Tristan Sponseller showed improvement Saturday but, unfortunately for him, not enough.
The Bermudian Springs High junior lost 5-2 to Brandywine Heights' Pete Renda in the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships' 170-pound final Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey. The loss comes two weeks after Renda beat him 11-3.
"On my feet, I tried to go after him more," Sponseller said. "It seemed to work. He wasn't able to get as many shots in on me. I kept him on his heels a little bit. I kept the score closer."
Renda opened with a first-period takedown for a 2-0 lead. He then chose bottom in the second, earned a reversal and extended his lead to 4-0.
"He's tough on bottom," Sponseller said, "I was looking for a tilt, trying to catch his wrist. He got out."
Added Eagles coach Dave McCollum: "Not too many people get out on Tristan."
Sponseller chose bottom for the third period and earned a reversal, but Renda escaped for his fifth point. Sponseller, however, was aggressive throughout the period, attempting another takedown to get back into the match.
He hopes the match leads to success.
"Now I've been in the finals and have a little bit more experience," Sponseller said. "Each year, I want to keep getting better. Hopefully I come back next year and get to the finals and get a win."
McCollum saw improvement from Sponseller throughout his wrestler's 3-1 run in the state tournament. He added Sponseller appeared to be a clone of Renda, who improved his place in the state tournament each year.
Sponseller has done that his first three years. He didn't place his freshman year and earned third last season. The only improvement he could show is winning a state title next year.
"I'm hoping that's the plan," McCollum said. "I think Tristan is on course for that."
Gano to resign as Canners coach: Biglerville heavyweight Trevor Stover gave his coach a perfect going-away present: a win.
He pinned Susquenita's Brent Sterner in 1:36 to take third place. Stover, who trailed 4-3 at the time of his pin, also earned the award for most falls in the shortest total time.
"I sent him out with a bang," Stover said. "You don't want him remembering the last thing you had was your heavyweight losing at state."
Gano plans to resign after 16 seasons with the Canners following an 8-year stint at Delone Catholic. He wants to spend more time with his son, who is turning 7 soon, and concentrate on his business, G-Force Investigations, and the Camo Kidz Wrestling Club.
He hopes to stay around high school competition by officiating.
"I'll miss this next year at this time," Gano said. "But all good things have to end at some point. It was good while it lasted. I'm glad I'm getting out on my own terms. No hard feelings. It's just a good feeling."
In addition to Stover's success, Canners senior Josh Asper finished eighth, but he was upset his career ended with a pin despite earning a medal.
"I don't even know how to describe it," Asper said. "It's really nice knowing I got a place in the state tournament, especially in Pennsylvania. It's one of the top states in the country. But that's not necessarily how I wanted to end my career."
Stover credited Gano in part for his success.
An opponent punched Stover in his third match, and he admitted he probably would've punched back had it been last year. However, words from Gano helped him stay calm and go on a run that allowed him to earn his 100th career win and get third.
"Pretty much just telling me to keep my head and be smart and, if I be smart and don't force things, things are going to come to me," Stover said. "I feel like he's a great coach."
Brown finishes third: Ian Brown responded well to losing his season-long goal.
The Hanover junior beat Lake Lehman's Austin Harry 5-0 in the 132-pound third-place match Saturday, one day after losing a chance to compete for a state title. Brown spent several moments by himself before talking about the loss in an effort to move past it.
"He got himself back together," Nighthawks coach Dave Cataldo said. "He's just mentally tough. He was back in his groove. He wrestled to his ability."
Brown responded with a 10-0 major decision win Friday night before his match Saturday. Now, he can use the performance as motivation for next season.
"I think he'll use that to grow from," Cataldo said. "I think he'll use that as his driving force to be on top of that podium. That's his goal."
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106 -- Devin Brown, Saegertown pinned Luke Karam, Bethlehem Catholic, 6:12 OT.
113 -- George Phillippi, Derry Area dec. Seth Carr, South Fayette, 1-0.
120 -- Darian Cruz, Bethlehem Catholic major dec. Ryan Easter, Bedford, 16-4.
126 -- Ryan Diehl, Trinity (Dist. 3) pinned Zeke Moisey, Bethlehem Catholic, 0:46.
132 -- Jason Nolf, Kittanning dec. Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks, 4-2.
138 -- Zain Retherford, Benton dec. Seth Lansberry, Line Mountain, 5-0.
145 -- Michael Racciato, Pen Argyl dec. Colt Cotten, Benton, 8-2.
152 -- Austin Matthews, Reynolds dec. Kyle Bova, Coudersport, 4-2.
160 -- Cody Law, Forest Hills dec. Evan Delong, Kane, 5-3.
170 -- Pete Renda, Brandywine Heights dec. Tristan Sponseller, Bermudian Springs, 5-2.
182 -- Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell dec. Troy Hembury, Muncy, 3-1.
195 -- Ryan Solomon, Milton dec. Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston, 7-0.
220 -- Ray O'Donnell, Saucon Valley dec. Brandon Smith, Lewisburg, 2-0.
