Cummings, Meyer in PIAA quarters

HERSHEY — A win in Hershey is worth it’s weight in gold (or chocolate).

Funny things happen in the consolation brackets, so staying in the championship rounds goes a long way to climbing the medal podium.

Thursday, in the first of three days of the Class AAA PIAA tournament at the Giant Center, Downingtown East’s Wade Cummings (126 pounds) and James Meyer (152) were the only locals to win their first round matches.

The quarterfinals will begin today at 1:30 p.m., as well as the second round of consolations that will include West Chester Rustin’s Brett Kaliner (106), Coatesville’s Chase Stephens (145) and Zach Dellicompagni (152), East’s Billy McGinley (220) and Henderson’s James McDonald (285).

A win in quarters would guarantee a top-six finish, while a loss would require two wins in the consis to medal.

Meyer used a takedown in the sudden victory period against Exeter’s Ethan Stever to win his first bout in front of the announced 4,959 people in attendance.

“I knew (Stever) was out of gas so I felt good going into overtime,’ Meyer said. “I knew I could take him down and it’d be over.’

Things escalate a bit for Meyer on day two with the No. 2 ranked kid in the state, Kaleb Young of Punxsutawney.

“I’m one step closer to my goal of getting a medal,’ Meyer said.

Cummings made his second trip to states and picked up his first win in three tries, majoring General McLane’s Hunter Hendricks, 15-7, thanks to five takedowns.

“It was important to get the win and get rid of the nerves,’ Cummings said. “It’s nice to get rid of focusing on the pressure to get my first win and start focusing on where I’m going from here.’

Cummings will have the tough task of squaring off against Bethlehem Catholic’s Luke Karam, who won the 113-pound state title in Class AA last year. Karam also beat Cummings, 6-4, back in December.

“I’m gonna go at it and let it fly,’ Cummings said. “I don’t feel any nerves because I’m not supposed to win. I’m gonna go out and let it fly and see what happens.’

Kaliner started the afternoon with a 6-4 win over Stefhen Caple of West Scranton. In the first round, Central Dauphin’s Chris Wright was a 14-2 winner, sending Kaliner to the consis where he bumped Pennsbury’s Antonio Martoccio, 4-1. He will face Penn Trafford’s Job Chishko, the Southwest Region’s runner-up, in the second round of consis and must win that and two more to place in the top-eight.

“I’m pretty excited to be in a position to get a medal,’ Kaliner said. “I think I have a decent road to a medal and if I stay wrestling the way I’ve been wrestling the past few weeks, I can beat anyone in the tournament.’

Stephens pinned Freedom’s Adam Evans in the prelims before finding himself on the other side of that equation against Franklin Regional’s Michael Kemerer, a three-time state runner-up. Stephens beat North Penn’s Colin Shannon in consis and faces Dallastown’s Nick Shields today.

“I’ve wrestled a long time and I’m not really used to getting beat that bad,’ Stephens said of the Kemerer loss. “It’s usually a big upset because I’ve always been able to hang with those kinds of kids, but I just couldn’t be there.’

Dellicompagni didn’t have a prelim bout, but fell in the first round. He will wrestle his second bout today against Garnet Valley’s Pat Rowe.

McGinley won his prelim and then was pinned by South Western’s Seth Janney in the first round. The senior Cougar scored a takedown in sudden victory against General McLane’s Ian Mallory for a 3-1 win and faces Northampton’s Jason Kocher next.

McDonald lost his prelim but was a 1-0 victor against Titusville’s Jason Oakes to set up a match against Warwick’s Austin Maguire.

Coatesville’s Wesley McGuire won his prelim bout but lost his next two and was eliminated, as was Rustin’s Costas Hatzipavlides, who went 0-2.

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