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11 YAIAA wrestlers remain in title contention at PIAA Southeast Regional

View results from the Southeast Regional wrestling championships

WEST LAWN >> It was completely understandable if frustration had gotten the better of Caleb Garland during Friday's PIAA Class AA Southeast Regional Wrestling Championships.

First there was the stall call from nowhere, one that brought both Hanover coaches off their chairs.

Then came the reversal in the last second of the second period after a tremendous ride by the Hanover wrestler, leaving him trailing Tri Valley's Caleb Bordner by two.

But in the end, the Nighthawk junior remained calm, cool and collected, registering the winning takedown with 45 seconds remaining in the top-10 showdown with Bordner.

The 3-2 victory in the quarterfinal round of the 120-pound weight class propelled Garland into this morning's semifinal round.

He is among 11 YAIAA wrestlers who remained in title contention after Friday's action and have already punched their ticket next week's PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships, which start Thursday morning in the Giant Center in Hershey.

Bermudian Springs leads the local contingent with six semifinalists – Austin Clabaugh (120-pound weight class), Noah Fleshman (160), Briton Shelton (170), Colton Dull (182), Sam McCollum (220) and Brady Linebaugh (285).

Joining them in that round are Biglerville's Nate Newberry (145) and Nate Mentzer (220), Littlestown's Jordan Matthews (152), and Eastern York's Lucas Barshinger (195).

Eight other league grapplers are in wrestlebacks, each still in the hunt for a top-six finish and the accompanying state tournament berth.

The first period between Garland and Bordner ended scoreless but only because of a tremendous scramble by Garland, who fought off a deep Bordner shot because of his great hips and balance.

Garland controlled nearly the entire second period, almost turning his District 11 opponent for back points. But somehow, the ref hit the Hanover junior for a stall call that left Nighthawk coach Kurt Brenner a little heated.

"It was a bogus call. There was no reason for that. We had three turn attempts before it was called," he said.

Then off a restart in the last five seconds of the period, Bordner was able to slip behind the Nighthawk wrestler for the reversal awarded just as the buzzer sounded.

Garland remained unfazed, getting an escape early and, after a couple near misses, completing a throw for the winning points.

Instead of worrying about what went against him, Garland kept focused on earning his second berth to the PIAA tournament.

"Everyone gets an unnecessary stall call against them," he said. "I knew I could come back from 2-0 down. I had (the throw) in my back pocket. I just had to go for it."

Barshinger had to wait almost four hours before hitting the mat because of a bye in the preliminary round.

"I got used to (waiting) at sectional and districts," said the 29-0 senior. "I just stayed focused on my match and watched my teammate (Dakota Mackley) wrestle."

The Golden Knight 195-pounder had his hands full with Panther Valley's Rian Shubeck.

Barshinger had a two-point lead disappear with 1:01 remaining in the match when the Panther senior connected on a takedown. Shubeck then basically let Barshinger go, giving him the lead again but could not score again on the District 3 champion.

"All season long, I've been working on my shot. Now, I'm working on my defense on my feet," said Barshinger, in his first year in Class AA. "I want to keep my record (perfect). States is the just the bonus."

McCollum, the other undefeated league wrestler, moved his record to 37-0 with a pair wins, including a 5-0 decision over Julian Wismer of Notre Dame Green Pond in the quarterfinals.

Clabaugh, Matthews, Fleshman and Mentzer all bounced back from fifth-place finishes in last weekend's District 3 championships with two wins Friday evening.

The spot in the state tournament is especially meaningful for Fleshman, who only wrestled nine matches last season after being seriously hurt in a car accident. The sophomore turned in a pair of 7-4 decisions Friday to earn his semifinal slot, where he will face District 3 champ John Vaughn of Boiling Springs.

In the preliminary round, the league wrestlers compiled an outstanding 13-2 record.

The biggest upset of that entire round was turned in by Littlestown's Zach MacLeod at 285. The Thunderbolt senior made a second-period reversal and penalty point stand up for a 3-2 decision over Anthony Greggo of Pius X. Greggo came in as District 11 champion and was the only one of that group to lose in the first round.