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West York senior Carly Gross becomes first commit for Lock Haven women's wrestling. York Dispatch

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The PIAA State Wrestling Championships were held from Thursday through Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Most York County sports fans certainly heard plenty about the event. It got more than a little publicity.

A half-dozen wrestlers from the York-Adams League came home with medals, including a Class 2-A silver from Biglerville’s Levi Haines and a 3-A bronze from Gettysburg’s Dylan Reinert.

It was undoubtedly a great achievement for each of those young men. Wrestling may be the most physically and mentally demanding of all sports, and Pennsylvania is known as one of the most competitive wrestling states in the nation. Earning a PIAA medal is no easy task. It takes toughness, determination and talent.

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Those six, however, were not the only state high school wrestling medalists from our little neck of the woods.

Recognizing the girls' state medalists: In fact, a day after the PIAA event, six more area athletes captured Pennsylvania prep wrestling medals. Those six, however, most definitely collected their honors in under-the-radar fashion. There was precious little notice paid to their considerable achievements.

Well, it’s time to change that.

It’s time to recognize the accomplishments of Tiffani Baublitz, Montana DeLawder, Carly Gross, Alexx Ortiz, Alexis Reinert and Sierra Starner.

By now, you’ve likely noticed that each of the six medalists mentioned above is a female. They earned their honors at Gettysburg High School on Sunday in the 2020 MyHouse Pennsylvania High School Girls State Wrestling Championships.

Well north of 100 young women competed in the event covering 11 different weight classes.

Two area state champions: Two of the 11 champions came from our region. Stewartstown’s Tiffani Baublitz captured the 184-pound crown and Gettysburg’s Montana DeLawder won the 122-pound title.

Both captured their championships in dominating fashion, with each collecting three first-period pins en route to their titles. Both also won state crowns for a second consecutive year. DeLawder won the 115-pound crown a year ago, while Baublitz won at 147.

Both are also familiar names in local wrestling circles.

Baublitz, a junior at Kennard-Dale High School, has won numerous wrestling championships during her short, but stellar, career at the state, national and international levels. She spent a short stint at Wyoming Seminary in Luzerne County to compete for that school’s all-girls’ team before returning to York County. She now competes for the York County-based Modern Day Gladiators club and is a junior high assistant at Red Lion High School.

DeLawder, meanwhile, has earned a reputation for competing against, and often beating, her male opponents in PIAA competition for Gettysburg High School. The junior owns a 67-43 career record in PIAA action, according to PA-wrestling.com.

Other local medalists: Another York County girl, West York’s Carly Gross, earned a second consecutive silver medal in the state tournament.

Last year, Gross lost to DeLawder in the 115-pound title match. This year, again wrestling at 115 pounds, Gross earned two pins and a sudden-victory decision before getting pinned in the championship match by Caitlyn Walker of Wyoming Seminary.

Like DeLawder, Gross has wrestled against the boys in PIAA competition, going 23-33 over her four-year career according to PA-Wrestling.com. She was the first recruit for the newly formed Lock Haven University women’s wrestling program.

The other local girls’ state medalists were Central York's Ortiz, who was second at 140; Gettysburg’s Reinert, who was third at 184; and Central York’s Starner, who was fourth at 134.

Ortiz, a sophomore, won by pin and a decision before getting pinned in her championship match. She wrestles for Lancaster Alliance Women's Wrestling.

Reinert had three first-period pins, with her only loss in the event coming to Baublitz in the semifinals.

Move to get girls' wrestling sanctioned by PIAA: The state medals won by the local girls, however, were not PIAA medals, even though the event in Gettysburg operated under PIAA rules.

The PIAA does not sanction separate wrestling championships for female high school wrestlers.

Some folks, however, are pushing hard to change that.

The Pennsylvania Girls High School Wrestling Task Force recently announced the launch of SanctionPA, a grassroots effort to work toward getting high school girls’ wrestling approved as a sanctioned PIAA sport in Pennsylvania.

The group claims that, for the past five years, girls’ wrestling has been the fastest-growing high school sport in the nation. According to the group, Pennsylvania high school wrestling has experienced a 100% growth of girls on high school boys’ teams in the past five years.

All 12 PIAA districts now have girls wrestling within their area schools.

While there are 21 state high school associations sanctioning a girls’ wrestling state championship, Pennsylvania does not yet have an official state girls' tournament operated and sanctioned by the PIAA.

Current PIAA rules require a minimum of 100 schools to have officially recognized girls’ wrestling programs before considering sanctioning the sport. Given that requirement, it would appear that a PIAA-sanctioned girls’ wrestling state tournament may not happen anytime soon.

Medals still shine bright: That does not mean, however, that the accomplishments of the young women who competed in Gettysburg over the weekend should be overlooked.

Their medals still shine just as bright, even if they’re not sanctioned by the PIAA.

Steve Heiser is sports editor for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.

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