Clabaugh, Storm alive for state titles
HERSHEY - Zurich Storm thought he might have blown his chance at a state title.
It was the 120-pound quarterfinals of Friday's PIAA Class 3A wrestling championships. Taking on against Council Rock North's Aidan Burke, the New Oxford senior was in compete control one second, and on his back the next. Having been pinned in last season's state quarterfinals, Storm didn't want to relive the experience.
And he wouldn't. Storm slipped out of Burke's grasp and held on for the rest of the third period for a 6-1 win and his first state medal. He'll face defending 113-pound state champion Julian Chlebove in Saturday's semifinals.
"I was like, 'This isn't happening to me again,' so I hurried up and rolled through," Storm said. "It feels pretty good ... but medals don't matter to me. It's senior year and I only have one more (chance) to win gold so that's what I'm going for no matter what."
While Storm will not be the favorite against Chlebove tomorrow, he enters the semifinals at the top of his game. The senior is 35-1 this season and has rarely been challenged in the postseason.
Storm is not the only York-Adams wrestler who will have to go through a defending state champion to win a title. Bermudian Springs senior Austin Clabaugh (41-4) will face Jefferson-Morgan junior and University of Iowa commit Gavin Teasdale in the Class 2A 126-pound finals on Saturday.
Clabaugh booked his trip to the gold medal match by dominating Quaker Valley's John Rocco Kazalas, 5-0, in the semifinals Friday night. The Eagles senior picked up an early takedown and controlled his opponent from there.
"If I can take a kid down it's not happening, I'm not losing the match," Clabaugh said. "I think (Kazalas) was pretty scared when he was on bottom. He was pretty satisfied with laying there so I was working new stuff, honestly."
Knowing that he will face a tremendous challenge in Teasdale, Clabaugh said he feels he has already accomplished his goal for the weekend. After missing out on a medal in his first two state tournament appearances, the senior will exit his final bout with at least a silver medal.
"At this point it's stress-free, if I go out and beat him it shocks everyone," Clabaugh said. "I just want to wrestle the best I can personally wrestle and try to win a gold medal.
"I've definitely been in the position where I should have been high on the podium before and I just didn't put it together. It wasn't slipping by this time."
After Storm and Clabaugh, three other York-Adams wrestlers guaranteed themselves their first medals on Friday; Dallastown 220-pounder Bryce Shields, Littlestown sophomore Carl Harris and Delone Catholic 160-pounder Brian Shermeyer.
Shermeyer and Harris both won two Class 2A consolation bouts on Friday morning to claim top-eight spots. In 3A, Shields collected a forfeit in his first consolation match Friday and beat Parkland's Nathan Feyrer, 9-2, in his next bout.
"My goal this year was to place, my ultimate goal was to place top-six so hopefully I can get close to that," Shields said. "It's been one of my goals since I was really young."
The surprise of the day was at Class 3A heavyweight, where Central York sophomore phenom Michael Wolfgram lost in the quarterfinals and again in consolations to exit the tournament. Wolfgram entered the weekend undefeated on the season.
“Mike would never make an excuse for himself so I’m not going to either," Central York head coach Seth Beitz said. "You have to look at the season for what it’s worth. He made huge improvements and I’m hoping he has the same laser focus to do that again this summer.”