By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor
HERSHEY — Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that the only good thing that comes for losing is the desire never to lose again.
For Reynolds High 152-pound mat star Austin Matthews today, that desire is twice as strong.
The Raider senior, for a 3rd straight year, will be making an appearance in the finals at the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at Hershey’s Giant Center. But the last 2 years, his bid for the gold medal fell short.
He hopes to rectify that this afternoon as he leads a Mercer County group of 6 wrestlers into placement matches for medals.
Matthews will be joined in the finals by Lakeview junior Sam Breese (285) who is trying to make some history here of his own. A pair of Sharon seniors are closing out their careers in the consolations. Michael Bonner (138) will battle for 3rd, while Jarray Norris (126) will go for 5th. Matthews’ Raider teammates Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamar Henry (182) are both competing in 7th-place consolation bouts..
“This is his third state finals and he’s determined,” said Reynolds coach Casey Taylor after watching Matthews demolish Milton’s Ryan Preisch in Friday night’s semis, 16-7. Matthews built a 5-0 lead, but Preisch tied it at 5 early in the 2nd. After that, it was all Matthews as he tacked on a reversal and near-fall for a 9-5 lead, then and escape and 3 takedowns in the final frame.
“I give that kid (Preisch) a lot of credit,” said Taylor. “He came to win the match, not just to keep it close like so many kids do. That kid never stops. And that’s good for Austin. I’m pleased that after it was tied, Austin decided it was time to wake up and time to go.”
Matthews (48-1) will see a familiar face in the finals, Kyle Bova (39-1) of Coudersport. The only loss on Bova’s log came in the region finals where Matthews romped 18-6.
“It won’t be easy,” said Taylor. “They’ll change a few things and so will we. But Austin is determined to win that gold medal.”
In the quarterfinals, the 3-time state place-winner notched a pair of 1st-period takedowns and went on to a controlled 6-2 victory over Blairsville’s Andrew Doak.
Breese had a tough battle in the quarterfinals, beating Central Columbia’s Alex Shiber, 2-1. But it wasn’t that way in Friday night’s semifinals where the Sailor star built a 14-3 lead before pinning Bethlehem Catholic’s Andrew Dunn in 4:34.
“The first few matches here were close,” said Lakeview coach Tom Tingley. “But he’s really wrestling well now and starting to peak. He wrestled a smart match tonight. He kept the pace and took it to that kid.”
In the finals today, it will be an all-Northwest Regional meeting of champion Breese (36-4) and 3rd-place finisher Nicholas Budd (36-1) of Port Alleghany.
“They didn’t wrestle at regions,” said Tingley. “But we know (Budd’s) tough. He beat the defending state champ (Nazar Mironenko of Mifflinburg) earlier.”
Breese said the experience of being here last year as a sophomore helped, and he’s ready for the finals. One of the first people to congratulate Breese after the win was Boiling Springs’ coach Rod Wright, a 3-time state champion for Lakeview.
The consolation matches and finals are wrestled simultaneously on 4 mats. Following is a look at the locals who competed Friday and where they will compete in today’s consolation bouts:
Vying for 3rd
138 — Bonner scored an escape and takedown in the waning seconds of his quarterfinal bout to top Juniata’s Sean Heggs, 8-6. In the semifinals. However, the Tigers’ senior couldn’t come up with the same late-match magic and dropped a 3-2 decision to Line Mountain’s Seth Landsbury, the 7th-place finisher at 132 last season. A 3rd-period takedown by Landsbury made the difference. Bonner fell into the consy semis where he tangled with Burrell’s Steve Edwards in a low-scoring affair that ended 1-1 in regulation. In OT, Bonner finished off a leg shot for a 3-1 victory.
“Michael wrestled tough,” said Sharon coach Dave Ciafre. “That kid was a good counter-wrestler. Michael was more aggressive the whole match and finally got that takedown.”
Bonner (36-4) will have a Northwest Region finals rematch with Brookville’s Brock Zacherl (35-5) won won a controversial overtime match against Bonner .
