READING — Over the course of four years, Austin Taylor had slowly moved up the podium at the regional championships. In his final trip, he had in mind only one spot.
The Boiling Springs senior made the last of his four appearances at the PIAA Class 2A Southeast Regional Individual Wrestling Championships a memorable one Saturday, as he gained the gold that had been just out of his grasp in his prior tournaments.
Taylor left nothing to chance in the 220-pound title match, rolling up Nasir Pettus of Bishop McDevitt (District 12) in a first-period cradle to claim an emphatic win by fall in 52 seconds.
“I came in ready to wrestle,” Taylor said. “I was focused. I wanted it really bad. I was a freshman going two-and-out, then my senior year I wanted to win it. I wanted to win sectionals, districts, regionals. Really, [after] sectionals, until my senior year I wasn’t really winning many tournaments in high school. I was always falling one short.”
Taylor’s focus was due in part to his experience a year earlier at regionals, when a lapse just before the regulation buzzer allowed Upper Dauphin’s Donny Gelnett to score a late takedown in the duo’s matchup at 195.
Taylor avoided any such situations this year, earning bonus points in each of his three victories.
“It’s all the hard work you put in and everything you’ve gone through,” Taylor said. “Even before the matches, that’s always in the back of your head. I’m not one to get nervous, but sometimes I’m like, ‘Don’t let that happen again.’ You’re thinking about, so it feels pretty good to go out there and get it done quick. I saw the opportunity and I just took it.”
Taylor had finished fourth at 195 as a sophomore and third at the same weight as a junior.
A first for Colestock, Lions
Luca Colestock was thinking about personal history when he took the mat against Hamburg’s Reese Mason in the 182-pound final. He ended up not only with a milestone for himself, but also for his school.
The Camp Hill senior flipped the script from his District 3 meeting against Mason, scoring an 8-5 victory that gave him his regional crown. It also made him the first regional champion in school history.
“I think it’s cool,” Colestock said. “I’m a big stats guy, so I think it’s kind of fun and exciting. I’m happy about it.”
Mason had gotten the better of Colestock in the district championship match, claiming a 9-3 decision.
This time Colestock was the aggressor from the start, shooting quickly after the opening whistle and gaining the first takedown. He added another later in the first period, establishing a lead that he would not relinquish.
“Last week, it was a closer match than the score said, or I feel it was,” Colestock said. “He caught me in something. This week I kept positioning, kind of just going fast and picking up the pace. If I could pick my pace up I could beat him.”
Colestock had reached the final with another tight matchup against old rival Matt Lewandowski of Mahanoy. The two had split a pair of wild, back-and-forth matches in last season’s regional tournament, and this time Colestock claimed an 8-5 win after the duo had been tied 5-5 entering the third.
DeMark now the veteran
Patrick DeMark’s postseason crash course came a year ago, when the then-freshman was thrown into the fire against some of the state’s best. It didn’t take long for him to start applying those lessons learned.
The Trinity sophomore continued his strong postseason Saturday, adding a regional crown at 106 pounds to go with the sectional and district titles he had already collected this year.
The next stop is the state tournament, which will be his second; he competed at Giant Center in Class 3A last season as a Cumberland Valley freshman, coming within one victory of a medal.
“It prepared me to do what I needed to do this weekend and at districts,” DeMark said. “I feel like a veteran compared to last year. I went to states, and I was happy with that. That was my goal. I wrestled a couple of tough people there. I know what to expect this year.”
DeMark claimed gold in the same manner as he did at the District 3 Championships, with a victory over Biglerville sophomore Blake Showers.
DeMark was on the attack from the start, connecting on a quick shot and piling up a 7-1 lead after the first period. Showers could never generate offense against DeMark, whose height has consistently given other 106-pounders fits.
“It forces other wrestlers to get long,” DeMark said. “There’s two options with my style of wrestling. I either get long and I open that little guy up so he’s extended, or I go short and drop to a knee and ankle-pick and stuff like that. With Blake, I just dropped to a knee and I ankle-picked him. I kept him contained and I was on my toes.”
Silver for Myers
A regional championship eluded Boiling Springs junior Kollin Myers, the third time the Bubbler standout has come close to landing one of the few pieces of hardware he doesn’t possess.
Myers finished second at 145 after dropping a 5-2 decision to the state’s top-ranked wrestler, Palisades junior Nathan Haubert. Takedowns in the first and third periods did the trick for Haubert, but the tightness of the match gave Myers some guidance ahead of the state tournament.
“He’s really strong, I can tell you that,” Myers said. “For me not cutting much weight coming in, I knew that was going to be a struggle. I knew I had to get in deep on those shots or else I wasn’t going to finish. I feel like I got in pretty deep on a couple of my shots, but I still couldn’t get it done. I’ll work on that this week, beginning of next week, and we’ll see what happens.”
READING — Boiling Springs' Zach Martin was out of breath as he leaned over one of the foldin…
Haubert had knocked off the other District 3 finalist, Pequea Valley’s Gabe Miller, in his semifinal. A nifty scramble earned him the opening takedown against Myers, and he sealed the victory by staying on the offensive and securing another takedown with just over 20 seconds remaining.
Headed for Hershey
A quartet of other area wrestlers earned state berths with top-six podium finishes. Boiling Springs juniors Damon James (fourth, 285) and Jack Coulston (fifth, 132), Bubbler senior Zach Martin (sixth, 160) and Trinity freshman Colton Zimmerman (sixth, 138) will all be making their first state tournament appearances.