HERSHEY - The many autograph requests are still coming. The media mass wanting interviews from him has certainly grown over the years. And questions on what college program he wants to wrestle for are becoming more frequent. But Kennard-Dale junior Chance Marsteller handles it all in stride.
Perhaps that personality trait is one of the reasons why he got one of the loudest ovations Saturday night from the fans inside the crowded Giant Center in Hershey before his 160-pound championship match in the PIAA Class AAA tournament.
"I try to be a good sport about everything and I feel like that's what they like to see is good sportsmanship," Marsteller said of the crowd. "And they like someone who works hard and I feel like I work harder than anyone else out there."
Of course, the fans might also appreciate Marsteller's dominance so far. His 17-5 victory over Central Dauphin's Garrett Peppelman in the title bout Saturday gave Marsteller his third state gold medal. Marsteller improved his unblemished prep career record to 125-0 and later was named the PIAA Most Outstanding Wrestler for the second year in a row.
He earned the latter honor by beating Peppelman more convincingly than he did two weeks ago in the District 3-AAA championship, where Marsteller won, 7-2.
"This match was definitely a lot different," Marsteller said. GarrettI came out being more aggressive than usual. This time I wasn't looking to ride. I was looking to break him. That's the gameplan."
TITLE BOUT: The grapplers locked up while on their feet in the first 30 seconds. After a quick reset, Peppelman seemed to gain his only advantage of the match when he grabbed Marsteller's right leg and attempted a takedown.
But Marsteller avoided trouble by working his way out of bounds.. And in the final 20 seconds of the first period, Marsteller hip-tossed Peppelman to the mat for a takedown and scored two back points. Marsteller might have gotten a pin if had he more time before the first buzzer sounded. From there, Marsteller put on a show for the crowd en route to his third state gold medal.
"It hasn't really hit me yet. As soon as I get back and get some Mountain Dew Voltage I'll be good," Marsteller said. "As soon as I go get four, five, six of them then it might start hitting me."
Solanco junior Thomas Haines (220 pounds) also won his third state gold medal Saturday. Haines and Marsteller became the 18th and 19th grapplers in PIAA history to win three Class AAA state titles. Should both of them make it back to the state tournament next year as seniors, they would have a shot at a fourth PIAA gold medal, something that has only been accomplished by 10 other grapplers in the tournament's 76-year history.
Marsteller's performance capped off what he described as the most eventual season he's had to this point. Back in December at the prestigious Powerade Tournament, Marsteller beat Canon-McMillan's Cody Wiercioch, 3-2, in overtime. Wiercioch (170) won his second PIAA gold medal Saturday. And Marsteller now owns two victories over Peppelman, last year's 152-pound state champ.
"I'd say it's been a lot of wrestling against a lot of high-caliber kids," Marsteller said. "It's been pretty tough but it's always rewarding at the end."
SUCCESSFUL DAY: Marsteller wasn't the only good story to come out of York County at the state tournament. Central York freshman Dylan Chatterton (106) won his fifth-place bout, 2-1, over Central Dauphin's Zach Elvin. Chatterton took the lead by scoring a reversal at the start of the third period. He then hung on for the win by riding Elvin the rest of the way.
"It's always nice, especially to go states and win your first match and win your last match," Chatterton said. "That's one of the goals I've always had. Win your first and last match. And that's what I did."
Dallastown junior Rodney Sunday (126) followed by winning his fifth-place bout, 9-4, over Nazareth's Chase Zemenak. It gave Sunday career win No. 101 and avenged his loss to Zemenak in the Nazareth Invitational championship at the beginning of the season.
"The whole tournament he won a lot of close matches," Dallastown coach Matt Striebig said. "I just felt like the whole tournament he was doing what I said, just really on his game."
Spring Grove junior Mason Bentzel (145) took seventh place by beating Crestwood's Matt Hammerstone, 3-2. Eastern York senior Alex Cooley (195) lost to Big Spring's Tommy Rayhart, 7-6, to place eighth.
CLASS AA: In Class AA, Bermudian Springs' junior Tristan Sponseller (170) took home silver. Hanover junior Ian Brown (132) and Biglerville senior Trevor Stover (285) won bronze. And Bermudian Springs' sophomore Briton Shelton (145) and Biglerville senior Josh Asper (170) each placed eighth.
Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.