3 Franklin Co. wrestlers get through PIAA's 1st round
Franklin County had one of its best all-time wrestlers knocked out of the first round, but overall it was still a solid day at Giant Center on Thursday.
In the first day of action in Class 3A of the PIAA Wrestling Tournament, three of the six entries from the area were able to battle into Friday afternoon's quarterfinals - Chambersburg's Drew Peck (182) and Luke Nichter (160) and Shippensburg's Cameron Tinner (285).
Ship's Chandler Olson, who has already earned three PIAA medals in his stellar career, was saddled with a very tough draw in the first round - Ryan Anderson of Bethlehem Catholic - and Olson succumbed, 3-1. He did come back to win a consolation bout, so he's still alive for a medal.
All three winners had dominant performances.
Peck wasted little time in his match against Caleb Turner of Central Mountain. He took him down with a single-leg sweep, then as the period started winding down he put him in bars near the edge of the mat, pulled him back inside the line and stuck him in 1:45.
"The first match is always the worst (to get ready for)," Peck said, "so it's good to get it out of the way. This one should build my confidence."
Peck (32-4) will face Matt McGillick of Penn Trafford (27-9) in the quarterfinals.
"When I went to Pittsburgh for some training (about a year ago), he was one of my practice partners," Peck said. "So we know a little about each other."
Nichter did not have the wide-eyed look some freshmen have when they debut at states. He scored a first-period takedown against Collin Hurley of West Chester Rustin, and when Hurley tried to roll underneath, Nichter trapped him for a nearfall and a 5-0 lead.
In the second period, after a Hurley escape, Nichter scored a takedown and went to a cradle for another four points. A takedown in the final frame made the final score 11-1.
"He was concerned with a left shoulder tie, but I was able to get in on him three times," Nichter said. "Once I got the 5-0 lead, coach told me to keep on scoring, so that's what I did. I felt like I was ready to go today."
In the quarters, Nichter (30-8) will have a tougher task, when he takes on Trent Hidley of Mifflin County (35-0).
Tinner got in a good little workout in his first-rounder, rolling to a 16-0 technical fall in just 3:40 over Richard Thompson of Central Mountain. Two takedowns combined with five tilts kept the scoreboard on Tinner's side hopping.
"It was nice to start with a match like that," Tinner said. "It was a nice motivation factor to do better than last year; I didn't want to have any doubt."
Friday, Tinner (37-2) will meet the state's No. 1-ranked heavyweight, Niko Camacho of Bethlehem Catholic (39-3).
"He's really good on his feet, and I'll have to wrestle really smart," Tinner said.
Olson simply couldn't get any offense going in his match with Anderson, who was able to tie him up in neutral and kept Olson from getting to his legs at all. The key move was in the first period, when Anderson caught Olson with a dump, which is Olson's go-to move.
Olson (39-3) used that same move in a 3-1 consolation win over Cedar Cliff's Josh McLaughlin for a takedown with 38 seconds left to remain in the running for a medal.
Cole Forrester of Shippensburg hit takedowns with 0:01 left in the first period and 0:04 left in the second on his way to a 7-2 preliminary round win over Hunter Catka of Sun Valley.
But he was dominated on his feet by the favorite at 195, Jake Woodley of North Allegheny, in the first round. Woodley managed nine takedowns and handed Forrester a 19-7 defeat.
Forrester (37-6) will wrestle in the second round of consolations Friday.
Chambersburg's Drake Brenize was the only area wrestler eliminated Thursday. The junior had a tight prelim bout with Hayden Keleher of Easton, falling 5-4.
Brenize took a 4-2 advantage in the second period with an escape and takedown, but Keleher reversed before the period ended. In the third, Brenize gave Keleher an escape, but couldn't finish off a takedown.
In a consy match against Jacob Burgette of Scranton, Brenize was in deep on a single leg, but couldn't finish, and Burgette then hit a single for a takedown in a 3-1 victory. Brenize finished 31-12.