HERSHEY — After what seemed like three hours of warming up, Cedar Cliff’s Francis Duggan took the mat against undefeated Jesse Enck of Daniel Boone.
A gold medal was on the line under the bright lights of Hershey’s Giant Center in the District 3 Class 3A 220 finals Saturday and Duggan did one last thing before he shook Enck’s hand: smack himself in the face.
Multiple times. Audibly hard.
There’s a reason for the madness according to Duggan — for both the face smacking and warming up for such a long time. He wanted to get rid of the nerves.
“I definitely had a lot of nerves — for the whole thing, not just this match,” Duggan said. “There was something different about this match. I’ll be a lot better when states rolls around.”
Nerves aside, the junior was coming into the match having never won a district title. As a freshman with Cumberland Valley, Duggan took second at 195 and then finished third a year later with North Allegheny in the WPIAL.
He finally got it, winning 6-4 with a second-period takedown, staying on his feet and wrestling smart to snag the elusive medal.
“I wrestled cautious, but I just wrestled,” Duggan said. “(Going into states now) I want to just go for it. Just go for it.”
Thirty seconds into the first period Duggan settled in, notching a takedown to take the early lead.
After Enck notched a couple escapes and Duggan registered another takedown, the second period began with Duggan up 4-2. Duggan got one more takedown in the second period and that was all he needed to win the match 6-4.
“I knew I had more experience than him with the tournaments I’ve wrestled and the kids I’ve wrestled,” Duggan said. “He’s a good wrestler — he’s tough, but I knew going in I had the upper edge with the competition I’ve been having.”
Along with Duggan’s gold, the rest of the Colts didn’t walk away from the tournament disappointed — they won the team title with a total of 109.5 points, edging Exeter Twp. (105).
At 113, J.J. Wilson roughed up Spring Grove’s Dalton Rohrbaugh 7-4 for a district title, Emorson Wentz (182) walked away with bronze, Josh McLaughlin (126) — who also got his 100th win on Day 2 in the semifinals — got fourth, Donovon Ball (170) got fifth and Cole Baer (106) wrapped up the day with a sixth-place finish.
“The kids wrestled hard, I can’t say enough good things about them,” Colts head coach Rob Rapsey said. “We’ll work on things even if we won or lost — that’s kind of been our approach to wrestling. I’m real happy for them. It’s awesome.”
The rest of the Class 3A roundup had a positive day locally, as well. For Cumberland Valley, which took team third with 100 points, Wyatt Long (132) grabbed his first district title, Cal Reichart (145) and Will Kaldes (152) claimed silver, Quentin Milliken (160) got bronze and Patrick DeMark (106) finished fourth.
For Big Spring (fourth with 76 points), Tucker Brough (145) grabbed a district title after beating best friend Reichart, Blake Barrick (195) also got a district title and Britain Shields (170) nabbed fourth.
Shippensburg’s Chandler Olson (126) got silver along with Cameron Tinner at 285 and Cole Forrester (195) got fourth. Northern’s Jake Koser (195) and Micah Hoffman (138) both finished third, while Paul Feite (145) finished sixth.
Mechanicsburg’s Brayden Wills (152) grabbed a gold medal, while Carlisle’s Rafael Portilla finished the day with bronze. Red Land’s Austin Rowzer (126) got fifth and East Pennsboro’s Matthew Danner (152) also got fifth.