HERSHEY — The PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships didn’t treat Kollin Myers very well on Day 2. The Boiling Springs sophomore made sure on Day 3 that he wasn’t leaving the tournament without having the final say.
Myers ended his second trip to states on a promising note, as he put together perhaps his best bout of the Class 2A tournament in nabbing a 7-0 victory over Quaker Valley’s John Rocco Kazalas in the fifth-place bout in the 126-pound bracket.
The effort by Myers marked an impressive turnaround from Friday night, when he was bounced from the championship bracket by a technical fall loss to eventual champ Gavin Teasdale, and took an 11-0 drubbing from Line Mountain’s Brian Earlston in a fifth-round consolation match.
“It definitely helped me having a night to sleep on it,” Myers said. “I was really ticked off after that last match I lost (to Earlston). It beat me up pretty bad afterwards. I needed to keep my mind off those last two losses. I came back fresh for the fifth- and sixth-place match, and I think I wrestled pretty well. It was one of my best matches of this tournament by far.”
Myers racked up takedowns in all three periods against Kazaras, controlling the action both from neutral and on the mat.
The performance sends the two-time medalist into the offseason with plenty of optimism, something that elusive at times in a year that saw him make the jump from 113 to 126. He wrestled both state finalists at the weight during the 2017 postseason, having lost to Bermudian Springs’ Austin Clabaugh in the District 3 finals.
“It’s obviously a completely different ballgame from 113 to 126,” Myers said. “I feel like I need to work on my strength for next year and just keep up the technique that I have been having. I could get away with some stuff at 113 that I didn’t at this weight. That’s something I’ve learned this year. The kids are a lot stronger. It’s from boys to men.”
Familiar spot for Olson
Over the past four years, no matter what has happened at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, one thing has been certain: Chandler Olson was going to somehow, some way end up on the medal stand.
There may have been reason to doubt that idea in this year’s tournament, when Olson was dealt a first-round loss for the first time in four trips to Hershey’s Giant Center.
Yet by the time things concluded Saturday, the Shippensburg senior was right back in his customary spot thanks to five consolation bracket victories, the final of which was an 8-1 win over Kiski Area’s Noah Levett in the Class 3A fifth-place match at 126 pounds.
Olson’s fifth-place spot goes with podium finishes in his freshman (eighth), sophomore (sixth) and junior (fourth) campaigns to make him the first four-time medal winner in Shippensburg history.
“After that first loss it was really tough,” Olson said. “I had never lost in the first round, and after dropping down into that consy pigtail match you have a long way to go. I wanted to get back on the podium, I wanted to get as high up there as I could, so you just get over it. It just added some motivation over the next couple matches to wrestle hard.”
The only hiccup in Olson’s comeback was another loss to Anderson, who had dropped into the fifth-round consolations after dropping a semifinal decision to eventual runner-up Spencer Lee.
Olson went right back to work after that loss, though, rolling up two second period takedowns and a set of nearfall points to break open his match against Levett.
“I tried to wrestle loose and relaxed,” Olson said. “I think I wrestle my best when I do that. I was opening up and was able to generate offense and score some points.”
Olson’s last three medal finishes have come at 126 pounds. He made the podium at 120 pounds as a freshman.
Podium finishes for Duggan, Wills, Long
Cedar Cliff junior Francis Duggan achieved a career-best podium finish, taking fifth place at 220 in Class 3A to go with his sixth-place finish as a freshman and seventh-place finish as a sophomore.
Duggan had been knocked into the fifth-place bout after being pinned late in his fifth-round consolation bout against Council Rock South’s Joe Doyle, but he came back from the session break with a vengeance. He took a quick shot on Shaler’s Ron D’Amico, connected, and wrapped up the pin in all of 35 seconds to claim fifth place.
Mechanicsburg’s Brayden Wills and Cumberland Valley’s Wyatt Long both ended their senior campaigns with their first career trips to the state medal stand, with Wills claiming seventh at 152 and Long taking eighth at 132 in Class 3A.
Wills was able to close his scholastic career with a victory.
He notched an early first period takedown against General McLane’s Owen Watkins, and then made it stand up in a 2-1 win. It was a nice comeback from the morning’s fourth-round consolation bout, when impressive Canon-McMillan freshman Gerrit Nijenhuis took a 7-1 win against the Mechanicsburg senior.
Long fell in a pair of narrow decisions in the fourth round consolation and the seventh-place bout.
Bethlehem Catholic’s Jarred Papscy took a 3-2 win over the CV senior in the fourth round consolations, and McDowell’s Leo Ciotti took a 4-2 win for seventh, Long’s second sudden victory bout of the tournament.