Overcoming a 24-6 deficit was daunting enough for the Chambersburg wrestling team.
Watching its top wrestler get upset in the very first bout of the night could have made it mentally that much harder to pull off.
But the Trojans used a run of five consecutive wins from 126 to 152 to rally past State College 35-30 in a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division match Thursday night at CASHS Field House.
The win moved Chambersburg to 10-3 (3-2 MPC) and moved it up two spots to 10th in the District 3 rankings.
In the end it came down to Trojan coach Matt Mentzer giving up a forfeit at 160 to put the Little Lions (4-9, 2-3 MPC) ahead 30-29, and then sending out freshman Luke Nichter up a weight at 170. And Nichter came through with a pin of Brett Fields in 1:35 to win the match.
"That's the second time that's happened this year (New Oxford was the other)," Nichter said. "In that situation I don't want to be on the mat too long, because the longer you are, the more chance you might get caught. I wanted to get it done early."
Spencer Runshaw (126) began the comeback with a pin, then Carson Mello scored four third-period takedowns to rack up a 12-4 major decision.
Mello said, "I knew I needed bonus points and I couldn't turn him, but I was able to keep getting takedowns. I had to get two pretty late."
Cole Grove then needed just 19 seconds for a pin at 138, Aaron Rump used a first-period takedown to win 3-1 over Zach Price and Drake Brenize had three third-period takedowns for an 11-3 major at 152 to set up the finish.
Mentzer said, "What helped was getting Mello down to 134 today. That allowed us to bump up Grove and Rump."
"When we looked at the lineups, we thought it would be a good move for them to bump up in a few places," State College coach Ryan Cummins said. "They're tough in the middle weights."
The way the match started gave the Little Lions plenty of hope.
Chambersburg's Drew Peck, carrying a 23-3 record and a No. 3 state ranking, met State College sophomore Cole Urbas, who was 15-0 and ranked No. 20. Peck scored a takedown, but Urbas evened it with a reversal. In the second, Urbas escaped, but a takedown with 0:05 left put Peck ahead 4-3 and on bottom for the third.
But he never got out. And Urbas was able to produce a three-point nearfall with a tilt inside the final minute to score the winning points of a 6-4 victory.
Cummins said, "I was pretty sure it'd be a good match. They're both long and lanky and we had prepped Cole this week. He is tough, and I think he had plenty of gas left at the end."
"I think it shocked our kids," Mentzer said. "Drew is coming off a tough weekend (at the Escape the Rock Tournament) and he's a little beat up. And he faced a good young kid who was motivated, maybe more than Drew was."
The Trojans might have been saved by the result of the next bout, in which Guy Lozius took his Little Lion opponent to his back and scored a pin just 14 seconds into the third period.
"At first all I was trying to do was stay off my back and not get pinned," Lozius said. "Then after a while I started thinking maybe I could pin him."