285 -- Sam Breese, Lakeview dec. Nicholas Budd, Port Alleghany, 3-1.
Third Place Consolations
106 -- Collin Glorioso, Huntingdon dec. Jacob Wasser, Palisades, 1-0 TB.
113 -- Korbin Myers, Boiling Springs dec. Justin Patrick, Ligonier Valley, 4-2.
120 -- Matt Welliver, Benton dec. Nate Reckner, South Side Beaver, 5-1.
126 -- Kyle Shoop, Boiling Springs dec. John Demaske, Jefferson-Morgan, 8-3.
132 -- Ian Brown, Hanover dec. Austin Harry, Lake Lehman, 5-0.
138 -- Michael Bonner, Sharon dec. Brock Zacherl, Brookville, 5-3.
145 -- Blake Bowman, Tri-Valley dec. Phil Marra, Burrell, 5-1.
152 -- Ryan Preisch, Milton dec. Kyle Barnes, Hughesville, 3-1.
160 -- Ty Walter, Mifflinburg dec. Taylor Fox, Fort LeBoeuf, 1-0.
170 -- Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan dec. Mike Fetchet, South Fayette, 2-1.
182 -- Adam Mackie, Brandywine Heights dec. Dylan Reynolds, Saegertown, 7-2.
195 -- Adam Geiger, Trinity (Dist. 3) tech. fall James Stodart, Moshannon Valley, 20-5, 3:27.
220 -- Cam Cyphert, Cochranton dec. Jake Temple, Avella, 3-2 UTB.
285 -- Trevor Stover, Biglerville pinned Brent Sterner, Susquenita, 1:36.
Fifth Place Consolations
106 -- Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland dec. Triston Law, Forest Hills, 1-0.
113 -- Josh Brown, Claysburg-Kimmel dec. Caleb Bordner, Tri-Valley, 4-2 OT.
120 -- Joshua Patrick, Ligonier Valley pinned Matt Williams, Pen Argyl, 2:03.
126 -- Jarray Norris, Sharon dec. Kent Lane, Southern Columbia, 10-5 OT.
132 -- Michael Comunale, Pius X dec. Dalton Zimmerman, Brookville, 5-1.
138 -- Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi major dec. Steve Edwards, Burrell, 8-0.
145 -- Zach Vroman, Brookville by forfeit over Billy Barnes, Williamson.
152 -- Ty Herzog, Northern Lehigh dec. Boe Bonzo, Freedom, 11-6.
160 -- Ty Schoffstall, Tri-Valley dec. Jeric Kasunic, Benton, 8-6.
170 -- Tim Vargo, Union City pinned Alexander Gular, Port Allegany, 5:58 OT.
182 -- Stephen Loiseau, Lancaster Catholic dec. Terrell Fields, Valley, 1-0.
195 -- Josh Alpha, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Zac Croyle, Kittanning, 2-1 TB.
220 -- Evan Daley, Fort LeBoeuf major dec. Cody Jacobs, West Greene, 8-0.
285 -- Austin Buttry, Chestnut Ridge major dec. Andrew Dunn, Bethlehem Catholic, 10-2.
Seventh Place Consolations
106 -- Tyshawn White, Bishop McDevitt dec. Cameron Newman, Line Mountain, 3-1 OT.
113 -- Willis Gruver, Redbank Valley dec. Jake Rothka, Bentworth, 6-2.
120 -- Bryan Israel, Saucon Valley by injury default Tyler Vath, Saegertown, 0:01.
126 -- Andrew Schutz, Wyoming Area dec. Nick Monico, Saegertown, 3-0.
132 -- Cole Walter, Mifflinburg dec. Jake Wentzel, South Park, 4-1.
138 -- Ryan Todora, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Hunter Harner, Tri-Valley, 2-1 TB.
145 -- Levi Stoyer, Reynolds dec. Briton Shelton, Bermudian Springs, 5-1.
152 -- Andrew Doak, Blairsville dec. Blake Marks, Southern Columbia, 3-2.
160 -- Jared Walker, South Fayette pinned Cole Shirey, Redbank Valley, 6:10 TB.
170 -- Tyler Dibert, Chestnut Ridge pinned Josh Asper, Biglerville, 2:41.
182 -- Jamar Henry, Reynolds dec. Garrett Wesneski, Canton, 8-6.
195 -- Skylar Ebner, Muncy dec. Jacob Nickelson, Somerset, 5-4 TB.
220 -- Jacob Ludwig, Moshannon Valley dec. Dennis Atiyeh, Notre Dame Green Pond, 7-3.
285 -- Mitchell Hall, Tussey Mountain dec. Morgan Selepack, West Branch, 11-6.
1. Bethlehem Catholic 94.5; 2. Benton 70; 3. Saegertown 46; 4. Burrell 44.5; 4. Trinity 44.5; 6. Brandywine Heights 43; 7. Milton 40; 8. South Fayette 39; 9. Tri-Valley 38; 10. Reynolds 35.5.