Four locals advance to PIAA wrestling quarterfinals

by Drew Markol, The Intelligencer

Posted on March 10, 2017

Article originally appeared here:

HERSHEY - It shouldn't be this easy.

Especially here, at the Giant Center, when it's the PIAA Class 3A Tournament.

But Pennridge junior 160-pounder Josh Stillings made it look that way as he dismantled Red Lion senior Dylan Gurreri 15-0 in the opening round of the tournament Thursday evening.

The win moved Stillings, who was fourth here a year ago, into Friday's quarterfinals at 2:15 p.m. against Belle Vernon junior Zach Hartman - a 12-1 winner in his opener.

"I wanted to try to push the pace," Stillings said of his match against Gurreri. "I thought if I could do that, he would get tired, and he did. It was a good opening match for me. Now I can go and relax and get ready for (Friday)."

Stillings built an 8-0 lead after one period, thanks to a takedown and six back points. He continued to pile up points in the middle session before finishing off the technical fall in 5:05, thanks to two more back points.

"He was short and stocky and very strong," Stillings said of his opponent. "Those kinds of kids get tired faster. I tried to take advantage of that."

Senior teammate Matt Parker (120) wasn't thrilled with how things went early, but he made the rest of his opening match worthwhile, as he cruised to a 14-6 major decision over Bethlehem Catholic's Zach Glenn in his first-rounder.

"I wasn't happy at all about being taken down, but I'm glad it happened now and not later in the tournament," said Parker, a state runner-up in 2016. "I was able to bounce back from it and get the major. I did learn that I have to be ready right away at the start of a match."

Parker, known for his slick single-leg takedowns, used a variety of moves to score from his feet en route to piling up his two takedowns.

"I tried to change things up on him," Parker said. "I'm at my best on my feet, but I know that I have to use different moves to score."

Parker will face Central Dauphin's Chris Wright in Friday's quarterfinals. Wright beat Dalton Woodrow of DuBois 8-3 in his opener.

North Penn senior Colin Shannon (152), the only other Intelligencer-area wrestler still alive for a Class 3A gold medal, came out flying in his first match and dispatched Bethlehem Catholic senior Ryan Zeiner 9-0.

"It feels great, and it really takes the stress off your shoulders," said Shannon, sporting bleach-blonde hair like the rest of his NP teammates here. "I wanted to start fast and get a lead, and I was able to do that. When you wrestle with a lead, you feel more comfortable, and that helped me in my match."

The victory put Shannon in the quarterfinals against Somerset's Austin Hemminger, who knocked off South Central regional champ Brayden Wills of Mechanicsburg 8-2.

"Last year, I dislocated my shoulder in my first match and then couldn't continue in my second match and went 0-2," Shannon said. "Now I'll get a chance to get ready for (Friday) and have more time to mentally prepare."

In Class 2A, Palisades sophomore 145-pounder Nathan Haubert made a successful debut here by scoring a 5-3 win over Saegertown (District 10) senior Jude Mattocks in his opening-round bout.

"It feels good to win my first match," said Haubert, now 34-2. "Now I can relax and prepare for (Friday)."

Haubert might have been a little nervous, but was able to overcome the jitters and prevail.

"In the first period, he was nervous," Palisades coach Bob Schlegel said. "But he was able to control the pace of the match. Everybody out here is tough. He was able to shrug off a stalling point against him and follow up with two good takedowns to get the win.

"It's good when you can win when you're not at your best, and he did that. Now he has his sea legs and is ready to go."

Up next for Haubert, the only Intelligencer-area wrestler in Class 2A, will be a toughie against Chestnut Ridge (District Five) junior Justin McCoy (40-3) in Friday's quarterfinals at 9 a.m. McCoy won his first-round bout by fall in 1:19.

"He's got a big fish next," Schlegel said. "But with his first one out of the way, he'll go out and wrestle better."

Quakertown senior Noah Wood (195) was the only area wrestler (out of eight) to win his preliminary pigtail, defeating Jody Crouse of Bethlehem Catholic 3-2.

That win moved Wood to the prelims, where he dropped an 8-4 decision to Miles Lee of South Philadelphia, moving him into the consolation bracket.

The eight other area wrestlers (the Intelligencer-area sent 13 to Hershey) in the consolations were fighting to stay alive in the tournament Thursday night (if a wrestler loses his first two matches here he is eliminated).

And it sure looked like Central Bucks East senior Collin Stevens (182) would be ousted from the tournament, as he trailed Spring-Ford's Chase Smith 5-0 in the third period before rallying for a pin, setting off a celebration for Stevens.

Quakertown sophomore Josh Stahl dropped his first two matches, including his first consolation match in a rideout, and was eliminated, as was Souderton senior Brandon Bach (126).

North Penn senior Will Laughlin (145), and junior teammates Owen Verespy (220) and Ryan Cody (285), also lost in the consolations and were eliminated.

William Tennent senior David McCoy (170) lost his consolation match in overtime and was knocked out of the tournament, as was Hatboro-Horsham junior Nick Chapman (285), who had a lead in the third period but was pinned by Bensalem's Nick Cooper.


Three-time state champ Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional won his first-round bout over Easton freshman Jonathon Miers by fall in 57 seconds to improve to 33-0 this season and 142-0 for his high school career. ... Owen J. Roberts senior Ryan Resnick shocked the Giant Center crowd by scoring a 7-3 win over unbeaten North Allegheny senior Eric Hong at 160 pounds. Stillings, of Pennridge, beat Resnick 5-0 in last Saturday's Southeast Regional final, while Hong defeated Stillings in the Escape the Rock final in January. "With Hong losing, 160 just became very interesting," one area coach said. ... Speaking of the Rams, Northampton junior Julian Chlebove, who beat Parker 3-0 in the state finals last year at 113, won his opener 7-0 and seems on a collision course to face Parker again on Saturday night.

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