PIAA wrestling: Will any YAIAA wrestlers win gold?
It's been three years since the YAIAA produced three state wrestling champions in one season, and the league is still looking for its next one.
While no local competitors have brought home gold medals since Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller, Hanover's Ian Brown and Bermudian Springs' Tristan Sponseller did in 2014, 22 wrestlers will have the chance this weekend. The 2017 PIAA Class 2A and 3A wrestling championships begin Thursday and run through Saturday.
Which York-Adams wrestlers have the best shot at the top prize?
The three to keep an eye on are the league's only regional champions; Central York heavyweight Michael Wolfgram, Bermudian Springs 126-pounder Austin Clabaugh and New Oxford 120-pounder Zurich Storm. All three are ranked in the top five at their respective weights and enter the tournament on a tear.
At 34-0, Wolfgram is the YAIAA's only undefeated wrestler and the one who has garnered the most hype this season. But the 3A heavyweight bracket is particularly tough, and the Central York sophomore is ranked fifth. If Wolfgram makes the semifinals, he'll likely face Kiski Area's Isaac Reid or Cathedral Preparatory's Kawan DeBoe, who are both ranked ahead of him.
But Wolgram has proven himself to be a particularly dominant scorer for a heavyweight and has racked up more than 20 pins this season. After not reaching the medal stand as a freshman, Wolfgram should contend for the finals now.
Then there are the league's older and smaller contenders, Claubaugh (35-4) and Storm (33-1). Both have plenty of experience at the state tournament, though neither has won a medal. Clabaugh will be making his third appearance at states while Storm will be making his fourth.
Based on the brackets, Clabaugh has the best chance of making the finals. The Eagle is ranked second in the 2A 126-pound bracket, and won't have to face another top-four wrestler until the finals. The favorite to meet him if he makes it that far is Iowa commit Gavin Teasdale of Jefferson-Morgan, who is 36-0 this season.
That doesn't mean you can count out Storm, who is ranked fourth at 120 pounds in 3A. While he would potentially have to face top-seed and defending state champion Julian Chlebove of Northampton in the semifinals, the New Oxford senior has been dominant lately. In four matches at the District 3 tournament, he won one bout by pin and the other three by a combined score of 40-7.
After those three, there are a number of other York-Adams wrestlers who could reach the top eight and claim medals. Here's a look at the other top contenders.
After Storm and Wolfgram, the obvious name is Spring Grove's Dalton Rohrbaugh. The Rockets junior claimed a bronze medal at 106 pounds a year ago, and entered this season determined to win the top prize at 113. But a disappointing 7-4 loss to J.J. Wilson in the district final didn't help Rohrbaugh's cause, and he's only ranked 11th in the bracket.
Don't count Rohrbaugh out though. He's 31-3 this season for a reason, and has proven he can handle the pressure of the state tournament. His first-round matchup, Nazareth's Sean Pierson, is ranked eighth but is just 19-5.
At the upper weights, Dallastown's Bryce Shields (34-2) is ranked ninth at 220 pounds, and has been unstoppable for most of this season. He'll try to bounce back from a tough 4-2 loss to Daniel Boone's No. 4 Jesse Enck in the district semifinals. Northeastern heavyweight Blaine Yinger (29-6) is ranked eighth, but will have to face Wolfgram if he makes it out of his first-round match.
The only other 3A wrestler from the YAIAA ranked in the top 20 is Northeastern freshman Cole Wilson, who is 13th at 106 pounds.
He may not have won a regional title, but Bermudian Springs' Noah Fleshman (36-4) might be a title contender. The 195-pound senior lost a heartbreaker to Upper Dauphin's Donny Gelnett in the regional finals, but is still ranked third at his weight. To get to Saturday's championship match, he will probably have to get past second-ranked Anthony Walters of Bishop McCourt in the quarterfinals.
There are three other York-Adams wrestlers ranked in the top 10 at their weight in 2A; Bermudian senior 152-pounder Ashton West (eighth), Delone Catholic senior 160-pounder Brian Shermeyer (eighth) and Littlestown sophomore 170-pounder Carl Harris (10th).
It will be interesting to see how Shermeyer looks early in the tournament. While the senior has been stellar all season, he excited the regional tournament early with a hamstring injury and took sixth place.
If you go
Here is the schedule for the PIAA wrestling championships, which run Thursday through Saturday at Hershey's Giant Center. Follow live updates on the action at GameTimePA.com.
9 a.m.: Class 2A preliminaries and first round
1:15 p.m.: Class 2A first-round consolations
4 p.m.: Class 3A preliminaries and first round
8:15 p.m.: Class 3A first-round consolations
9 a.m.: Class 2A quarterfinals and second-round consolations
11:45 a.m.: Class 2A third-round consolations
2:15 p.m.: Class 3A quarterfinals and second-round consolations
5 p.m.: Class 3A third-round consolations
7:30 p.m.: Class 2A semifinals and fourth-round consolations
9:30 p.m.: Class 2A fifth-round consolations
9 a.m.: Class 3A semifinals and fourth-round consolations
11:30 a.m.: Class 3A fifth-round consolations
2 p.m.: Class 2A finals and third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches
7 p.m.: Class 3A finals and third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches