HERSHEY — The 106-pound field in the District 3 Class 3A Individual Wrestling Championships has something in common: every wrestler in the semifinals is from the Section III field that competed one week ago.
They all also have another thing in common. Not one of them has been to states.
Cumberland Valley’s Ben Monn, Cedar Cliff’s Aiden Lewis, Northern’s Liam Strouse and East Pennsboro’s Adam Jacob all advanced to Friday’s semifinal round at Giant Center after a successful first day Thursday.
It’s the exact same matchups as the District 3 Class 3A Section III tournament at Mechanicsburg last week. Monn will face off against Strouse, while Lewis battles Jacob.
Jacob has one thing the others don’t right now: the sectional title.
The sophomore beat that final four for his first postseason gold, and he’s bringing that momentum with him through districts.
“I had a lot of pressure at sectionals, so I kind of felt a lot of pressure the day before [districts],” Jacob said. “I’m just trusting the process.”
Jacob started off the day with a technical fall in 5:56 against Reading’s Esteven Muniz and dropped Central Dauphin’s Josh Miller 9-4 in the quarterfinals. So far, Jacob is happy with what he’s seen from himself.
Though there are a few things tweaks to be made.
“My first two matches, I think they went pretty good,” he said. “I mean, my first match, maybe I could have tech-falled him or pinned him faster. The last match I had, he definitely threw me off — he’s a real funky kid. You know, you’re technically skilled better than them, but they do have those couple of tricks up their sleeve.”
Friday’s opponent, Lewis, pinned both of his opponents through two rounds Thursday. He took down Governor Mifflin’s Jalon Lavine in 6:20 in the first round and then Manheim Twp.’s Micah Sams in 3:03 in the quarterfinals.
Monn flew past his first-round opponent, Garden Spot’s Mason Casey, with a technical fall, 15-0 in 4:45, and defeated Penn Manor’s Tanner Stefanick in an 11-0 major decision to move on. Strouse notched a 4-1 decision in the first round over Daniel Boone’s Canton Dolla and defeated Northeastern’s Thomas Gradwell in a close 8-7 decision in the quarterfinals.
Oh, the quartet has one more thing in common: they need one more win to punch their ticket to states.
“That’s crazy,” Jacob said with a big smile. “We saw how that bracket was the hardest in the district, so it’s really amazing to see that happen. All these kids are friends of mine. We all go to the wrestling club. I’ve been wrestling with Ben since like, second grade. That’s when it started out. Liam and I have known each other for years, he’s come to the club.
“It’s great to see all my friends and competitors that I normally catch here. It’s great.”
Other local semifinalists
Cedar Cliff’s JJ Wilson (120), Donovon Ball (182) and Michael Cassidy (132) have moved into the semifinals, along with Carlisle’s Rafael Portilla (120) and Colton Jumper (138). Cumberland Valley also saw Cade Reichart advance at 126.
Northern’s Jake Koser (195), Paul Feite (138) and Micah Hoffman (145) will join Strouse in the semifinals. Big Spring’s Blake Barrick (182) is the lone Bulldog in the semis, joining fellow solo representatives Shippensburg’s Cole Forrester (220) and West Perry’s Caden Morrison (160).