Two years ago, Council Rock North's Cam Robinson made it to the PIAA Class 3A state wrestling tournament as a freshman, but did not come home with a medal.
A year ago, he made another trip and ended up placing fifth.
This time around, with even higher expectations, Robinson reached the 145-pound final before being edged by Bethlehem Catholic senior Ryan Anderson 3-2 in an entertaining matchup.
"I learned that I have to work harder if I want to win it all, that's what it comes down to," Robinson said. "I knew if I got to the final he would be there and you have to give him credit, he's really tough."
Anderson, an Iowa State University-commit, is the consensus No. 1 wrestler in the country at 145 and the state championship was his second straight. He also defeated Robinson (9-3) in the finals of the Escape The Rock Tournament in January.
"The score was closer this time, but he has really good defense," Robinson said. "It's hard to get through it."
Anderson used a slick first-period firemen's carry to record the only takedown of the match.
"That was a nice move," Robinson said. "Wrestling guys like him can only help you get better. He's the top kid in the country and you learn from matches like that.
"I'll take a little break now and then start working to get back here next year"
On the mat next to the Robinson/Anderson final, William Tennent junior A.J. Tamburrino, in his first appearance at states, scored a 3-1 sudden victory triumph over Northampton's Jagger Condomitti to finish in third place at 145.
"My goal all season was to get in the top three at states," said Tamburrino, who lost to Robinson in both the District One-East and Southeast Regional finals. "This feels really good. You have to do whatever it takes to win and that's what I tried to do.
'This gives me a ton of confidence for next year."
Souderton's Tyler Williams, sixth here a year ago, picked up a third-place medal with a 5-3 win in his consolation final.
"After I lost in the semis I knew I had to bounce back," said Williams, a Drexel University-commit. "I've been working my whole life to get here and I didn't want to lose my last match at the state tournament."
This was the third trip to Hershey for Williams (he missed his sophomore season due to injury) and his win in the bout for third gave him 101 career victories.
"I was envisioning wrestling in the finals," Williams said. "And it's hard to come back after that doesn't happen, but I just had to keep pushing as hard as I could."
Council Rock North's Kyle Hauserman (106), who lost his opener on Thursday and then won five-straight matches, started things off by placing third at 106. He defeated Cedar Cliff's Aiden Lewis 6-2 to capture the bronze medal.
"After I lost my first match I had to shrug it off and set a new goal," said Hauserman, a sophomore, who qualified for states a year ago but did not place.
"I knew that I had more to give and I didn't want one match to ruin the whole season. Now, I'm ready to get back to work for next year."
Council Rock South's Kyle Waterman (106), a junior, picked up his second state medal by placing sixth. A year ago, he was fifth at the same weight.
Waterman's teammate, senior Max Mendez (113), placed eighth, earning his first state medal after reaching Hershey in each of the last three seasons.
Another Golden Hawk senior, Braden Ricchini (126), ended his season in style by winning his match for seventh place by fall (2:45) over Liberty's Mike Torres. It was also the first state medal for Ricchini.
"It's crazy," Ricchini said. "I'll never wrestle again and to end it like that was great. This was my first time at states and I wrestled some tough matches.
"To get on the podium is really a great feeling."
In perhaps the most ironic medal match, Council Rock South senior Shane Hanson-Ashworth defeated Council Rock North junior Luke Lucerne 3-1 in overtime to place third.
"To wrestle Luke up here in my final high school match was something," said Hanson-Ashworth, who also earned his first state medal. "Everybody was talking about how good the wrestlers from the Northeast Region were, but Luke and did really well.
"I just tried to enjoy my last match. I had broken my nose in the consy semis, and it was hard to breathe, but you just work through it. The whole tournament I just tried to keep attacking and scoring and it worked out pretty well for me."
In Class 2A, Palisades senior Nate Haubert (145) became the first Pirate to win three state medals as he placed seventh on Saturday thanks to a 2-1 decision over Saucon Valley's Nick Rosengrant.
"It's a nice accomplishment, but I was hoping to do better," Haubert said. "I really wanted to defend my title."
Haubert was fourth as a sophomore, won a state title a year ago, and had the seventh-place finish this time around.
The Lehigh University-commit missed most of the regular season due to a knee injury before returning in early February. He finished 17-4 this season and 116-16 for his career.
"I did the best I could," Haubert said. "It was hard coming back from the injury, but I never thought about not wrestling this season. My goal was to always come back and wrestle and I'm glad that I was able to do that. Now, I'm just going to look toward the future and get ready for Lehigh."
Council Rock South head coach Brad Silimperi, who brought a state-best nine wrestlers here, was honored before the finals as the Class 3A Coach of the year.
Former North Penn wrestler Kyle Berger, who won a Southeast Regional title as a senior in 1999, was the head official for the 126-pound final. Berger has now been a part of the state championships as a competitor, a North Penn assistant coach, a broadcaster and now as an official. Not sure how many folks can match that.