Spring Grove's Rohrbaugh books semifinal spot
HERSHEY - Dalton Rohrbaugh forgot to sign his bout sheet after his quarterfinal victory at Giant Center.
The Spring Grove sophomore 106-pounder sprinted off the mat after beating Penn-Trafford's Job Chishko on Friday, leaped over the wall and hugged his mom, Cheryl, as tears welled up in her eyes.
Then he jogged back down to sign off and make the biggest win of his career official.
“I forgot to grab the sheet, but that’s all right," Rohrbaugh said with a smile. "I’d rather forget that than not even have to do it.”
Rohrbaugh quickly took care of business for the second day in a row at Day 2 of the PIAA Class AAA championships. He used two first-period takedowns to build a 4-1 lead on Chishko and kept the pressure on in a 7-4 win.
“I think I broke him in the first period with those two takedowns," Rohrbaugh said. "He had a good shot, but I scrambled out of it and got a takedown. I think after that I broke him for the rest of the match.”
At 106-pounds — the lightest weight class — Rohrbaugh hardly had to wait to wrestle either of his first two matches. The way the tournament is formatted, it meant he could get on the mat quickly and — since he won — head back out well before the round ended.
On Thursday, Rohrbaugh and coach Tony Miller visited Bass Pro Shops to pass the time. After Friday's win, they thought about going to see a movie.
“At this level, you want him to get in, you want him to compete," Miller said. "As much you love this environment, it’s still stressful for the kids to sit in here all day. We’ll probably go out to the movies or do something like that. With him, you’ve got to watch his weight so we can’t go out to dinner.”
Rohrbaugh will face defending state champion Tyson Klump, of Nazareth, in the semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday. With a win, Rohrbaugh would become the Rockets' first finalist since Neal Grudi in 2011. No matter what, Rohrbaugh will win his first career state medal at no worse than sixth place.
“I can wrestle relaxed," Rohrbaugh said. "(Klump is) a returning state champ; everyone in this room except for me and my parents think I’m gonna lose so I can just go out and wrestle relaxed.”
Miller added one correction: “And your coaches.”
Central's Chatterton returns to the podium: Central York's Dylan Chatterton has felt the reward of standing on the medal podium at states. Except he looked a lot different the last time he did it.
Chatterton, now a 145-pound senior, placed fifth at Giant Center as a 106-pound freshman in 2013. After qualifying for states but coming up one win short of the podium the last two seasons, Chatterton will return to the podium somewhere between third and eighth place on Saturday.
Despite losing in the preliminary round on Thursday, Chatterton assured himself a spot on the podium and a medal by beating Southeast Region champion Bryce Reddington of Methacton and Dustin Stone of Harry S. Truman on Friday. A loss in either match would have sent Chatterton home medal-less.
“I feel like when I’m on the top side of the bracket, I have too many expectations," he said. "I just wrestle better when my back is against the wall and I need to get it done.”
He's been wrestling with a broken nose since his consolation semifinal match two weeks ago at districts, when trainers had to pop the bone back into place.
Chatterton will face Northwest Region champion Brock Port of Bellefonte on Saturday morning. A loss would put Chatterton into Saturday night's seventh-place match, while a win would set up one more consolation match that will decide whether he goes to the third-place or fifth-place match.
“I definitely had higher expectations in the top part of the bracket," Chatterton said. "I was not expecting to lose that (preliminary bout). I know that getting down on myself is not gonna do me any good. I stayed in it and battled back and now I’m medaling at states. I secured the podium spot, which is a lot of weight off my chest. Now it’s just working my way up.”
South Western's Thomas earns first medal: Gage Thomas watched the medal round from the Giant Center stands during his freshman year. He pictured himself winning a medal one day and thought about that goal every night leading up to Friday.
No matter what happens Saturday, Thomas will achieve that goal. The South Western senior 152-pounder avenged two losses from earlier in the season during Friday's consolation rounds, beating Southeast Region champion Dylan Schwartz of Council Rock South and Felix Belga of Cumberland Valley.
The match with Belga, who Thomas lost to in a tiebreaker at the District 3 championships two weeks ago, played out almost identical to the first meeting with both wrestlers earning escapes during regulation and going into overtime. In the first meeting, Belga used a reversal during tiebreakers to win 3-2. This time around, the wrestlers exchanged escapes in a tiebreaker and Thomas took the down position in an ultimate tiebreaker. The choice of position goes to the wrestler who scored the first point of the match, which Thomas did with a second-period escape.
In the ultimate tiebreaker, Thomas escaped from Belga's clutches in the first 15 seconds.
“We knew how it was gonna play out from wrestling him at districts," South Western coach Nate Murren said. "When we won the flip, we took down right away to get the point so that if we go to ultimate tiebreaker we get the choice. That first point is essential.”
The escape capped off an exciting day for Thomas, who eclipsed the 100-win mark with his defeat of Schwartz.
“It’s a big deal, but compared to my big goals of placing at states, it’s one of the smaller things," Thomas said. "It’s definitely exciting to do, it takes a lot of the stress and pressure off.”
Thomas can place anywhere from third to eighth depending on the outcomes of his matches on Saturday.
Thomas' teammate, 138-pound senior Owen Wherley, came up just short of the medal stand when he lost to Nazareth's Sammy Sasso in a match that assured the winner a medal. Sasso was a state runner-up last season and is ranked No. 10 in the country at his weight class by Intermat.
Wherley ends his career with 137 wins, the most of any wrestler in Mustangs history.
“It is the way it goes," Murren said. "It’s definitely heartbreaking for Owen, and I’m still feeling for Owen because that’s the way the bracket fell. We didn’t have a choice in that and you obviously can’t control that.”
Season ends for five more YAIAA wrestlers: In addition to Wherley, two other YAIAA wrestlers also saw their seasons end one win short of the podium.
New Oxford 120-pounder Zurich Storm was pinned in the quarterfinals, then pinned again in consolations, while Dallastown 195-pounder Bryce Shields lost 8-4 in his final consolation match.
Earlier in the day, Kennard-Dale 126-pounder Michael Bracey, New Oxford 152-pounder Nolan Poust and Northeastern heavyweight Blaine Yinger were eliminated with losses in quarterfinal matches.
The three YAIAA medalists in Class AAA this season tops last year's total of two.