HERSHEY – More than an hour after seeing a life-long dream slip away, Nate Newberry found himself back on the mat at Giant Center during Day 2 of the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships.
“Wrestling is a mental sport. You just have to get over it,” said the Biglerville senior. “I’ll be wearing my finals singlet in the third-place match.
“It’s the last time I get to wear the white singlet.”
In Friday’s 152-pound semifinals, Newberry went into sudden victory against Burrell’s Damon Greenwald before losing a 5-1 decision.
However, Newberry came back in the toughest round for semifinal losers — the consolation semifinal — and posted a 4-3 decision over Morgan Deremer of Chestnut Ridge.
That victory advanced Newberry into Saturday's third-place match against Saegertown’s Nick Monico.
He is one of three YAIAA Class AA wrestlers who will be returning home with medals to show for their long weekend in Hershey. The other two will be wrestling in the seventh-place bouts in Saturday's final Class AA session.
At 145 pounds, Bermudian Springs’ Ashton West (38-14) will wrestle Keith Batkowski (41-8) of Montoursville. Dakota Mackley (30-5) of Eastern York will face Benton’s Jeremy Walsh (31-11) in the 170-pound weight class.
Hanover’s Caleb Garland (126), Delone Catholic’s Brian Shermeyer (152) and the Bermudian Springs junior duo of Austin Clabaugh (120) and Noah Fleshman (170) all saw their seasons end during Friday’s morning session.
Canner coach Nate Becker believes the stage might have gotten to his star, who was making his first semifinals appearance.
“He’s not the first one or the last to get caught in the moment. It slows you down as far as your activity level,” he said.
Newberry (40-3) and Greenwald (42-8) exchanged escapes in the second and third periods.
Greenwald needed just 21 seconds to earn his escape, never allowing Newberry a chance to work from his favorite position.
The District 7 wrestler was awarded the lone takedown of the match 25 seconds into the extra period, adding a two-point nearfall to cap the scoring.
While he didn’t agree with the takedown call, Newberry wasn’t about to complain, choosing to credit his opponent instead.
“(Greenwalt) shut down my offense really well. I couldn’t get much going so I tried looser stuff,” said the Bloomsburg commit.
In his consolation semifinal, Newberry recorded a reversal with 54 seconds remaining and then rode Deremer out the rest of the match to clinch the consolation final berth.
“I struggled here on top. But I rode (Deremer) out, and he was a tough kid to ride,” said Newberry.
It was Newberry’s work from the top position that was the difference in his quarterfinal bout Friday morning against Jon Wagner of Huntingdon.
After a scoreless first, Wagner took down and Newberry used a bar tilt for a two-point nearfall, later adding a third-period escape to earn a 3-2 win.
Mackley’s day started off pretty rough in the quarterfinals against Beth-Center’s Anthony Welsh (37-1).
The District 7 wrestler was leading the Eastern York wrestler, 6-2, when he took Mackley down to his back and then pinned him 18 seconds into the third period.
Mackley bounced back and earned his spot in the medal round at the expense of Fleshman as the YAIAA pair met for the third consecutive weekend.
Fleshman grabbed a 2-0 eight seconds into the match but the Golden Knight senior earned escapes in each of the first two periods to tie it at two.
The Eagle junior chose down for the third and Mackley made him pay, putting Fleshman (39-9) on his back and recording the pin with 43 seconds left in the bout.
Knights coach Dan Garner wasn’t surprised to see his senior standout bounce back after the tough quarterfinal loss.
“We were definitely off in the morning,” he said of Mackley, who went 3-0 against Fleshman in the postseason. “But we regrouped and reset our goals … He came out (against Fleshman) with a lot of fire.
"His heart is what drives him.”
West had a nice string of wins in the consolation bracket, including a huge 7-2, tiebreaker victory over John Mott of Commodore Perry where a reversal and three-point nearfall clinched a medal for the Eagle junior.
Because of a couple of upsets in the championship bracket, Shermeyer (35-10) had two opponents in the consolation that started the state tournament with a combined 62-1 and were coming off regional championships last weekend.
He managed a 3-2 victory over Hughesville’s Zach Fry, who went 30-0 leading up to Hershey, on the strength of a third-period takedown where Fry appeared to stop and look at the clock. The Squire junior kept wrestling and scoring the lone offensive points on the edge of the mat.
However, he wasn’t so lucky in the next round. Shae Bloom of Curwensville, 32-1 coming in, took control in the second period with an escape and a pin and eventually pinned the local wrestler at the 4:05 mark.
Notes: Two defending champions went down in the semifinal round, making it three total who have lost.
The 126-pound weight class had three defending champions and Athens’ Brian Courtney had beaten two including Cole Matthews of Reynolds in the semifinals. To win his first state title, Courtney must beat a third returning gold medalist in Saturday's finals — Max Murin of Central Columbia.
Garrett Hoffman of Montoursville beat Franklin’s Dakota Geer, the defending champ at 182, in overtime just one match before his little brother Gavin reached the 195-pound final by beating Greenville’s Blake Reynolds, 45-0 coming in, in the tiebreaker.