richner recorded a takedown, followed by three near-fall points. That foreshadowed his pin in the second period.
“I’ve been wrestling good all year,” Richner said. “My strategy was to wrestle like I have all year. Just don’t do anything stupid and I’ll be okay.”
In Friday’s quarterfinals, Richner will face Colby Romjue of Susquehannock.
“[My goal] is to wrestle as hard as I can and go as high on the medal stand as I can,” Richner said. “I’m capable of placing high, I just have to do the work.”
Three other Bellefonte wrestlers competed on Thursday, though Lane Aikey was the only other Raider to make it to Friday’s action.
Lane Aikey was knocked out of the championship bracket by Matt Maloney of Liberty, 10-4, in the 120 round of 16. Aikey had the initial takedown but Maloney cruised after that. However, Aikey kept his season going with a 5-0 decision over Chandler Ho of Dubois in the night’s consolations. Aikey (32-9) will face Kody Evans of Susquehanna Twp. in the second round of consolations on Friday, trying to stay in medal contention.
Cole Stewart (31-13) dropped two matches. He was pinned by Kibwe McNair of Methacton in 2:30 in the 138 preliminary round, then lost 9-4 to Tye Weathersby of Central Dauphin the consolation round.
In the 182 bracket, Ethan Rossman also lost twice. Rossman (35-8) lost to Nick Baker of Penn Manor 4-2 on a takedown with 20 seconds left in the preliminary round. Then, in the consolations, Cumberland Valley’s Jake Lukas won over Rossman 5-1.
Derek Keen, the lone Central Mountain wrestler at the state tournament, had two tough losses to end his freshman season.
In the 106 round of 16, Keen dropped a 6-4 decision to Easton’s Braxton Appello in the last second. Keen was up 4-2 after an escape with 50 seconds left in the match. But Appello recorded a takedown in the waning seconds and was awarded two nearfall points at the buzzer.
In the consolation round, Keen (31-10) was in position to make a late comeback, recording a takedown with 20 seconds left to tie Connor Werner of Liberty 8-8 with 20 seconds left. But Werner had an escape with 10 seconds on the clock, followed by a take down and near fall points for a 13-8 victory.
Cooper Gilham (BEA) fell behind 5-2 in his 113 Round of 16 bout against Andrew Brest of General McLane, but scored a quick reversal and two near fall points to take the lead. He eventually won the match 9-7.
“I saw the throw was there on the edge of the mat,” Gilham, a sophomore, said of his key maneuver. “I kept my feet in and it worked.”
In the third period, Gilham (32-10) got an automatic escape to go ahead 7-5. Midway through the third, he picked up two more points for a takedown to secure his lead.
Gilham had wrestled Brest twice last year, losing both times. But now he can look to the future, specifically Friday’s quarterfinals. There he will face Nate Holderbaum of Chestnut Ridge.
“Winning,” Gilham said was his goal the rest of the weekend. “I’ve lost to a couple kids in the bracket. My goal is to win one match at a time.”
Garrett Giedroc, also of Bald Eagle Area, lost his two bouts on Thursday. In the 120 preliminaries, he scored the opening takedown against Blake Showers of Biglerville, but Showers took the lead with an escape early in the third and posted a late takedown for a 6-3 win.
In the consolations, Giedroc (29-16) forced Noah Teeter of Mt. Pleasant to a 2-2 tie after two periods. Teeter went up 5-2 before Giedroc made a reversal to get back within a point. But Teeter made a reversal of his own and earned three near-fall points to post a 10-4 decision.
Round of 16
Cooper Gilham, Bald Eagle Area d Andrew Brest, General McLane 9-7.
Blake Showers, Biglerville d Garrett Giedroc, Bald Eagle Area 6-3.
Noah Teeter, Mt. Pleasant d Giedroc 10-4.
Round of 16
Braxton Appello, Easton d Derek Keen, Central Mt. 6-4.
Connor Werner, Liberty d Keen 13-8.
Round of 16
Matt Maloney, Liberty d Lane Aikey, Bellefonte 10-4.
Aikey d Chandler Ho, Dubois 5-0.
Kibwe McNair, Methacton p Cole Stewart, Bellefonte 2:30.
Tye Weathersby, Central Dauphin d Stewart 9-4.
Round of 16
Ethan Richner, Bellefonte p Michael Kistler, Northampton 2:47.
Nick Baker, Penn Manor d Ethan Rossman, Bellefonte 4-2.
Jake Lucas, Cumberland Valley d Rossman 5-1.