HERSHEY — Cumberland Valley junior Jake Lucas didn’t face too many challenges during the 2019-20 wrestling season.
And while he knew he had weaknesses to improve, Saturday’s losses in the PIAA Class 3A Individual Wrestling Championships semifinals and third-place bout drove home that fact quite clearly.
Lucas lost 7-6 to Bethel Park’s Luke Montgomery in the ultimate tiebreaker. Hours later with a chance at bronze, he lost again 4-2 to Sun Valley’s Ryan Catka, who earned an escape and takedown in the second tiebreaker period.
“You know, it kind of sucks because it seems like I did everything right,” Lucas said. “But, you know, I think wrestling’s one of the few sports where you don’t always get out what you put in. I think that was very clear — you could see that very cut and clear, you know? I was so close but yet so far. But I’m not going to make excuses. I know I what I need to work on now, get back in the room here in a couple weeks and starting gearing for our preseason and getting ready for next season.”
But the losses could be learning experiences. He wasn’t challenged much all year, coming into states with just one loss. Two defeats to close the season changed the tenor of an otherwise stellar campaign, something he could build on for his senior season.
“Yeah, for sure,” Lucas said. “It was kind of like a thing. Not that I didn’t know I needed to work on [stuff], but I feel like today my opponents really exploited what I need to work on. And I’m really grateful for that so I can keep working in the room, keep improving on what I need to.”
Fourth-place is Lucas’s best finish at the state level after making his first appearance a year ago.
Mount Lebanon’s Luke Stout dominated the bracket, concluding with 195 gold following a 12-1 major decision over Montgomery.
A pair of local sevenths
Another Eagle, senior Ben Monn concluded his varsity career with a commanding 8-0 major over Central Mountain’s Derek Keen. It was a bit of a disappointing finish for a wrestler who came in with two state sixth-place finishes and was contender for 113 gold before Hempfield Area’s Ethan Berginc upset him 3-2 in the first round Thursday.
And Red Land’s Bryce Brennan concluded his career with a 3-1 decision victory at 132 for seventh, a one-spot improvement over his eighth-place medal as a junior. Brennan beat Central York’s Mason Myers to capped his third and final trip to states.
The Sentinel area sent 11 wrestlers to the Class 3A state championships. Five won medals.
Email Jake Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520