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3 Franklin County wrestlers assured of PIAA medals

After two bruising days of confrontations at Giant Center, Franklin County wrestlers have assured themselves of three medals at the PIAA Wrestling Championships.

There is, however, a big difference in each of the three medalists.

One, Chambersburg's Drew Peck, is still in the running for a title at 182 pounds. He won his quarterfinal bout 8-5 over Matt McGillick of Penn Trafford and will wrestle in the semifinals Saturday morning. If he wins that match, he would put himself into Saturday night's final.

One is a cagey veteran. Chandler Olson of Shippensburg, who lost in Thursday's first round, then won three consolation bouts - all by narrow margins - to assure himself of a medal at 126.

The significance of that, however, is that Olson will now have a nice bunch of medals to display, because it will be the fourth PIAA medal in his outstanding career.

The other is a freshman, who showed that he is, well, a freshman, in one bout, then proved he's got a lot of talent in his second. Luke Nichter of Chambersburg went 1-1 Friday to get into the medal rounds at 160.

Peck started strong against McGillick, leading 7-1 after two periods. He scored a quick takedown, then added back points in the first, and escaped and notched a second takedown.

But in the third, McGillick turned what looked like an almost certain takedown for Peck into one for himself, and the rest of the match he had Peck on the run, eventually being awarded two stalling points.

Peck said, "Whatever you have to do to win. I remember when my brother (Dawson) was in the quarters and had a big lead and got pinned, so I wasn't doing anything risky.

"He hit me with a good counter there, and from then on he was really pushing the pace. It was hard to get my offense going."

Peck (33-4) will meet Nazareth's Travis Stefanik (35-2) in the semifinals.

"He's ranked sixth in the country, so you know he's good," Peck said. "I love the challenge of wrestling guys highly ranked, and I've beaten a few of them."

Olson started his day with a 2-0 win over Garrett Rigg of Bald Eagle Area, with a third-period reversal the only scoring. He then faced Noah Myers of Mifflin County, and it was 1-1 until Olson hit a dump with 1:20 left to secure a 3-2 win.

"I definitely think a lot of kids have figured out some things I do, and have tied me up," Olson said. "But I've started to get back to more offense.

"This was the first time I lost in the opening round, so it was different. Psychologically, it was tough. But the name of the game is to just win one match at a time."

Greyhound coach Tony Yaniello said, "Kudos to Chandler. A four-time medalist, and this time he had to do it the hard way."

Olson (41-3) will face Patrick Gould of East Stroudsburg South (32-4) in the next round of consys.

Nichter was, admittedly, not in the best frame of mind when he went out to meet unbeaten Trent Hidley of Mifflin County in the quarterfinals at 160.

"He's ranked No. 2 in the country, so it was hard to tell yourself you can win," Nichter said.

And Hidlay had his way, scoring nine takedowns plus a nearfall for a 22-7 technical fall in 4:29.

But a different Nichter showed up for his consolation bout and he handed Caleb Baxter of Butler an 8-3 defeat. Two takedowns in the first period gave him a 4-1 lead, and a reverse with four seconds left in the second made the score 8-3. He then rode Baxter out for the victory.

"Getting that first takedown helped, and when I got the second one, that really gave me confidence on my feet," Nichter said. "I was thinking I could get a medal here, and it feels really good."

Nichter (31-9) will meet Cade Wilson of Nazareth (32-12) in the next round.

A pair of Shippensburg wrestlers got to within one victory of a medal, but Cole Forrester (195) and Cameron Tinner (285) were denied in the last round of the day.

Forrester scored a pin in 2:17 over Ryan Mortimer of Garnet Valley in his first consy bout, then fell 3-0 to Jake Koser of Northern York. Forrester was close to a takedown in the third period, but Koser countered to score two points of his own.

Tinner took on top seed Niko Camacho of Bethlehem Catholic in the quarterfinals, and was taken down four times in a 10-2 defeat. All four times, Tinner got trapped under the much heavier Camacho, who simply spun behind for two points.

Similarly, in a 7-2 loss to Vicenzo Pelusi of LaSalle, Tinner could get in on Pelusi's legs, but couldn't keep the angle and was countered for a takedown.

Yaniello said, "Cam had to keep turning the corner on those, but those guys were big but could move well. He and Cole got to the round for medals, but lost to some pretty good kids."