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March 10, 2013

PIAA WRESTLING: Brown, Breese are best in the state

March 10, 2013 7:00 a.m. HERSHEY — They may be polar opposites in terms of size, however Saegertown 106-pounder Devin Brown and Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese are both the same in one key aspect: They are both state champions.

To start the Class AA tournament on Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey, Brown became the third Panther to stand atop the podium by defeating Bethlehem Catholic’s Luke Karam by fall in overtime.

Then as the Double-A tournament came to a close, Breese recorded a takedown with two seconds remaining in the third period to score a 3-1 decision over Port Allegany’s Nicholas Budd, netting Lakeview its first state champ since 1987.

“I just feel like I am on top of the world right now,” Brown said. “It’s an honor to be first in the state.”

Brown also became the first state champion under head coach Jim Mulligan.

“I was an assistant when Pat (Bradshaw) won so that’s my first as a head coach,” Mulligan said. “I want everyone to feel like they were a part of it. We are all in it together. We have a great coaching staff.”

Brown and Karam featured the top two ranked wrestlers in the state, and the bout did not disappoint.

Each wrestler had a difficult time gaining control in the first period, with neither recording a point.

With 1:12 left in the second period, Brown struck first on a reversal for a 2-0 advantage. As the period was winding down, Karam registered a reversal of his own to tie it up entering the final two minutes of the championship. The score did not change in the final stanza, but Brown’s demeanor throughout the match showed how confident he was in his ability to win.

“I feel like I broke him in the first period,” Brown said. “I felt confident and was just shooting for that takedown.”

Right as overtime started, Brown shot in and got a solid wrap around Karam’s right leg. Brown pulled him in for both legs, lifted and stuck Karam to his back, ending the match at 6:12.

Brown was not shy in winning his first state championship, celebrating with a back flip in the middle of the mat.

“It’s awesome,” Mulligan said. “It was a great win to get the pin in the finals. That guy wrestled us a good match. We knew what he was going to try to do. He slowed the match down and Devin didn’t panic. For him to get that reversal was fantastic. It’s great for Devin and it’s great for our program.”

Breese’s state championship win also ended in dramatic fashion.

Breese was the first to get on the scoreboard with an escape point early in the second. But Budd returned the favor in the third with an escape point of his own.

With the score tied at 1-1 and 25 seconds remaining in the match, the officials called an injury timeout after it appeared Breese had tweaked his knee. When the match resumed, Breese seemed to be in fine shape as he shot on Budd and toppled the Port Allegany wrestler to the mat for a bout-winning takedown right before the final buzzer.

“All the hard work and extra practices and the weight room have paid off,” Breese said. “This is just amazing. That’s not the way I planned it, but a win is a win.”

Breese joins three-time state champion Rodney Wright (1985-87) as the only Sailors to accomplish the feat.

“I talked to Rod (Wright) this morning and he had 100 percent confidence in me,” Breese said. “Coming from him, a three-time state champ, that meant a lot to me.”

“I am so proud of Sam,” Lakeview head coach Tom Tingley said. “He went out and did what he needed to do. He was working hard all year. Doing extra workouts and going to tournaments over the summer. He is really a hard worker and great kid.”

District 10 also had a third state champion in Class AA as Reynolds’ Austin Matthews, who decisioned Coudersport’s Kyle Bova 4-2 to win the 152-pound title.

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