HERSHEY >> Penncrest senior Ryan Stocku left the PIAA Class 3A wrestling championships Saturday with a medal and a headache, and not in that order.
No one can take away the medal. Certainly not the loudmouths who screamed at him to get back on the mats after his opponent tossed him on his head in the blood round Friday.
Stocku clinched eighth-place in the competition with a win by injury default over Council Rock South’s Riley Palmer.
A chunk of Palmer’s less enlightened following, obviously the faction minus the medical degrees, was in an uproar when the match was halted after just 31 seconds just because the PIAA medical people that examined Stocku had ended his day, fearing concussion.
The trainers were right. Revaluated by doctors Saturday morning, Stocku was shut down for the rest of the tournament with a concussion that’s left him with headaches and dizziness.
“That’s not the way I envisioned my career ending,” Stocku said. “I told the trainers I could wrestle. They wouldn’t let me and it is what it is. I won two matches to get to that point. I didn’t want it to end that way but it did. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Stocku (108-40) is the all-time leader in career wins for the Lions. He’s also the school’s first wrestler to place in the state tournament since Joey Gartland was second at 170 pounds in 2013.
“That was tough, but Ryan had a heck of a senior season,” coach Will Harmon said. “He accomplished many of his goals such as making it to the states and placing, and achieving 100 wins. He did that all in postseason on his own through hard work.”
Harmon appreciates the mixed reaction to Stocku’s win by injury default. Hopefully the people who didn’t get their way will understand his point.
“Ryan wanted to go on,” Harmon said. “He told the medical staff several times he wanted to continue but they said no. They reevaluated him this morning and they did not clear him. Over the course of the night he was having concussion symptoms, headaches and things like that. He didn’t get a lot of sleep. I believe they did make the correct call.”
At 138 pounds, Colin Cronin of Upper Darby didn’t get the gold medal, or the rematch he sought with Sammy Sasso, who finished first. But Cronin registered a 10-2 decision over junior Zach Ortman (Parkland) to collect third place. That’s one spot better than last year at states.
“I was looking for gold but I finished out my career strong,” Cronin said. “I can’t complain. I came back wrestling hard. I took third place in probably one of the toughest brackets in the tournament. I’m excited for what comes next as a Pittsburgh Panther.”
Cronin registered major decisions of 8-0 over Nick Acuna (Moon) and 13-3 over Seth Koleno (Bald Eagle Area) to advance to the third-place bout.
At 126 pounds, Matt Marino of Garnet Valley pinned sophomore Patrick Gould (East Stroudsburg South) in 2:49 in the seventh-place bout.
“It’s really special to go out with a pin,” Marino said. “It’s probably what I’m most noted for, (with) the headlock, too. It’s really special to do that in front of all these people.”
Marino had a 2-1 lead before putting Gould on his back.
Marino suffered a heartbreaking loss in the ride-out tiebreaker in falling, 3-2, to Jakob Campbell (Boyertown) in the ultimate tiebreaker.
Campbell was beaten in the fourth-place bout.
“It is what it is,” Marino said. “I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’m just really honored to be able to wrestle in front of all these people and come back and take seventh.”
Prior to Stocku’s departure, Lions 106-pounder Dayton DelViscio was eliminated from states Friday.
“He really exceeded expectations and made us proud as coaches, just as Ryan did,” Harmon said of DelViscio. “He has nothing to be ashamed of. I expect to see him back here in the next three years.”
The finals were not without controversy.
Three-time defending champion Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional), who entered the 126-pound title match with a 144-0 record, was nursing a 5-4 lead late in his match.
Lee obviously was hurt as he was wearing a balky knee brace that severely limited his movement.
With the Giant Center crowd roaring, Austin DeSanto (Exeter) tackled Lee and was given a two-point takedown at the buzzer. Replays showed the move wasn’t completed until after the buzzer.
End of unbeaten streak, end of perfection.