WHITFIELD — Boiling Springs’ wrestling season has been full of twists and turns, a campaign defined in large part by the litany of injuries endured by almost the entire Bubbler lineup.
With that in mind, it was almost with a sense of relief that a trio of Boiling Springs wrestlers secured state tournament bids Saturday at the PIAA Class 2A Southeast Regional Wrestling Championships at Wilson High School.
The Bubblers’ Kollin Myers (third, 126), Cameron Palmer (fifth, 145) and Austin Taylor (third, 195) all ended the regional tournament with wins, and their two-day effort earned them a return trip to Hershey’s Giant Center and wrote a sweeter ending to an at-times trying campaign.
“After I punched my ticket Friday I was really happy with myself,” Myers said. “I wanted to be in the finals and have another shot against (Bermudian’s Austin) Clabaugh, but it just didn’t happen. I didn’t wrestle my best in the semifinals. I don’t go out as I wanted to, but sitting at third place isn’t that bad.”
Myers had a grinder of a bracket, drawing a semifinal matchup with Pequea Valley’s one-loss Tanner Ball. That proved a tough matchup for the Bubblers sophomore, who dropped an 11-6 decision to Ball. He rallied from there with a 9-2 victory over Notre Dame Green Pond’s Nick Vonelli and a forfeit to take third.
Myers’ recent duels with Clabaugh and Ball also prepped him for next week.
“I just need to get more at it,” Myers said. “My intensity needs to go up. I need to work on getting off the bottom, because I feel pretty tough on top. It’s just overall intensity.”
Taylor is also making his second trip to states, having improved on his fourth-place regional finish last year.
A mistake in the semifinals, in which he gave up a buzzer-beating takedown to Upper Dauphin’s Donny Gelnett to fall 3-2 didn’t sink the junior. Instead he rallied with two solid wins to take bronze and continue his recent upswing.
The first-timer among the trio was Palmer, who had come up one win short last season in his bid for states.
This time he reeled off back-to-back victories in the consy round to secure his berth, the latter win a 4-0 victory over Bermudian’s Lucas Gladfelter that made Palmer’s trip to Hershey official.
“It’s a good feeling,” Palmer said. “I’m happy I got to stay healthy. Last year I wasn’t healthy, especially at the end. I’m excited that I finally got my chance to get there.”
Drawbaugh, Colestock take fourth
Colten Drawbaugh entered the regional championships carrying a disappointing history at the venue, with the Trinity senior having fallen short of a state bid in two previous trips.
Yet Drawbaugh also came into the weekend with a more optimistic recent history, one that included rallies in two different tournaments to claim third place after a quarterfinal loss.
Those two legacies collided Saturday, when Drawbaugh finally got over the regional hurdle by bouncing back from a quarterfinal defeat to claim fourth place at 182 pounds and advance to the PIAA Championships for the first time.
“In districts I lost in the quarters too and had to work back and grab third,” Drawbaugh said. “The Carlisle Christmas tournament, I lost in the quarters and had to come back and get third. It’s a familiar spot for me. I don’t like to be there, obviously, but I woke up today and I knew I had to make the best of what I had.”
Drawbaugh clinched his state berth in style, when he connected on a first-period spladle for a pin of Kutztown’s Logan Bachman in 43 seconds. That third consolation round was where Drawbaugh had seen his state bid end as a sophomore, and the quick stick gave him his redemption.
“When I was a sophomore I was in the blood round (third-round consys) and I got stuck,” Drawbaugh said. “It’s good to be able and come back and get my final goal of the season, which was to get to states.”
A fourth-place finish also went to Camp Hill’s Luca Colestock, who took the honor at 170.
A semifinal loss to Littlestown’s Carl Harris — who also topped Colestock at districts — dropped Colestock to the consies, where his matches didn’t lack for entertainment value. He claimed an 8-7 win over Tri Valley’s Dawson Schwalm, and then fell 7-6 in a rematch with Mahanoy’s Matt Lewandowski in the third-place match.