HERSHEY – Dalton Rohrbaugh and Zurich Storm set the tone of their opening matches at the 2016 PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships with two completely different first periods.
Facing Cameron Enriquez at 106, Spring Grove’s Rohrbaugh fought off two good shot attempts by the Stroudsburg wrestler, letting him know points were going to be at a premium.
A few matches later on the same mat, New Oxford’s Storm struck for two takedowns against Matt Marino, establishing a fast pace against the Garnet Valley 120-pounder.
Both locals went on to record wins – Rohrbaugh by fall and Storm by decision – in those first-round matches to earn their spots in today’s quarterfinal round which will start at 2:15 in the Giant Center.
The consolation bracket will include seven league participants — Kennard-Dale’s Michael Bracey (126), Cenral York’s Dylan Chatterton (145), South Western’s Owen Wherley (138), New Oxford’s Nolan Poust (152), South Western’s Gage Thomas (152), Dallastown’s Bryce Shields (195) and Northeastern’s Blaine Yinger (285).
After the scoreless period, Enriquez chose down and escaped 17 seconds into the middle period to get a 1-0 lead. Rohrbaugh (40-1) came out on top of a scramble about a minute later for a takedown and added a three-point nearfall to build a 5-1 lead heading into the final two minutes.
The Spring Grove sophomore took neutral and started forcing the action before finally connecting on a takedown with 55 seconds left in the bout. He quickly put the 29-14 freshman on his back, registering the fall at the 5:15 mark.
Rohrbaugh admitted that he didn’t get off to the best start in the victory.
“I guess I got a little lazy (in the first period),” he said. “I felt like I had more conditioning than he did. I was tiring him out and pushing the pace in the third period.”
Rocket head coach Tony Miller agreed with his standout’s assessment of his first period.
“He still has to turn it up. He got his feet moving but it took two periods,” said Miller. “He is as good as anyone in the room.”
Next up in the quarterfinal round is Penn Trafford’s Job Chishko (31-2) , a 7-0 winner over Souderton’s Tyler Williams in their first-round match.
Storm (25-1) continued to exert offensive pressure on the District 1 grappler after grabbing a 4-1 lead. The Colonial junior recorded a takedown in the second period before gaining an escape and a fourth takedown in the final period to earn a 9-3 decision over Marino (36-7).
“The coaches want me to pick people apart on their feet,” said the three-time state qualifier. “I feel mentally and physically better than last year. I’ve working more on conditioning.”
The New Oxford junior will need conditioning and much more in today’s quarterfinal. His opponent is one of the country’s best wrestlers in Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional, a two-time junior world champion who is seeking his third PIAA title.
Storm will approach this pairing with the same strategy that has brought him to the Giant Center again.
“He’s a great wrestler. I just have to wrestle my match and hope for the best. I just have to keep a high pace and keep moving my feet,” he said.
Wherley and Yinger both suffered especially tough losses in the championship bracket.
Wherley (33-3) was in a scoreless match against Doug Gudenburr from Ringgold in the last 20 seconds of regulation when the Mustang wrestler got turned for back points to drop a 3-0 decision.
The winning points came off the fourth time during the period where the Mustang senior had gotten to his feet and Gudenburr just drapped himself around Wherley’s back, making no effort to return him to the mat. This is normally a stall call against the top man but the District 7 competitor was never hit for stalling, instead getting stalemate calls.
Yinger (33-4) went into extra time against Dieruff’s Shai Hines after exchanging escapes in regulation. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Hines escaped with eight seconds left in the first 30-second tiebreaker.
In the second tiebreaker, the Bobcat junior was able to get to his feet several times but couldn’t break away from Hines’ control, losing a 2-1 decision to the Northeast Region fourth-place finisher.
Thomas earned his 100th career win with a forfeit win in the first round of wrestlebacks..
Dover’s Brandon Rodriguez (113) and Central York’s Michael Wolfgram (285) saw their seasons come to an end at the Giant Center with two losses.