Vying for 5th
126 — Norris lost his quarterfinal match, 7-4, to Beth-Catholic’s Zeke Moisey, runner-up at 120 last year. Norris fell behind, 6-1, after the 1st period, giving up 2 takedowns and a near-fall. The Tiger senior controlled the rest of the match, but couldn’t catch up. In the 2nd-round conys Norris bounced back with an 8-4 victory over Valley’s Patrick DeWitt to move into the medal rounds. In the consy quarters, Norris faced Saegertown’s Nick Monico, who Norris defeated 5-1 in the region semis. This time it wasn’t as close as Norris jumped out to a 4-0 lead and rolled to a 9-4 victory. In the consy semis, Norris met Jefferson-Morgan’s John Demaske. Norris gave up a 1st-period takedown and never was able to catch up, losing a tough 5-2 decision.
“Jarray didn’t wrestle his match,” said Ciafre. “But he’s in for a medal. Hopefully, he’ll get excited and go get a fifth.”
In the consys today for fifth, Norris (38-4) will take on Southern Columbia’s Kent Lane (39-2).
Vying for 7th
145 — Stoyer, a junior, fell into the consolations after losing a 5-1 decision to Williamson’s Billy Barnes in Friday morning’s quarterfinals. A pair of takedowns on leg shots was the difference in the match. In the 2nd-round consys, Stoyer took on a familiar foe – Cochranton’s Robert Boozer. Stoyer beat the Redbird junior in the district and region finals by scores of 3-1 and 3-2. This time, it was another close win for Stoyer, 5-4. With the bout tied at 3 in the final frame, Stoyer nailed a spin-behind takedown for the deciding points.
In the consy quarterfinals, Stoyer took on Brookville’s Zach Vroman, who led 5-0 in the 2nd period after an escape, takedown and backpoints. Stoyer battled back, but lost 5-3. For 7th place today, Stoyer (41-8) will meet Briton Shelton (43-9).
182 — Henry, a senior, moved into the medal rounds with a 10-1 victory over Benton’s Logan Womelsdorf in the 2nd-round consys. Henry grabbed 4 takedowns in the win. The Raider then bowed to Lancaster Catholic’s Stephen Loiseau, 3-1 in a hardfought battle. Today, Henry (37-12) will face Canton’s Garrett Wesneski (34-4).
“I’m proud of Levi and Jamar,” said Taylor. “Even though they lost those last consolation matches, they wrestled hard. They set goals of getting a medal here and they’ve accomplished that. And Levi will be back next year for another shot.”
106 — Hogue, freshman, bowed out of the tourney with a 14-8 loss to Bishop McDevitt’s Tyshawn White in the 2nd-round consys. White dominated the match on his feet. Hogue was a Section 2 champ this season and posted a 31-15 record.
Notes: The only 0ther District 10 wrestler going for a championship today is Saegertown’s Devin Brown (106). Several others will be competing for places. ... Defending heavyweight champ Mironenko of Mifflinburg was eliminated from the tourney Friday. He lost to Port Allegany’s Nicholas Budd in the quarterfinals, then was disqualified for allegedly punching at Biglersville’s Trevor Stover when he was losing.
PIAA CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIPS
106—Devin Brown, Saegertown dec. Jacob Wasser, Palisades, 5-0; Luke Karam, Bethlehem Catholic major dec. Collin Glorioso, Huntingdon, 11-0.
113—Seth Carr, South Fayette dec. Josh Brown, Claysburg-Kimmel, 10-8 OT; George Phillippi, Derry Area dec. Korbin Myers, Boiling Springs, 2-1 TB.
120—Darian Cruz, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Joshua Patrick, Ligonier Valley, 10-5; Ryan Easter, Bedford dec. Nate Reckner, South Side Beaver, 9-2.
126—Ryan Diehl, Trinity (Dist. 3) dec. John Demaske, Jefferson-Morgan, 9-3; Zeke Moisey, Bethlehem Catholic pinned Kyle Shoop, Boiling Springs, 1:43.
132—Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks dec. Ian Brown, Hanover, 5-1 TB; Jason Nolf, Kittanning pinned Michael Comunale, Pius X, 3:08.
138—Seth Lansberry, Line Mountain dec. Michael Bonner, Sharon, 3-2; Zain Retherford, Benton dec. Brock Zacherl, Brookville, 5-0.
