That’s as simple and as accurate a description of Saturday’s marquee attraction in the high school wrestling world.
Kennard-Dale’s Chance Marsteller and Canon-McMillan’s Cody Wiercioch met in the 170-pound final of the Powerade Christmas Tournament, and the match of the year — or decade, or century — lived up to its billing, and then some, as Marsteller came out with a 3-2 victory in the ultimate tiebreaker.
First, a little bit of background.
A junior, Marsteller is still undefeated (95-0) in his high school career, which has seen him capture two consecutive PIAA state titles. He is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 170, as well as the No. 1 “pound for pound” wrestler in the country by Flo Wrestling.
Wiercioch, a senior, is right behind him, with a 139-5 career record and two state titles. He is ranked No. 2 in the country at 170, and Flo Wrestling names him the No. 9 “pound for pound” wrestler in the nation.
Ever since the brackets were released with the two at the same weight, it was a must-see match. And by no surprise, the officials at Canon-Mac had it end the two-day festivities as the final bout of the evening.
There were plenty of cheers, and surprisingly no boos, despite the Big Macs’ Wiercioch having the home-mat advantage.
And even though the final score — 3-2 by virtue of five combined escapes — is often a teller of a boring, defensive match, this one did not lack in excitement.
Both grapplers took multiple shots each period, with both getting ever so close to capturing what would have likely been a match-winning takedown. Marsteller stifled every shot thrown at him through the first two periods, but Wiercioch began to break down his defense in the third.
The home fans thought Wiercioch had his takedown midway through the third when he rolled through near the edge and got Marsteller’s left leg. He couldn’t grab the right through, and Marsteller snuck out to keep it even.
After a sudden victory period — with even more action from neutral — both wrestlers made quick escapes in the rideout periods to force the most anticlimactic ending, when Marseller won the ensuing flip and was able to choose down in the ultimate tiebreaker, getting out in three seconds to seal the win.
Not sure what is a better way of solving the issue, but leaving it up to what is essentially a coin flip when neither wrestler can hold the other down isn’t the best.
And here’s hoping to a rematch down the road. If Marsteller winds up undefeated for his career, this will be the one that people look back on as a what if.