Nine PAC-10 wrestlers vying for medals at states

HERSHEY: Neither one of them has been here for an individual wrestling tournament.

State duals yes, as members of the Boyertown team. But Lucas Miller and Tommy Killoran are experiencing life at the Giant Center as participants in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s season-ending extravaganza.

And they will have some nice souvenirs of their trip: Medals from their respective brackets of the Class AAA field. Miller and Killoran joined teammates Jordan Wood, Jakob Campbell and Gregg Harvey in qualifying for medal-round berths during Friday’s championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolations.

“I wasn’t expecting it this year,’ Killoran, a junior 285-pounder in his first season of varsity action for Boyertown, said. “It’s a dream come true.’

It’s also been a pinch-me moment for Miller. The Bear junior finds himself in the semifinal round of the 126-pound bracket, assured of no less than a sixth-place medallion for his efforts.

“My goal this year was to get to states,’ he said “Making the semis is awesome.’

Nine wrestlers from the original 21-man Pioneer Athletic Conference contingent will be vying for various place medals in Saturday night’s first, third, fifth and seventh-place bouts. Along with Miller and Killoran, three others still have their personal “gold rushes’ going.

Wood joins his two classmates after dispatching Hopewell’s Stephon Peake in 4:24 of their 220-pound quarterfinal. Owen J. Roberts senior Derek Gulotta has a personal 4-for-4 (medals for state tourneys) secured, and Upper Perkiomen’s Dustin Steffenino is assured a higher medal than the eighth he scored as a junior during the 2014 tournament.

“Looking back a couple weeks ago, I was on the edge of not knowing what I could do. Now I know I can do anything I can.’

Also in the medal hunt — courtesy of their clinching victories in the third round of consolations — are OJR’s Demetri D’Orsaneo, Spring-Ford’s Frankie Krauss and Boyertown’s Campbell and Harvey. That all kept the Bears’ state-level five man contingent intact right up to the medal podium.

“That’s unheard of,’ Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said.

Miller (41-10) won a second close bout in as many days, his 3-2 win over Bald Eagle Area’s Seth Koleno coming on the heels of a 4-3 victory over Hazleton Area’s Jimmy Hoffman. His semifinal opponent, Zack Trampe of Council Rock South, has some history with Miller.

“I wrestled him before,’ he said. “I lost to him, but I’m going to try to change that.’

Killoran (42-11) had to go overtime to dispatch Connellsville’s Louis Mauro in the quarters, 3-1. He now faces Andrew Dunn of Bethlehem Catholic in his bid for state gold.

“I felt some pressure in the quarterfinals,’ he said. “Having to go overtime before I got a takedown … it was nerve-wracking, but I’ve been through a few like it.’

Gulotta (35-8) had a close call of his own, pulling out a 4-3 victory over Belle Vernon’s Zachary Hartman. He scored two takedowns to counter a reversal by Hartman, then got into a back-to-back, head-to-heels position where keeping his upside-down opponent in that awkward position proved the difference.

“It was a close one,’ he admitted. “When I got the (second) takedown, that changed the match. He had to come for me. I just stayed keeping my head up.’

Wood’s bid to go higher than his two previous silver-medal finishes will take him to a pairing with Parkland’s Omar Haddad. They were in position to square off in the PIAA Class AAA Duals Tournament last month, but the Boyertown coaching staff opted to forfeit the bout.

Wood had prevailed over Haddad, the Northeast Regional champion, in a previous encounter during the 2014 state duals. He posted a 3-1 victory over Haddad (40-8) in the third-round consolation match which Parkland won, 33-21.

Steffenino (37-1) dominated Warwick’s Devin Schnupp en route to a 7-1 decision in the 113-pound quarters. He will square off against North Hills’ Gage Curry (38-1) in the semifinals.

Campbell (41-11) bounced back from a quarterfinal-round loss to Altoona’s Cole Manley with a 2-0 victory over Penn Trafford’s Job Chishko. He now faces Seneca Valley’s Louis Newell in the fourth round of consolations.

D’Orsaneo (40-6) had a long climb through the 138-pound wrestlebacks after dropping there off an opening loss. He stayed alive with a 3-2 decision of Central York’s Dylan Chatterton to set up a fourth-round duel with Chambersburg’s David Rump.

Krauss (45-4) is the lone survivor of the seven-man contingent Spring-Ford brought to Hershey. His current 4-1 run in states continued with a 4-3 win over Pine-Richland’s Brendan Burnham, and it takes him to a bout with Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s Tony Palumbo.

His nail-biting 6-5 win over Hempfield’s Jordan Ortiz in their 182-pound tussle secured for Harvey (45-7) a first state-level medal. His next opponent will be Dieruff’s Jayden Reyes.

Spring-Ford’s Frankie Krauss won the second-round consolations at 160, beating Penn Manor’s Jonah Barley 7-4.

Weighed against all the medal achievers were the PAC-10 grapplers who saw their seasons ended in the aptly-named “blood round.’

Owen J’s Ryan Resnick (113), Methacton’s Bryce Reddington (132) and Spring-Ford’s Brendan Zimmie (195) bowed out in the second round of consolations. Bowing out in the “blood round’ were the Rams’ Ryan Hayes (120) and Zach Dorsey (285), and Owen J’s Dominick Petrucelli (145) and Xavier Ferrizzi (195).

NOTES: The Class AAA action will resume 9 a.m. Saturday with championship semifinals and two rounds of consolations. The night session will open with the Parade of Champions at 6:45 p.m., followed by the medal matches at 7 p.m.

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