HERSHEY — A first-round loss in the District 3-AAA Wrestling Tournament two weeks ago was a bit unexpected for Spring Grove senior Mike Hartman.
The NCAA Division II Millersville recruit was back in the district tournament for the third-straight year. Although he had only made it out of the first round of districts once in the previous two years, Hartman entered this year's 145-pound district bracket as a likely contender for a gold or silver medal. But things didn't go as planned for Hartman two weeks ago at Hersheypark Arena, losing by a point to Middletown's Todd Houser.
Since then, however, Hartman hasn't lost, reeling off wins in the next five bouts to win a district bronze medal and qualify for the state tournament, where he also won in Thursday's opening round with a 7-3 victory over General McLane senior Deane Twitchell.
"It's a setback but I had to overcome that," Hartman said of his opening-round loss at districts two weeks ago. "For me to come back and get to states I had to get to the consy finals (at districts). I decided that I just (have) to win no matter what happens. I took that as mental preparation for the next step and just got ready. I came out even more (hungry). I wanted to win more. That's how it went."
It turned out to be a good day for all three of Spring Grove coach Tony Miller's guys Thursday in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Tournament at Hershey's Giant Center. Fellow Rocket seniors Zack Clingan (120 pounds), a District 3-AAA gold medalist, and Mason Bentzel (152), a district silver medalist, also won their opening-round bouts to move on to Friday's quarterfinal round.
"We've come in with three (Spring Grove wrestlers) before but we never won all three match-ups (the first day)," Miller said. "We're really gonna be working on (Friday) now. We're gonna get out of here and get some rest a little bit."
Three other York-Adams League wrestlers — South Western sophomore Owen Wherley (120), Dallastown senior Rodney Sunday (126) and Kennard-Dale senior Chance Marsteller (170) — won in Thursday's Class AAA opening round as well.
Wherley, a District 3-AAA bronze medalist, and Cathedral Prep senior Jake Gromacki went to three overtimes locked in a scoreless tie. Wherley finally won it by starting on top of Gromacki and rolling him over on his back to score three back points to win, 3-0.
Sunday, a district gold medalist, pinned Clearfield junior Noah Cline in 3:47.
In search of his fourth state gold medal, Marsteller began the tournament with a takedown and racked up four back points before pinning Dallas senior Connor Martinez in 1:23.
Consolations: After losing in the opening round, K-D sophomore Mike Bracey (113) and Dallastown senior Wes Hoover (138) each won in the first round of consolations Thursday night to keep their seasons alive and advance to the second round of consolations Friday.
The seasons of New Oxford freshman Zurich Storm (106), Central York sophomore Dylan Chatterton (113) and South Western sophomore Derek Wilson (113) all came to an end Thursday with losses in the opening round and consolations.
Storm, a District 3-AAA bronze medalist, finished with a 30-7 record. Chatterton, a two-time district bronze medalist who last year finished fifth at states at 106 pounds as a freshman, ended this season with a 29-5 individual record.
Wilson finished with a 23-7 record.
Class AA: In Class AA, Hanover senior Ian Brown (132), a District 3-AA gold medalist, won his opening-round bout along with senior teammate Tyler Shafer (145) to advance to Friday's quarterfinals. So did Bermudian Springs grapplers Briton Shelton (160) and Tristan Sponseller (195).
Biglerville sophomore Scott Cooper (132), Fairfield seniors Nick Mort (170) and Brett Harris (285) and Bermudian Springs juniors Colton Dull (182) and Sam McCollum (220) lost their opening-round bouts but won their first-round consolation matches to advance to Friday's second round of consolations.
The seasons came to an end for Hanover sophomore Caleb Garland (120) and Biglerville senior Jasper Hankey (138) following losses in the opening round and first round of consolations. Garland finishes with a 33-10 individual record while Hankey ends with a 32-12 record.
Friday's schedule: Class AA quarterfinal matches begin at 9 a.m., followed by second-round consolation matches at 10:45 a.m. Class AAA quarterfinal matches begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by second-round consolation matches at 3:15 p.m. Class AA semifinal matches begin at 6:30 p.m. and are immediately followed by third- and fourth-round consolation matches.
Saturday's schedule: Class AAA semifinals and third-round consolation matches begin at 9 a.m., followed by fourth-round consolation matches at 11 a.m. Class AA championship, third-place, fifth-place and seventh-place bouts begin at 2 p.m. Class AAA championship, third-place, fifth-place and seventh-place bouts begin at 7 p.m.
— Reach John Walk at email@example.com.