HERSHEY — Pennridge found it impossible to focus on the Ben Ross match at 126 pounds.
Moments earlier the senior's sparing partner and best friend Scott Parker could not avoid a overtime take down by Greater Latrobe's Luke Pletcher in the 120-pound championship bout. Pennridge coach Dan Goetter was stunned by the silver and coaching with a clear mind was nearly impossible.
“Ben was not ready to wrestle,” Rams coach Dan Goetter said. “That is Scott's best friend and emotionally he was shot. I want it so much for them. I felt helpless.”
Ross lost his seventh place match 6-1 to Council Rock South's Dan Martoccio, a wrestler he beat on his way to becoming a Southeast Regional champ, and settled for eight place after earning fifth at 120 as a junior. Ross wanted to climb higher on the podium and was disappointed by his performance this weekend at Hershey. He was equally disappointed for Parker.
“(Scott) is my best friend,” Ross said. “I put a lot of hard work and dedication into wrestling and I don't think I came out where I wanted to be. I went in there mentally loose. I'm not saying if Scott would have won my match would have been different, but we have been together for a long time.”
Parker did move up the podium for the third consecutive season. The Rams all-time wins leader (149-11) won fourth as a sophomore, third as a junior, and now a silver medalist. Parker did not even want to accept the medal after the sophomore and now two-time state champion Pletcher kept his feet inside the circle near the edge in overtime. Goetter believes he will never accept second place.
“He relaxed for a split second,” Goetter said. “That's how you lose matches. He was thinking they were headed out of bounds for a fresh start and Pletcher took a shot.
Goetter is the Rams lone state champion, the 2005 215-pound champ, and knows exactly what it takes. Nobody put more time and effort in their craft than Parker, who was never pinned nor even majored in his career. Goetter, who helped crown three state medalists this season — Parker, Ross, and 106-pound sophomore Kordell Rush — thinks it is more nerve racking coaching from the corner folding chair.
“Scott worked his butt off and has nothing to be ashamed of. I told him he is the best wrestler to ever come out of Pennridge and it does not matter if he won states or not. But he will never accept second place. It's not what he wanted.”
Emotions overwhelmed the entire Pennridge wrestling family, feeling what Parker felt Saturday night. Pletcher had two more years ahead of him to capture another state title. This was supposed to the senior Parker's night. However only wrestler one from each weight class finish their season with a win in the championship bracket. Parker has to try to do that at Lehigh on the college level.
“We did not do what we came out to do,” Ross said. “I am just going to train harder, longer, and lift more. I have time to get it in and win a NCAA championship.”
“Scott always wanted to win a national title and I am sure he can do that,” Goetter said. “He is just going to keep training and keep getting better.”
Follow Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.