145—Michael Racciato, Pen Argyl by injury default Billy Barnes, Williamson, 1:07; Colt Cotten, Benton dec. Blake Bowman, Tri-Valley, 3-1
152—Kyle Bova, Coudersport dec. Ty Herzog, Northern Lehigh, 7-2; Austin Matthews, Reynolds major dec. Ryan Preisch, Milton, 16-7.
160—Cody Law, Forest Hills dec. Ty Walter, Mifflinburg, 5-1; Evan Delong, Kane dec. Ty Schoffstall, Tri-Valley, 7-6.
170—Pete Renda, Brandywine Heights major dec. Tim Vargo, Union City, 10-0; Tristan Sponseller, Bermudian Springs dec. Alexander Gular, Port Allegany, 6-1.
182—Troy Hembury, Muncy dec. Adam Mackie, Brandywine Heights, 2-1; Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell major dec. Dylan Reynolds, Saegertown, 9-1.
195—Ryan Solomon, Milton pinned Zac Croyle, Kittanning, 1:15; Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston dec. Adam Geiger, Trinity (Dist. 3), 5-2.
220—Ray O’Donnell, Saucon Valley pinned Cam Cyphert, Cochranton, 0:25; Brandon Smith, Lewisburg dec. Jake Temple, Avella, 2-1 TB.
285—Nicholas Budd, Port Alleghany dec. Austin Buttry, Chestnut Ridge, 4-3; Sam Breese, Lakeview pinned Andrew Dunn, Bethlehem Catholic, 4:34.
3rd Round Consolations
106—Triston Law, Forest Hills dec. Cameron Newman, Line Mountain, 5-0; Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland dec. Tyshawn White, Bishop McDevitt, 5-2.
113—Justin Patrick, Ligonier Valley pinned Willis Gruver, Redbank Valley, 0:33; Caleb Bordner, Tri-Valley dec. Jake Rothka, Bentworth, 5-0.
120—Matt Welliver, Benton major dec. Tyler Vath, Saegertown, 13-3; Matt Williams, Pen Argyl dec. Bryan Israel, Saucon Valley, 4-3 TB.
126—Jarray Norris, Sharon dec. Nick Monico, Saegertown, 9-4; Kent Lane, Southern Columbia dec. Andrew Schutz, Wyoming Area, 3-1.
132—Dalton Zimmerman, Brookville dec. Jake Wentzel, South Park, 6-2; Austin Harry, Lake Lehman dec. Cole Walter, Mifflinburg, 4-2.
138—Steve Edwards, Burrell dec. Ryan Todora, Bethlehem Catholic, 4-3; Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi dec. Hunter Harner, Tri-Valley, 4-0.
145—Phil Marra, Burrell dec. Briton Shelton, Bermudian Springs, 3-0; Zach Vroman, Brookville dec. Levi Stoyer, Reynolds, 5-3.
152—Kyle Barnes, Hughesville dec. Andrew Doak, Blairsville, 3-2 UTB; Boe Bonzo, Freedom dec. Blake Marks, Southern Columbia, 6-1.
160—Jeric Kasunic, Benton dec. Jared Walker, South Fayette, 5-2; Taylor Fox, Fort LeBoeuf pinned Cole Shirey, Redbank Valley, 2:11.
170—Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan dec. Josh Asper, Biglerville, 4-1; Mike Fetchet, South Fayette dec. Tyler Dibert, Chestnut Ridge, 3-2 TB.
182—Stephen Loiseau, Lancaster Catholic dec. Jamar Henry, Reynolds, 3-1; Terrell Fields, Valley dec. Garrett Wesneski, Canton, 3-1.
195—James Stodart, Moshannon Valley dec. Skylar Ebner, Muncy, 5-4; Josh Alpha, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Jacob Nickelson, Somerset, 3-1.
220—Evan Daley, Fort LeBoeuf dec. Jacob Ludwig, Moshannon Valley, 5-2; Cody Jacobs, West Greene dec. Dennis Atiyeh, Notre Dame Green Pond, 7-5 TB.
285—Brent Sterner, Susquenita pinned Morgan Selepack, West Branch, 4:00; Trevor Stover, Biglerville dec. Michael Hall, Tussey Mountain, 6-2.