HERSHEY — He didn't need any reminders of the challenge he faced.
Pat Finn was well-versed on the credentials of Solanco senior Thomas Haines, who he met in the 285-pound championship bout of the PIAA Class AAA Championships Saturday. But the Pottsgrove junior put that aside as he went out to duel the three-time defending state champion ... a bout that ended with no surprises, Haines posting a 6-1 victory.
"I knew he was going to be tough coming in,' Finn said. "I just went out there and wrestled my match.'
Finn joined Boyertown's Jordan Wood as the area's highest-finishing wrestlers at the state tourney. Wood came away with a second silver medal at 220 from a 5-2 loss to Coatesville's Michael Boykin.
Finn (16-4) was the equal of Haines through a scoreless first period. But the undefeated Haines (42-0) scored an escape from a bottom start, then a takedown, in quick succession to go up 3-1 heading into the third.
Finn worked to escape from the bottom in the final frame, only to see Haines — one of two four-time state champs to emerge from the weekend's action at the Giant Center — score three back points. It ended what had been an otherwise inspiring short season for Finn, who wasn't able to get on the mats until the last week of January due to a football-related concussion.
"He was riding my leg,' Finn recalled, "and when he got it in tight, I wasn't able to get out of it.'
Finn was in control of his 285-pound semifinal with Dallas' Ryan Monk, rolling up a 6-2 decision. That put the Pottsgrove junior in the title round against Haines, who pinned Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn in the second period of their semi.
In earlier bouts, Finn decisioned Hempfield's Joey Goodhart, 6-2, and McDowell's Scot Augustine, 3-1.
"It was quite an accomplishment,' Finn said of his silver-medal showing. "Next year, I want to take it one step farther.'
Wood's second state silver came against an opponent that consigned him to second place at the Southeast Regional. The Bear sophomore came out of the first period trailing Boykin 2-1, then went down another point in the second when the Coatesville senior escaped from a bottom start.
"That kid is very strong, very athletic,' Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said of Boykin, who capped his 40-0 season with state gold. "He gave Jordan problems with his style.
"Jordan went out there with a great level of intensity. I'm proud of him for the season he had.'
Wood (41-2) hung tough in a 3-1 decision of Liberty's Jake Gunning at 220. In previous bouts, he posted a 13-3 major decision on Lower Dauphin's David Wuestner and a 4:40 technical fall on Kiski Area's Tyler Worthing.
"I really think he's going to become stronger from this,' Ventresca said.
Owen J. Roberts junior Derek Gulotta, in his third visit to the Hershey podium, improved on the successive eighth-place finishes he had previously.
Gulotta (36-7) faced a pair of close matches to start out Saturday. He came up one point short of General McLane's Joe Wheeling in their semifinal, 1-0, then got past Parkland's Jacob Lizak by the same margin in their fourth-round consi, 2-1.
That put the Owen J. Roberts junior in the third-place final against Central Dauphin's TyShawn White (48-3), who went overtime to best Northampton's Michael Scheetz, 8-6.
"Bouncing back after the semifinal loss was big,' Gulotta said afterward. "I felt if I didn't win, it would be a big letdown. I knew I had to come back strong.'
The one-point decisions continued for Gulotta in the medal round, but not to his advantage. While he cut White's 4-1 second-period lead, it fell short as White came away with a 4-3 victory.
"That's the way it is,' Gulotta said. "Next year I definitely want to come back to this place and be higher on the podium.'
Methacton's Tracey Green also ended up fourth at 285 off a 4-0 loss to Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn. It was a rematch from the semifinal round, when Kuhn got by with a 1-0 decision to drop the Warrior senior into wrestlebacks.
Green (40-3) started his day with a 4-2 decision of Hempfield's Joey Goodhart. He followed with a 5-2 verdict on Dallas' Ryan Monk to reach the bronze-medal bout against Kuhn (39-2), who advanced with a 1-0 decision of McDowell's Scot Augustine.
Elsewhere in the 113-pound bracket, the all-PAC seventh-place bout saw Spring-Ford's Ryan Hayes edge Upper Perkiomen's Dustin Steffenino, 2-1.
Hayes (36-9) lost to Parkland's Jacob Lizak earlier Saturday, 8-1, while Steffenino (33-10) was topped by Northampton's Michael Scheetz in overtime, 3-1.
At 195, Boyertown's Jordan Wertz went overtime to win the seventh-place bout with Shippensburg's Dylan Herb. Wertz (50-5) lost to DuBois' Tom Sleigh earlier Saturday, 5-0, but he scored an escape with 25 seconds left in the fourth OT period for a 3-2 victory.
"Wertz had a great day, and a great weekend,' Ventresca said. "He hung in tough and was able to get the wins when he needed to.'
His win total was a single-season school record for the Bear senior.
"We've had some great wrestlers at Boyertown,' Ventresca noted. "For him to be number-one on that list is impressive.'
At 138, Owen J. Roberts' Demetri D'Orsaneo fell to Manheim Township's Cortlandt Schuyler, 10-3. D'Orsaneo (35-12) lost to Punxsutawney's Kaleb Young earlier Saturday, 5-0.
Boyertown ended up 13th in the final team standings with 29.5 points. Owen J. Roberts was 23rd with 21 points. ... Chance Marsteller of Kennard Dale also became a four-time PIAA champion with his 14-2 major decision of Pittsburgh Central Catholic's Kyle Coniker in 170-pound gold-medal bout. ... The Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association (PWCA) presented its Class AAA Coach of the Year award to Eric Mausser of District 7's Franklin Regional.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.