Six area wrestlers bring home medals from PIAA tournament
HERSHEY – For Tri-Valley’s Danny Scheib, it was a journey that came full circle, but ever so close.
Scheib came to the PIAA Class AA state wrestling championships on a mission. Return to the form he was at before an injury took him out of the sport the previous year before.
He accomplished that and more as he was the area’s highest placewinner out of six area wrestlers that brought home medals from the tournament held last weekend at the Giant Center, Hershey.
Schend period or that reached the 285-pound finals, won three decisions throughout the tournament before running into his finals opponent, Toby Cahill of Berlin-BrothersValley.
As the two squared off in the final match of the tournament, Cahill worked a significant weight and power advantage, taking him down after the first minute of the bout, leading 2-0 after the first period.
Working from the bottom at the start of the second, Cahill escaped early, putting Scheib in a 3-0 hole early in the second period. Cahill scored another takedown midway through the second and had Scheib in trouble, scoring back points before finally getting the pin.
Scheib scored the silver after taking the measure of most of the best wrestlers in the western part of the state. The Bulldog wrestler scored a 9-4 victory over Colton McClain of Ridgway in the first round, then a 7-2 decision victory over Nick Winfield of Southern Huntingdon in the quarterfinals and a 7-3 win over Cole Rickert in the semis.
The 285-pound weight class was the deepest for the area, featuring three state qualifers, Line Mountain’s Garrett Kieffer, Williams Valley’s Ian Minnich and Scheib. While Scheib and Kieffer made their way through the tournament, Minnich dropped down into the consolation bracket early, dropping a 3-2 decision to Rickert in the first round after pinning his opponent in the preliminary round.
Minnich would go on to pin three of his four opponents throughout the tournament, making his way to the fifth round consolations and a rematch with Rickert with the same result, a 3-2 loss that pushed him into the fifth-place bout on Saturday.
His opponent would be Kieffer, who made it to the semifinals with pinfall victories in times of 1:12 and 42 seconds before running into eventual champion Cahill, who scored a 10-4 decision against Kiefffer to push him in the consolation bracker. Kieffer would drop his next match, a 3-2 decision to Evan Sweesy, of Freedom Area, to be pushed into the fifth-place match against Minnich.
The familiar foes squared off and Kieffer scored first with the takedown, Minnich escaped and the score was 2-1 after the first period. Kieffer went to the bottom to start the second and quickly separated himself, scoring the escape point and making it 3-1.
The Line Mountain wrestler scored the takedown a minute later and then had Minnich in trouble scoring back points before pinning Minnich’s shoulders to the mat, winning fifth place. Minnich took sixth in the field.
Kieffer was one of three medalwinners for Line Mountain, as Cole Hauck took third in the 120-pound division, defeating Upper Dauphin’s Bronson Garber in the consolation finals via a 3-2 decision.
Brian Earlston, wrestling in the 126-pound weight class, made it to the quarterfinals before dropping a 7-6 decision, then fought his way through the consolation bracket to the third-place match before losing to Gage Bayless of Reynolds via major decision.
Tri-Valley’s Sammy Hepler was the area’s other medalist, making it all the way to the semifinals with a pin in the first round and a decision in the quarterfinals before being pinned in the semifinals in less than a minute.
Hepler got back on the winning track with a win in the consolation semifinals to put him in the third-place bout and a rematch with Frazier’s Thayne Lawrence, a wrestler Hepler beat 11-6 in the quarterfinals. This time, however, Lawrence got the better of Hepler, winning via 7-2 decision.
A complete list of results of all 15 wrestlers that competed in the PIAA Class AA state wrestling tournament can be found elsewhere in this issue.