Winning a district gold medal might be satisfying to most.
Yet, the three wrestlers from York County who won District 3-AAA titles two weeks ago at Hersheypark Arena each sounded as if they weren't satisfied.
Like Dallastown senior Rodney Sunday (126 pounds), an NCAA Division II Seton Hill recruit who scored a technical fall and two major decisions on his way to a district gold medal.
"It feels good. It's another win," Sunday said in Hershey two weeks ago shortly after receiving his medal on the podium. "I'm used to competing on such a big stage. It's another win."
Of course, for Kennard-Dale senior standout Chance Marsteller (170), at this point in his prep career, it's almost become routine to hear him talk about looking ahead to the next obstacle, a drive that has aided the D-I Oklahoma State recruit in becoming the 11th wrestler to win four District 3 gold medals.
"I don't take it for granted," Marsteller said after winning his last district gold. "It was cool. I did it. But I'm just trying to look forward every single week, every single day. I'm always preparing for the next thing."
And then there's Spring Grove senior Zack Clingan (120), a D-II Millersville recruit who may have said it best about winning district gold.
"It's satisfying but I'm not satisfied," Clingan said.
The attitudes from Clingan, Marsteller and Sunday make the upcoming PIAA Class AAA individual wrestling tournament at Hershey's Giant Center all that more intriguing for York County wrestling fans. The trio isn't just satisfied to compete at Hershey's Giant Center this week. They're aiming to cap off their high school careers with some hardware in the form of bronze, silver or gold.
Perhaps, too, are the eight other AAA wrestlers from the York-Adams League slated to compete in the state tournament, which begins Thursday and culminates with the championship round Saturday night. That group includes Kennard-Dale sophomore Mike Bracey (113) and Spring Grove senior Mason Bentzel (152), both of whom won silver medals at districts. And the four District 3 bronze medal winners: New Oxford freshman Zurich Storm (106), Central York sophomore Dylan Chatterton (113), South Western sophomore Owen Wherley (120) and Spring Grove senior Mike Hartman (145).
South Western sophomore Derek Wilson (113) and Dallastown senior Wes Hoover (145) also earned a spot in the state tournament by finishing fourth at districts.
State preview: A year ago, 11 York-Adams League athletes entered the PIAA Class AAA tournament. By the end, Marsteller was the only one to walk away with a top-three finish. He earned his third state gold medal. However, four others finished in the top eight of their weight class, including Chatterton, Sunday and Bentzel.
It's a solid bet there will be even more local wrestlers earning top-eight finishes at this year's state tournament. And by the sounds of Clingan, Marsteller and Sunday, perhaps even more York County wrestlers will walk away with gold, silver or bronze medals in their possession.
That's not to say it will be easy.
Clingan's 120-pound bracket includes two returning state champs (Greater Latrobe sophomore Luke Pletcher and Parkland senior Ethan Lizak), a returning state bronze medalist (Nazareth senior Tyrone Klump) and three other returning state qualifiers, including two who finished in the top six of their weight class at states a year ago (Cathedral Prep senior Jake Gromacki and Garnet Valley senior Michael Marino).
Sunday's 126-pound bracket includes a returning state champ (Hempfield junior Sam Krivus) and state runner-up (Canon-McMillan senior Dalton Macri), three other wrestlers who finished in the top six of their weight class at states last year and two other returning PIAA qualifiers.
Marsteller, who has won state titles at 152 pounds (2011) and 160 pounds (2012, 2013), will aim for his first state gold at 170 pounds. The opponents in his 170-pound bracket include returning PIAA qualifiers Cody Seibert (Big Spring), Noah Wilps (Chartiers Valley) and John Dambro (Garnet Valley). Of that bunch, Wilps was the only wrestler to finish in the top eight at states a year ago. Seibert lost to Marsteller by major decision at districts two weeks ago.
Marsteller: Marsteller's toughest hurdle, however, might be wrestling with a lower back injury that has been nagging him for at least the last month and caused him to be whistled for three stalling calls in his district title match two weeks ago.
He's aiming to become the first wrestler from District 3 to win four state titles, the 11th overall to earn four PIAA gold medals and just fourth to do it with an unblemished career prep record.
