HERSHEY >> Unionville's Tyler Mousaw has an unorthodox style that can put him in some uncomfortable positions.
On the flip side, Mousaw's style has led to some theatrical wins.
Thursday, on day one of the Class 3A PIAA tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Mousaw once again found a way to hit another milestone in dramatic fashion.
With a trip to the quarterfinals, as well as win No. 100 on the line, Mousaw escaped with a 5-4 decision over Harrisburg's Neamiah Diggs.
"It's great, but it was definitely nerve-racking," Mousaw said. "Knowing how important the match was and knowing I could also win my 100th, I was revved up, but I'm glad it worked out."
Mousaw (182 pounds) is one of six local quarterfinalists, being joined in 3A by West Chester Henderson's Sammy McMonagle (113) and Killian Delaney (120), Avon Grove's Nick Barnhart (145) and Downingtown West's Max Hale (170), as well as Church Farm's Sebastian Corrales (160) in 2A.
After giving up the initial takedown by Peters Township's Brandon Matthews in the pigtials, Mousaw scored the final nine to set up a rematch with Diggs, who Mousaw pinned to clinch a medal last season.
Diggs scored the first takedown, once again, and down 2-1 going into the second period, Mousaw took top and promptly scored three near-fall points to take the lead. Diggs took Mousaw down with 30 seconds to go in the third, cutting him right away. As time expired Diggs nearly scored the winning takedown, and despite the assistant referee's differing opinion, the head ref did not call two, putting Mousaw a win away from his second trip to the podium.
"(Diggs) only had one leg, so I couldn't say it was two," Mousaw of the close call.
Barnhart has a similar style to Mousaw's, feeling totally comfortable making up any deficiencies on his feet with a strong mat game. In Barnhart's opener, Seneca Valley's Antonio Amelio had an early 2-0 lead, but Barnhart scored a reversal and two back points and rode it to a 5-4 decision for his first win in Hershey in his second trip.
"I definitely want to get taken down, but I don't go into panic mode," Barnhart said. "I know there's still a lot of match left to wrestle."
The Henderson duo had little strife in the first round. McMonagle used a pair of takedowns to move into quarters with a 7-1 win over Meadville's Vince Rinella.
"I knew after the first takedown I could get to my shots," said McMonagle, who faces Franklin Regional's Finn Solomon next. "With that three-point lead I had going into the second, I felt really comfortable."
Delaney only needed a period and a half to dispense Mifflin County's Christian Fischer. After a reversal in the second, Delaney worked a half nelson in and finished him to set up a battle of returning top-three finishers with Nazareth's Sean Pierson.
"I knew I could take (Fischer) down all day," Delaney said. "That wasn't a problem. I knew he was good on top so I had to be patient on bottom. He got a little sloppy because he wasn't getting what he wanted and it was only a matter of time until I pinned him with that half. It was so tight the in the first but the timer saved him."
Hale began his quest to add to his medal collection and got all he could handle from Peters Township's Jeff Markert in a 3-2 win. Hale will face Mariana Bracetti's Angel Garcia, who knocked off returning state runner-up, Luke Nichter of Chambersburg.
"(Markert) came after me," Hale said. "No one here is bad. Everyone is working for a state title. I knew I had a target on my back and he went after it. I respect him for that."
In the morning session, Sebastian Corrales earned the first win at states for Church Farm, as a program. He pinned Conneaut's Peyton Hearn to punch his ticket to quarters.
"It means a lot because I've been trying to build this team for a long time," Corrales said. "I've been here six years and I had chances to go to a stronger team to build my wrestling career better, but I thought Church Farm was a nice place and has a great brotherhood. To prove myself at the state level feels amazing. I've been waiting my whole life for this and now I'm ready to get after the next one."
Downingtown East's Lukas Richie (132) was upset as as regional champ when he gave up a reversal in the final seconds to Nazareth's Drew Clearie. He, like the other survivors in the consolation bracket, needs to win two straight to place in the top eight.
The 2A quarterfinals and second round of consis begin at 9 a.m., Friday. That's followed by 3A at 2:15. The 2A semis and fourth and fifth round of consis will conclude Friday's action, starting at 7:30 p.m.