HERSHEY - Two area wrestlers, Faith Christian's Eric Alderfer and Hatboro-Horsham's AJ Tamburrino, came home from the PIAA Wrestling Championships with medals. It was the second straight year Tamburrino left the Giant Center with hardware, but for Alderfer, it was not only the first medal for him, it was the first-ever medal earned by a Faith Christian wrestler.
"There is no downplaying what this means for a program," said Faith coach Ben Clymer. "There are younger guys in our program that are going to see what Eric has done and want to elevate their wrestling to do the same. And for Eric, I know that he will just work even harder to keep climbing the ladder."
Alderfer reached the quarterfinal round, where he dropped a match to eventual fourth-place finisher Logan Jaquay from Eisenhower. Alderfer wound up with an eighth-place finish.
"It's pretty cool knowing that I'm making history," said Alderfer, just a sophomore. "But I know I could've done better, so I'm going to have to work twice as hard to be on the top next year."
Tamburrino had to take the hard route to a medal, having lost his first match of the tournament, a razor close 3-1 decision to Bethlehem Catholic's Matt Lackman.
"You come here wanting to be a state champion," said Tamburrino. "So it isn't easy when you lose your first match. You just have to get your head together and try to get the best finish you can."
Tamburrino clinched a medal with three straight victories-a 5-0 win over Council Rock South's Joe Martsinovsky; a 13-2 major decision over Southwestern's Ethan Baney, and a third period fall over Nazareth's Nathan Stefanik.
The three match win streak earned Tamburrino a rematch with Spring-Ford's Jack McGill, who upset the Hatters senior in the Southeast regional semis a week prior. Tied 3-3 late in the match, Tamburrino scored an escape and a takedown for the 6-3 decision.
"It is definitely nice to change the result from last week," said Tamburrino, headed to the US Naval Academy next season to serve his country as well as continue his academic and wrestling careers. "This is my senior year, and if I can't be the state champion, I want to be able to finish as high as I can."
The consolation semis presented another re-match, this time against the guy who beat Tamburrino in the first-round, Lackman. Once again, Lackman wound up on top, with a 3-2 decision on a last second score, but Tamburrino rebounded for a fifth place finish with a 5-2 victory over Erie Cathedral Prep's Marques McLorin.