By Drew Karpen
March 8, 2013 7:00 a.m. HERSHEY —
All in all it was a very productive Day 1 for Crawford County at the Class AA PIAA wrestling championships at the Giant Center in Hershey. Out of the 11 local participants entering the field, six of them won their preliminary round bouts to qualify for the quarterfinals. Leading the way was Saegertown with three wrestlers in the quarters.
Advancing for the Panthers was the sophomore trio of Devin Brown, Tyler Vath and Dylan Reynolds.
“It was a great round,” Saegertown head coach Jim Mulligan said. “It’s great and they all have winnable matches in the next round.”
Brown began his state tournament with a 10-1 statement major decision over Austin McDermitt of Burgettstown at 106 pounds. Brown started strong, recording two takedowns in the first period. Brown rode McDermitt for the entire two minutes in the second before outscoring his opponent 6-0 in the third.
“I just don’t like losing,” Brown said. “I hate it. That’s my motivation. The guy on the other side of the mat wants to kick my butt and I can’t let that happen.”
Brown will take on Tyshawn White of Bishop McDevitt in the quarterfinals, which start today at 9 a.m. White is ranked No. 14 in the state according to Off the Mat.
Vath — in his second stint at the state championships — also won by bonus points by pinning his opponent. At 120, Vath led 2-1 entering the second period when he gained position on top of South Fayette’s Mike Carr for the fall at 3:35.
“Tyler wrestled great today,” Mulligan said. “Now he has to focus on the next match. He has a big one with Easter coming up.”
Vath, ranked No. 2, will be in a battle of top-five wrestlers in the quarters when he squares off with Ryan Easter of Bedford, who is ranked No. 5 in the state.
Reynolds followed his classmates with an impressive 9-3 victory over Meyersdale’s Gavin Berkley at 182 pounds. Reynolds got out to a quick 5-0 lead after the first two periods and played it safe to secure the victory.
“My strategy was to just score and push the pace the whole match,” Reynolds said. “This win was very important because you never know what can happen if you lose that first one. You might get caught in the second and then all of a sudden you are done.”
Reynolds will face Logan Womelsdorf of Benton, who won by forfeit after No. 9 ranked Jose Ortiz of Bethlehem Catholic failed to meet weight.
Saegertown finished in third place after Day 1 with 10 team points. Bethlehem Catholic is in the lead with 20.5.
Vargo, Cyphert, Breese use experience
One thing Union City’s Tim Vargo, Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert and Lakeview’s Sam Breese have in common is their experience in the PIAA championships. Last year each of them made an appearance in the tournament and each are still hungry for more.
At 170, Vargo won by bonus points with a 10-2 major decision over Josh Asper of Biglerville. Vargo jumped out to an early lead, recording two takedowns in the first period. With the score 4-1 entering the second, Vargo went back to business, recording another four points to put the match away. Vargo added two insurance points in the third.
“It was important but you have to focus on one match at a time,” Vargo said. “I could have wrestled better, I thought, but I am moving on to the next round so I will take it.”
Vargo will have his hands full in the quarterfinals today when he faces the 4th ranked Tyler Dibert of Chestnut Ridge. Vargo is ranked seventh.
Cyphert wasted no time showing that he came to Hershey to reach the finals, disposing of North Schuylkill’s Tanner Dean by fall at 1:06.
“It is a lot different feeling this year,” Cyphert said. “Last year I came in here just wanting to win a medal. I am going after the state championship. I’m ready to go. I don’t want to waste any time out there.”
Cochranton head coach John Svirbly knows Cyphert means business after coming up short in last year’s championships.
“He’s not slowing down until it is over,” Svirbly said. “He has been waiting for this all year. I will be anxious to see how he keeps motoring on.”
Cyphert will continue his path in the quarterfinals against Dylan Otis of Wyalusing, who is ranked sixth. Cyphert will enter the match ranked No. 4 at 220 pounds.
At the heavyweight division, Breese continued his dominance with a 9-2 decision over Southmoreland’s Jacob Beistel.
Breese believes his experience had an impact in his first round match.
“One more match and a place,” Breese said. “I want to go for the big one; I worked so hard for this. I’m not as nervous now since I have been here before.”
Breese will be in a heavyweight battle in the quarters today when he faces Alex Shiber of Central Columbia.
Lukowich continues to shine
Kyle Lukowich already made history by becoming the first wrestler in Conneaut program history to qualify for the state championships. That wasn’t enough for him though. Lukowich again made history yesterday, becoming the first wrestling in program history to win a match at the state championships.
Lukowich advanced to the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 8-4 decision over Valley’s Patrick Dewitt at 126 pounds.
With a slim 6-4 advantage late in the third period, Lukowich recorded a takedown to give himself some breathing room and seal the victory.
“It’s huge winning that first match,” Lukowich said. “I was getting tired. He was a good wrestler but I just outwrestled him.”
Locals staying alive
Saegertown’s Nick Monico and Cochranton’s Robert Boozer lived to see another day after winning their first round consolation matches on Thursday. After losing 6-0 to John Demaske of Jefferson Morgan in the preliminary round, Monico pitched a shutout of his own. Monico came out victorious with a 2-0 decision over Andrew Sutton of Pen Argyl.
Also advancing to the second round consolations today was Boozer.
“R.J. wasn’t nervous, which is a good thing,” Svirbly said. “It is nice to get that first match out of the way.”
Boozer, who was pinned by Bermudian Springs’ Briton Shelton in the preliminary round, came back with an 8-5 decision over Matt Johnston of West Greene.
In one of the most surprising outcomes of the day, Union City’s Jeff Burger was eliminated at 285 pounds. Coming into the tournament ranked No. 5, Burger lost both of his matches in heartbreaking fashion.
In the preliminary round, Burger fell to Tussey Mountain’s Mitchell Hall 3-2 in an ultimate tiebreaker. After both wrestlers recorded an escape point in overtime, Hall took advantage of starting on the bottom in the ultimate tiebreaker and recorded the win with another escape point.
Burger then lost a 2-0 decision to Brent Sterner of Susquenita.
Also ending his season was Saegertown’s Matt Humes after losing his first two matches at 138 pounds by a 9-0 major decision and 6-1 decision, respectively.