HERSHEY >> Seth Janney's freshman wrestling season couldn't have ended in a worse way.
In last year's District 3 Class AAA Wrestling Tournament, the South Western big man lost in extra time one match short of qualifying of the PIAA Championships.
So this time around, the Mustangs sophomore made sure he never got close to needing a full regulation-time match, let alone extra time.
As a matter of fact, he only needed 7:19 to pin his way to the 220-pound championship, clinching the title with a 2:47 fall over Reading's Matt Reinhart Saturday afternoon in Hersheypark Arena.
Janney was the lone wrestler among the four league finalists to bring home a gold medal from the Old Barn in a district tournament accelerated by Mother Nature's latest winter storm.
Silver medals went to his Mustang teammate Owen Wherley (126) and the Spring Grove duo of Dalton Rohrbaugh (106) and Levi Witmer (132).
Those four will be joined at Giant Center in two weeks for the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships by six other YAIAA competitors.
New Oxford's Zurich Storm (113), South Western's Derek Wilson (120), Central York's Dylan Chatterton (138) and Dallastown's Nick Shields (145) all won consolation finals to claim third place. All four are previous PIAA qualifiers.
Finishing fourth and making their first trip to the state tournament were West York's Garrett Stauffer (152) and Spring Grove's Marcus Kehr (160).
After a first-period takedown gave him the early lead, Janney (38-2) chose down and reversed Reinhart to his back and needed about 15 seconds to flatten his shoulders to the mat for the fall.
The four pins weren't necessarily a goal for the sophomore but rather the product of hard work and taking advantage of his opponents' mistakes.
"I'm constantly working on my technique," said Janney. "I knew I had a chance to pin some of them. I'm feeling comfortable on top and going for (the pin) when they give me the opening."
Mustang coach Nate Murren worked with Janney last season as a volunteer coach and points to one big difference in his star.
"Confidence," he said. "He knows he can do certain things on the mate. And he goes out and does them. He has everything – athleticism, strength, technique."
Wherley came within seconds of joining his much bigger teammate at the top of the medal stand.
Facing Shippensburg's Chandler Olson, the Mustang junior was clinging to a one-point advantage in the final minute of their 126-pound final when he let his hips get too low and Olson was able to notch a reversal and then tacked on a two-point nearfall to claim a 4-1 decision.
"I should have just bailed and given him one (point for an escape)," said Wherley, who also qualified for states last season.
Rockets led by record-setting freshman – Dalton Rohrbaugh is putting together the best freshman season ever at Spring Grove and Saturday just added to the list of accomplishments.
Rohrbaugh became the first Rocket freshman ever to reach the District 3 championship round, where he got caught in a cradle and pinned by Central Dauphin's Chris Wright in the 106-pound final.
And by earning the finals berth with his semifinal victory Saturday morning, he became the first Spring Grove freshman to qualify for the PIAA Wrestling Championships.
"I knew he was nervous coming in but he handled it well. His confidence continues to grow," said Rocket coach Tony Miller.
For Rohrbaugh, making the PIAA tournament is something he's dreamed about since he began his wrestling career in elementary school.
"It feels great. All the hard work has paid off," said Rohrbaugh (31-4), who holds the freshman record for pins in a season. "I'm happy but I'm not satisfied."
Rohrbaugh's teammate Witmer also came up short in his quest for a district title, losing an 8-1 decision to Garrett Kyner of Chambersburg who came in as one of the favorites at 132.
"I wasn't supposed to do much here," said the 32-7 Witmer, who had the second most losses by any finalist. "That was one of the big motivators for me."
Most memorable match ever: Stauffer's district tournament didn't end the way he wanted as the Bulldog senior lost his consolation final to Quinten Milliken of Cumberland Valley via fall.
But that can be overlooked considering what he did about an hour before in the consolation semifinal against Central Dauphin's Skitch Light where he registered the only points of the match with an early takedown for a 2-0 victory.
That win secured Stauffer's spot in the state tournament and was also the 100th victory of his Bulldog career.
"I was nervous about (getting my 100th win)," said the West York 152-pounder. "I've had to wrestle matches where a dual meet is (decided) but nothing this big. That felt good."