Elliott’s medal a first at Sun Valley

HERSHEY — Seventh-place bout or not, Alex Elliott wasn’t going to go quietly at the PIAA Class AAA Tournament Saturday.

In a see-saw scrap, the 160-pound Sun Valley wrestler took a shot in overtime at Frankie Krauss of Spring-Ford, only to be rolled and finish on the wrong end of 6-4 verdict.

Elliott still felt like a winner, not No. 8 in when Vanguards coach Tom Ellis slipped the medal over his neck during the medal ceremony. It was the first time a Sun Valley wrestler medaled in states.

“My last high school match, I think I gave it my all for sure,’ Elliott said. “I was really excited considering I was the first to place at Sun Valley. My coach said it all came together this year. And my wrestling partners Sean (Donohue) and Steven (Okoorian), they really helped me get this place. They were coaching me from the stands.’

The last match was vintage Alex Elliott.

Elliott put Krauss down for a 2-0 lead, but was reversed almost as quickly.

“In the second period I took bottom and got an escape,’ Elliott said. “He took me down and got ahead 4-3. I got another escape and it was 4-4. The third period I rode him out with legs until he called a couple of injuries. And then in overtime, I took a shot at him. I was in pretty deep and he funk-rolled me and he got the takedown on me.

“It was a good move. He got me.’

Elliott opened the states with a 3-2 win over Tristen Skelly (Mechanicsburg). He then surrendered a 2-1 decision to Cody Cordes (Wyoming Valley West), who eventually finished second in the state and defeated Cameron Jacobson (Allderdice), 5-2, to reach the medal round. A 2-1 loss to Paul Dunn (Bethel), who could have been accused of stalling, eliminated Elliott from contention for third-place.

Elliott finishes with a 29-6 record including 2-3 in the states.

“It doesn’t matter how big of a name or not, he wrestles everyone down to the wire,’ Ellis said. “He’s a warrior. I wouldn’t want anybody else. He doesn’t care what your record is. He’s going to go at you.’

Ellis always will get a lump in his throat when he thinks about Elliott, and for good reason. The power of that medal ceremony will live forever.

“Best coaching moment of my life,’ Ellis said. “To accomplish something at Sun Valley that was never done before, even with a legendary coach, Chuck Grassano. It’s the start of something bigger. It’s finally the start of something bigger.’

Elliott, in five matches at states, not only has brought the Sun Valley program a medal but through all of those tight matches, has provided the coaching staff with stories to last two lifetimes.

The 2-1 loss to Cordes.

The 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dunn, who was fourth.

“He was probably about 10 seconds away from escaping and turning him and being up 3-2,’ Ellis said of the Dunn bout. “And the other kid he lost to Friday, Cody Cordes, it was close.

“We knew Alex was going to be at states. He should have been at states last year, without a doubt. He was one match from going to states last year. We knew he had the potential to place. We knew him and Okoorian (170) were going to be here this year. Sean was our surprise. I guess it goes to show the work ethic we have in the room with all three qualifying and getting a state medal winner for the first time in school history.’

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