14 wrestlers win Class 3A Section 4 titles
The feeling of winning the wrestling sectional championship is one that varies from person to person, and situation to situation.
On Saturday at South Western High School, 14 wrestlers completed a day-long odyssey to earn the District 3 Class 3A Section 4 championship.
Forty-two other wrestlers also punched their ticket to the 2017 PIAA District 3 wrestling tournament.
The emotions varied for each competitor.
Only one wrestler remains undefeated in the entire section.
Heavyweight champion Michael Wolfgram (30-0) defeated defending District 3 heavyweight champion Blaine Yinger of Northeastern for the second time this year in the championship match.
"To beat him means I've come a long way in technique and mental toughness," Wolfgram said.
The reigning champions that won titles at a different weight class than last year were Spring Grove's Dalton Rohrbaugh at 114, Gettysburg's Joseph Pecaitis at 145, and Dallastown's Bryce Shields at 195.
New Oxford's Zurich Storm was the only wrestler to defend his sectional title, and he did so at 120.
Dalton Rohrbaugh, who has won a sectional title each of his first three years at Spring Grove, remained stoic after the medal ceremony.
"It's always good to come out and get a win," Rohrbaugh said, "But now, it's pretty much like I've been here and done that, and now it's on to bigger and better things."
Rohrbaugh won sectional titles at 106 twice, and was the District 3 champion at that weight last year, but he said this year wasn't tougher than last year.
"I actually had to lose more weight last year to get down to (106)," Rohrbaugh said.
Zurich Storm of New Oxford has certainly been here before.
"When you're in the match, to keep going, keep driving through, is the main thing," the Colonials' senior said.
Storm's circumstance is a bit different, however.
On Saturday, he became the first four-time sectional champion in his school's history.
"To me, it's a pretty big deal," Storm said. "It's something I've been looking toward. It's been one of my first goals from high school."
New Oxford didn't have the kind of team success they are used to, as they fell short of districts in the team duals. That made this moment even bigger for Storm.
"I feel like (getting here) has taken a long time," he said. "We didn't make districts, so we had a long three-week break."
Drake Pew made a triumphant return to the mat to take home the 170-pound crown. A month after suffering a serious knee injury while taking on Spring Grove's Jared Barley, Pew responded by beating Barley on Saturday for the title.
Gettysburg freshman Dylan Reinert won the 138-pound class. Even after receiving a bloody nose in the first period of the championship match, he managed to maintain perspective.
"Actually, I did (expect to be here)," Reinert said. "This was my goal at the beginning of the year. It's an amazing environment. The fans were here to support me, and I love my family."
Twelve Gettysburg wrestlers participated in the sectional tournament, and they have maintained a brotherhood even after the dual-meet season ended.
Reinert gave credit to his teammate, Joseph Pecaitis, for working with him in practice.
"Joe beats me up in the practice room, and it definitely helps me on the mat," Reinert said with a smile.
"It's a great benefit (working with Reinert) because we're always pushing each other," Pecaitis said. "Maybe some days in practice, I do beat him up, but he pushes me to be a better wrestler."
For Red Lion, Dylan Gurreri won the title at 160 and was quick to put in a good word for teammate Riley Seredych.
"When he bumped to 132, we looked at each other," Gurreri said. "He needed help with bigger guys, and I needed help with quicker guys."
Seredych, who went 11-11 on the year, switched to 132 just before sectionals. He's now going to districts after a runner-up finish at 132.
"I saw what we were working on the past couple of weeks, he was putting it onto the mat," Gurreri said of Seredych. "It feels good to know that he trusted me."
There's a special feeling as well for the other two-through-four place finishers in each weight class, as they also qualify for the District 3 tournament, which starts Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey.
The most remarkable story has to be Northeastern's Dedrick Turner, who finished runner-up at 220.
After missing districts by one win for three straight years, the senior broke through on Saturday.
In a bracket with two former sectional winners, he took down the defending sectional champ, Spring Grove's Nathan Young, in an epic match in the semifinals.
"Finishing tournaments is always the hardest," Turner said. "By the third match, I'm a little fatigued. I just had to win this one."