Marsteller enters Thursday with a career 162-0 scholastic record. Should he win gold again this weekend, Marsteller would finish with the second-most wins among four-time state gold medalists behind McGuffey's Jeremy Hunter, who was 172-2 from 1993 to 1996, but he would have the most wins among the four grapplers with a perfect scholastic record, in front of Cary Kolat's 137-0 record from 1989 to 1992.
— Reach John Walk at email@example.com.
The PIAA Class AAA and Class AA wrestling championships will be held at Hershey's Giant Center on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Thursday: Class AA first-round matches begin at 9 a.m., followed by first-round consolation matches at 12:15 p.m. Class AAA first-round matches begin at 4 p.m., followed by first-round consolation matches at 7:15 p.m.
Friday: 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: 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.
For more information visit piaa.org.
PIAA wrestling pairings
Following are first-round pairings for York-Adams League athletes at the PIAA wrestling championships Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey. Wrestlers' names are followed by school, regional finish, grade and record. (x-denotes returning champion.)
106 — x-Devin Brown, Franklin Regional, SW-1, Jr., 33-0 vs. Zurich Storm, New Oxford, SC-3, Fresh., 30-5.
113 — Jacob Lizak, Parkland, NE-1, Soph., 40-10 vs. Dylan Chatterton, Central York, SC-3, Soph., 29-3. Joe Wheeling, General McLane, NW-1, Sr., 34-1 vs. Derek Wilson, South Western, SC-4, Soph., 23-5. Michael Bracey, Kennard-Dale, SC-2, Soph., 29-7 vs. Chris Thompson, Philipsburg-Osceola, NW-3, Sr., 29-7.
120 — Zack Clingan, Spring Grove, SC-1, Sr., 38-3 vs. Brock Port, Bellefonte, NW-3, Fresh., 32-4. Jake Gromacki, Erie Cathedral Prep, NW-1, Sr., 28-2 vs. Owen Wherley, South Western, SC-3, Soph., 35-5.
126 — Rodney Sunday, Dallastown, SC-1, Sr., 32-3 vs. Noah Cline, Clearfield, NW-3, Jr., 28-9.
138 — Hayden Hidlay, Mifflin County, NW-1, Soph., 35-2 vs. Wesley Hoover, Dallastown, SC-4, Sr., 29-7.
145 — Deane Twitchell, General McLane, NW-1, Sr., 32-8 vs. Michael Hartman, Spring Grove, SC-3, Sr., 32-9.
152 — Noah Stewart, Mifflin County, NW-2, Soph., 33-8 vs. Mason Bentzel, Spring Grove, SC-2, Sr., 37-3.
170 — x-Chance Marsteller, Kennard Dale, SC-1, Sr., 37-0 vs. Connor Martinez, Dallas, NE-3, Sr., 36-9.
120 — Jarrette Carter, Fort LeBoeuf, NW-1, Soph., 30-8 vs. Caleb Garland, Hanover, SE-4, Soph., 33-8.
132 — Ian Brown, Hanover, SE-1, Sr., 35-0 vs. Devon Green, Huntingdon, SW-4, Sr., 34-9. Scott Cooper, Biglerville, SE-5, Soph., 37-9 vs. Austin Harry, Lake Lehman, NE-1, Sr., 37-1.
145 — Tyler Shafer, Hanover, SE-1, Sr., 34-2 vs. Tony Welsh, Beth-Center, SW-5, Soph., 36-6.
160 — Bryce Fotchman, Berlin-Brothersvalley, SW-5, Jr., 35-6 vs. Briton Shelton, Bermudian Springs, SE-1, Jr., 38-2.
170 — Corey Hazel, Penns Valley, SW-1, Jr., 34-3 vs. Nick Mort, Fairfield, SE-4, Sr., 36-3.
182 — Terrell Fields, Valley, SW-1, Sr., 33-1 vs. Colton Dull, Bermudian Springs, SE-5, Jr., 35-5.
195 — Tristan Sponseller, Bermudian Springs, SE-1, Sr., 39-0 vs. Brad Grinnen, Ellwood City, SW-4, Sr., 33-5.
220 — Reynold Maines, West Branch, SW-2, Jr., 35-1 vs. Sam McCollum, Bermudian Springs, SE-3, Jr., 34-6.
285 — Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing, NE-3, Soph., 42-4 vs. Brett Harris, Fairfield, SE-2, Sr., 33-7.