Derek Wilson, Seth Janney reach PIAA semifinals
HERSHEY >> South Western junior Derek Wilson likes Giant Center. He thinks he will stick around for a while.
A year ago, he abruptly exited after an 0-2 showing. This year, the 120-pound Wilson is 3-0 after two days and will wrestle Saturday morning in the Class AAA state semifinals. So will his 220-pound teammate, Seth Janney, who didn't even reach last year's PIAA championships in Hershey.
"It's a pretty good feeling knowing you're going to finish in the top six no matter what," Janney said.
The Mustangs' duo is the first pair of South Western wrestlers to reach the PIAA semifinals since Joey Wildasin and Steve Elicker in 1989. Wildasin won gold at 125 pounds, while Elicker finished fourth at 160. Mark Egloff and Gene Gobrecht also reached the final four of their weight classes in 1983, with Egloff winning a state title at 155 and Gobrecht finishing second at 138.
The 1980s were good to South Western.
Wildasin won three PIAA golds to the close the decade into 1990. If Saturday isn't kind to the Mustangs, the future could be just as promising. Jansen is just a sophomore, and Wilson is a junior.
"You get excited," first-year South Western coach Nate Murren said. "You say wow."
Janney's freshman season ended at the district level. A smaller 220-pounder last year —he weighed about 203 — Janney has emerged as a powerhouse. His first eight postseason matches, starting with the sectional tournament three weeks ago, ended in pins. He nearly made it nine straight on Saturday against Selinsgrove junior Andrew Boob, slamming him to the mat with a massive thud in the first 30 seconds.
"I felt like I was really close to pinning him," Janney said. "He slipped out, which was unfortunate."
Janney racked up seven points, including a snow-plow maneuver into a half-nelson to close the second period. He won, 8-0. He'll wrestle Kiski Area junior Tyler Worthing in the semifinals.
The lighter Wilson sealed his spot in the PIAA semifinals with an 8-2 quarterfinal win against Garnet Valley sophomore Matthew Marino. It guarantees him a spot on Saturday's medal stand, a goal of Wilson's since the beginning of the season.
"I just came in here more confident this year, more comfortable and wrestling hard," said Wilson, who won three matches in two days by a combined 25-9 score. He'll take on undefeated Franklin Regional sophomore Franklin Lee in Saturday's semifinal.
Against Marino on Friday, neither wrestler gained control in a scoreless first period. Wilson then gave up a point before taking control on a takedown in the final 45 seconds of the second period.
From that point on, the quarterfinal match became a collection of points for Wilson.
"I wasn't going to leave anything up to the ref, if anything was questionable," he said.
To get to this stage after last year's exit, Wilson credited an improved practice regime with sparring partner Owen Wherley (126). Both made it to Giant Center on Friday, with Wherley's season ending after a 3-1 loss to Parkland's Jacob Lizak in the second round of their consolation bracket.
Wilson credited Wherley for helping him to reach Saturday's semifinals.
"I couldn't ask for a better sparring partner," he said while rushing to catch the end of Wherley's match.
CHATTERTON MOTIVATED >> Dylan Chatterton counted down the days until the end of last season. He's now counting down the days till he can return to the mat.
Wrestling at a 25-pound difference can do that.
Chatterton's season ended in the third-round consolation bracket at 138 pounds, suffering a 3-2 loss to Owen J. Robert senior Demetri D'Orsaneo. Chatterton's coaches yelled that he still had five seconds to rally between a restart after closing the scoring gap.
He believed it as much as his coaches.
"It's burning right now for sure," said Chatterton, who went two-and-out last year as a 113-pounder.
"This season was so much more fun," he said. "I actually enjoyed wrestling this year."
Along with South Western's Wilson and Janney, Chatterton was the only other YAIAA wrestler to reach the PIAA quarterfinals. He ran into Hempfield Area senior Sam Krivus, who is ranked by InterMat Wrestling as the No. 1 grappler in the nation for their weight class.
Chatterton suffered a 5-1 loss in that meeting, a disappointment because he wanted to finish atop the podium on Saturday.
TOUGH OUTS >> Spring Grove freshman Dalton Rohrbaugh just ran out of time. With his season on the line vs. Pennridge sophomore Matt Parker, Rohrbaugh scored two points in the final 13 seconds but lost 3-2.
Upset and disappointed, Rohrbaugh received advice from his coach, Tony Miller.
"I told him, 'Look around. Next year starts on Monday,'" Miller said.
YAIAA wrestlers whose seasons also ended Friday in Class AAA: New Oxford sophomore Zurich Storm (113), Spring Grove senior Levi Witmer (132) and Dallastown senior Nick Shields (145).
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.