Norristown’s Mike Springer (top) defeated Parkland’s Josh Ortman 7-2 to finish in fifth place at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships in
Norristown's Mike Springer (top) defeated Parkland's Josh Ortman 7-2 to finish in fifth place at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships in Hershey. (Photo courtesy of Bill Rudick)

HERSHEY — It wasn't what Michael Springer came to Hershey to accomplish.

But with a state medal hanging around his neck, the Norristown High senior middleweight couldn't be that disappointed.

Springer finished fifth Saturday night at 152 pounds at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships at Hershey's Giant Center, winning his final match, 7-2, over an old friend and adversary, Josh Ortman of Parkland.

His medal wasn't gold, but it was a state medal.

And that was nothing to complain about.

"I could be better, but I'm pretty good right now,' Springer said. "I got to end my career with a win, and I'm OK with that.'

Springer was one of five locals who ended the tournament with medals draped over their necks, including fourth-place finisher Tracey Green of Methacton, the highest local finisher, while Springer and North Penn's Alex Price finished fifth, La Salle's Antonio Pelusi took sixth and Spring-Ford's Ryan Hayes snatched a seventh-place medal.

Springer and Price were both blunted in Saturday morning's semifinals, with Springer managing just two escapes, and allowing seven third-period points in a 9-2 loss to Franklin Regional's Josh Shields.

"I left my heart out on the mat,' Springer said. "(Shields) is ranked 10th in the nation, and I was trying not to make mistakes.'

Price was unable to get on the board at all against Mt. Lebanon's Kellan Stout, who used takedowns in the first and second periods as part of a 5-0 semifinal victory.

Things didn't improve in the next consolation round as Springer scored a first-period takedown and nothing else in a 3-2 loss to Bethel Park's Paul Dunn, while Price was blanked again, getting reversed in the second period and falling to Nazareth Nicolino Sevi, 2-0.

"I definitely should have won that match,' Springer said, "but I was still moping about the semis.

"Sometimes that happens.'

Springer's fortunes turned in the fifth-place match, as he hit a quick four-point move in the first period and was not headed.

"Me and Josh have wrestled about 1,000 times,' Springer said. "And I always score about seven points and he's always real tough.

"He's one of my good friends.'

Price recovered just as nicely in his fifth-place match, outlasting Casey Giunt of James Buchanan, 6-4.

Among the upper weights, La Salle's Pelusi began his consolation round successfully, slipping past Parkland's Omar Haddad, 3-2. But the Explorers senior was caught and pinned by Solanco's Bo Spiller to slip into the 5-6 match.

He was then bested by Shikellamy's Dwayne Pepper, 8-5, in the fifth-place match.

Green came up short against Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn for the second time in the tournament and the third time this year, losing a 4-0 decision in the third-place match.

Spring-Ford's Hayes fell to the younger Lizak brother, Jacob, of Parkland, 8-1, in Saturday's initial round of consolations, then bested an old foe, Upper Perkiomen's Dustin Steffenino, 2-1,, to claim a seventh-place medal.

"It was an awesome experience,' Hayes said of his Chocolate Town debut. "I'm happy with the outcome.'

A big part of that happiness was figuring out he belonged among the state studs.

"In my first match I came out like a ball of fire and won, and I realized I was better than some of the guys up here.

"And when I beat (Nazareth's) Travis Smith, 7-1, that was a big win for me because he had pinned me earlier this year.'

As for the suggestion that he and Steffenino could have driven home and settled the 7-8 match in a more familiar locale, Hayes could not disagree more.

"It was better to wrestle here,' he said with a smile.

BACK POINTS: In the match with the most District One interest, Coatesville's 220-pounder Michael Boykin repeated his regional-final win over Boyertown's Jordan Wood and earned the Red Raiders second all-time gold medal with a 5-2 decision. ... Kennard Dale's Chance Marsteller (170 pounds) and Solanco's Thomas Haines (285) became Pa.'s 11th and 12th four-time state champions with wins in their respective weight classes.