INDIANA — Three area wrestlers won PIAA Class AA Southwestern Regional Individual Championships on Saturday at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Ed Fry Arena inside the Kovalchick Convention & Athletic Complex.
Eight other locals qualified for the state tournament on March 8-10 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Jefferson-Morgan’s Gavin Teasdale won his fourth regional title with an 11-4 decision over Derry Area’s Shawn Broadway in the finals at 126. He assured himself his fourth berth in the state tournament with a 19-4 technical fall in 4:40 over McGuffey’s Jett Pattison in the quarterfinals. The senior and Penn State University recruit improved his season record to 36-2, and his career record to 158-2, which surpassed former teammate Brendan Howard for the most victories in program history.
“I really don’t think much about winning four regional titles,” Teasdale said. “I know that if I wrestle the best that I can, the championships will come.
“I don’t think much about having the most career wins at Jefferson-Morgan because (Cary) Kolat was 137-0, and you can’t beat that. Brendan (Howard) is now wrestling at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and I am very happy for him.”
Teasdale used a variety of takedowns and tilts to pick up points against Pattison. He has worked this season to go for more turns to rack up near-fall points than taking down his opponents and letting them up.
“I am just working on riding guys and getting turns when I need them,” Teasdale said. “In college, you need to be tough on top if you want to be a national champion. I know that I always have takedowns in my back pocket.”
Teasdale opened up action in the first round with a fall in 2:39 over Westmont Hilltop’s Connor Polacek.
Bentworth’s Jon Vargo (30-6) won his first WPIAL title last Saturday, and continued his hot streak by earning his first regional title and a trip to the state tournament with a 5-2 decision over West Branch’s Kyle Myers at 188. He picked up a 10-6 decision over Marion Center’s Carmen Gett in the quarterfinals.
“I like hitting the dump and using my turks to turn my opponents,” Vargo said. “I really don’t know much about my opponent (Crouse), but I am just going to go out and wrestle my hardest. I will still be a little nervous even though I have already qualified for states. It is a dream come true to go to states.”
Vargo pinned Mount Union’s Tucker Helfrick at 3:14 in the first round.
Mount Pleasant’s Al Miscovich (40-8) earned his second trip to the state tournament and his first regional title in a 6-3 decision over Ellwood City’s Donavin Chambers at 126. He advanced to states following a 3-1 decision over Berlin-Brothersvalley’s Bryce Belcher in the quarterfinals.
Miscovich opened up the tournament with a 7-0 decision over Penns Valley’s Clayton Royer.
“I had to wrestle back to make it to the state tournament when I was a sophomore, so this is a lot less stressful for me to already know going into tomorrow that I have qualified for states,” Miscovich said. “I really don’t think my mindset wasn’t 100 percent going into this tournament last year. I really would like to place in the top five in the state. Getting back to states was a goal of mine coming into the season.”
Miscovich is headed to University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown to wrestle in college.
Southmoreland’s Tyler Griffiths (22-6) clinched his fourth berth in the state tournament following a 6-4 overtime decision over Berlin-Brothersvalley’s Austin Lee in the quarterfinals at 145. He lost in the semifinals but wrestled back for third place.
“The name of the game at this point is to win and advance,” Griffiths said. “It wouldn’t matter if I pinned him, or won 1-0 or in overtime because I still won.
“I probably should have kept going after my takedowns. I was stalling a little bit so I don’t think it was a bad call. I am excited to go back to states and I want to win a state title.”
Griffiths, who was runner-up in last year’s state tournament.
Griffiths pinned Claysburg Kimmel’s Cade Keithley in 3:26 in the first round.
Frazier sophomore Thayne Lawrence (26-2) dominated his first two opponents to qualify for the state tournament for the second time in as many years. He won his semifinal bout before falling in the finals.
Lawrence pinned Westmont Hilltop’s Hudson Holbay (5:47) in the first round before planking St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Keegan Rothrock (5:45) in the quarterfinals.
“I think I wrestled pretty well today,” Lawrence said. “I got a good warm-up and was able to get my takedowns and turns.”
He hopes to improve on his third-place finish at the state tournament.
West Greene coach Garett Johnston has done his best this season to put a team out on the mat, but Connor Main (32-9) made all those tough times worth it by qualifying for his first state tournament following a 7-0 decision over Glendale’s Cory Johnston at 220. He defeated Forest Hills’ Eric Elgin, 8-3, in the first round. Main lost in the semifinals, but wrestled back to finish fifth.
“I think I could have wrestled better in my first match,” Main said. “I took some bad shots and he almost got me in a headlock. I was so pumped and ready to go in my second match to be able to qualify for states. It is a great feeling to know that I will be able to represent myself and my school at states.
“In regards to our team not having a lot of wrestlers, at least we have four guys. They are all freshmen, and they put everything they have into it. I also work out with Coach Johnston. He is a great practice partner.”
Southmoreland’s Jaden Datz (29-5) will make his first trip to Hershey in two weeks after earning a 7-2 decision over Penns Valley’s Carter Felker at 170. The Scottie senior lost in the semifinals but wrestled back for the bronze in avenging his loss in the WPIAL finals to McGuffey’s Christian Clutter.
Datz edged Bishop McCort’s Ethan Marcozzi, 3-1, in the first round.
Elizabeth Forward’s Ryan Michaels (33-4) qualified for the state tournament with a fall in 5:59 over St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Amonn Ohl in the quarterfinals at 106. Michaels lost in the semifinals and third-place bout, but still finished fourth.
“He (Ohl) was real funky when I was on top and tried to go for my head,” Michaels said. “It feels good to beat him after losing to him earlier. Coach just told me to keep wrestling the way I have been, stay aggressive and don’t get flustered. I am glad to qualify for states, and today I was a little bit nervous.”
Michaels, a sophomore, is making his first trip to the state tournament.
The Bearcats’ Manny Dovshek (25-8) edged Freedom Area’s Kenny Duschek, 3-2, to finish fifth at 120 and qualify for the state tournament for the third time.
The Vikings’ Cody Vokes (36-7) placed fifth at 285 after downing Southern Huntingdon’s Kole Winfield, 2-1, to advance to the state tournament.
Southmoreland’s Ryan Mauro (16-11) will make his second trip to Hershey after finishing sixth at 220.