HERSHEY — Spring Grove sophomore Dalton Rohrbaugh remembers the unpleasant feeling he had during last year's PIAA Class AAA state wrestling tournament.
As a freshman, Rohrbaugh was one victory away from placing in the state competition. Instead, with a 1-2 record, he was left sitting in the locker-room area wondering what he could've done differently.
It was that moment that fueled Rohrbaugh through the entire season. He wanted to put himself in the best possible position at the state competition this year to make sure he didn't have to suffer through that feeling again. So, when he successfully pinned Stroudsburg's Cameron Enriquez in 5 minutes, 15 seconds in his 106-pound first-round bout on Thursday, he hopped right up, looked over to his coaches and held up one finger, signifying how many more wins he needed to make sure he winds up on the podium.
"It feels the same as last year," he said after his victory. "I still need one more win."
Rohrbaugh got off to a slow start, using the first period as a feeling-out process. But, after letting Enriquez stand up to begin the second period, putting himself down 1-0, Rohrbaugh scored a take down and transitioned it into a near fall to lead 5-1 after the second period. He continued to dominate in the third, before finally putting Enriquez away with a pin midway through the third period.
"I think I set stuff up more," Rohrbaugh said about his second- and third-period performance. "I was kind of just shooting in the first period, but in the second I was using sets to my advantage and got to his legs."
Rohrbaugh improved to 40-1 on the year and will now face Job Chishko (31-2) of Penn Trafford in Friday's quarterfinal round. Chishko is the No. 2 seed out of the Southwest Region and won his first-round bout, 7-0, over Tyler Williams of Souderton.
First round: Aside from Rohrbaugh's success, the only other York-Adams League wrestler to move into the AAA quarterfinals was New Oxford junior Zurich Storm at 120. Storm (25-1) earned a convincing 9-3 decision over Garnet Valley's Matt Marino.
Northeastern's Blaine Yinger, who entered as the District 3-AAA champion, suffered a 2-1 upset to Shai Hines of Dieruff in double overtime. Yinger (33-4) scored the first point of the bout on an escape in the second period, but gave it right back to begin the third. Then, after neither wrestler scored a point in the first overtime, Hines escaped late in the first part of the second overtime and then rode out Yinger to clinch the victory.
Prelim bouts: Just as in the first round, the Y-A wrestlers struggled in their preliminary-round contests.
Of the seven wrestlers who had prelim bouts, only Kennard-Dale's Michael Bracey advanced into the first round, scoring a pin in 4:41 against North Allegheny's Luke Landefeld.
His pin capped an impressive comeback. He was trailing after both the first and second periods. But, a swift takedown of Landefeld that put him directly on his back led to a quick pin.
Unfortunately for Bracey (31-3), he ran into Bethlehem Catholic's Luke Karam in the first round, losing by tech fall, 15-0 in 3:51, sending him into the consolation bracket.
The rest of the prelim wrestlers didn't fare as well. Brandon Rodriguez of Dover suffered a 4-1 defeat against Aidan Burke of Council Rock North to get sent to the 113-pound consolation bracket. In his consolation bout, Rodriguez (25-7) was defeated, 3-2, by Nazareth's Ryan O'Grady, ending his wrestling career. Rodriguez was the school's first state qualifier since 2007.
At 145 pounds, Central York senior Dylan Chatterton battled a constantly bleeding nose in his 4-3 defeat to Dieruff's Ronald Nguyen. After going through a couple blood timeouts in the first period, Chatterton had a bandage placed around his entire head, covering his nose, to prevent any more stoppages. But, Chatterton (35-3) kept his high school career alive by securing a pin in 4:51 over Kyle Luben of Meadville to make it to Friday's session.
At 152 pounds, Gage Thomas of South Western and Nolan Poust of New Oxford both dropped 8-5 decisions. Thomas, who's a senior, lost to Mike Manley of Tunkhannock, and Poust, also a senior, lost to Cole Karam of Bethlehem Catholic. Thomas (32-7) advanced to Friday by earning a forfeit in his consolation bout, while Poust (35-7) scored an exciting 13-9 win over Colin Shannon of North Penn to continue his year.
Bryce Shields (30-4) lost a 5-1 decision to Anthony Piscopo of LaSalle at 195 pounds, but followed up that loss with a convincing 16-4 major decision of Travis Ogden from Clearfield in his consolation bout.
Lastly, at 285 pounds, Central freshman Michael Wolfgram fell 3-1 to Hines of Dieruff, preventing an all-York County first-round bout with Yinger. Wolfgram's strong freshman campaign came to a close with a 3-2 defeat vs. Vincenzo Pelusi of LaSalle in the consolation bracket. He finished the year at 29-12.
Mackley keeps rolling: After rolling through the Southcentral Regional last weekend, Eastern York's Dakota Mackley picked up right where he left off in his first-round bout of the AA event.
Mackley (29-3) didn't even need a full period to pin Dylan Ammerman of Sullivan County at 160, finishing the bout in 1:58. He's the only York County wrestler still in contention for a state gold medal in the AA competition and just one of two Y-A wrestlers still in the main draw.
Nate Newberry of Biglerville, fresh off a district and regional title, cruised in his 152-pound match, defeating Morgan Deremer of Chestnut Ridge, 11-4. Mackley will face Bethlehem-Center senior Anthony Welsh in Friday's quarterfinals, while Newberry (37-2) will take on Jon Wagner of Huntingdon. With a win in the quarterfinals for either Mackley or Newberry, they'll guarantee themselves a podium finish of no worse than sixth place.
In total, seven of the 10 Y-A wrestlers advanced to Friday's competition. Bermudian Springs juniors Austin Clabaugh (120), Ashton West (145) and Noah Fleshman (170) are still alive in the consolation bracket, while Hanover's Caleb Garland (126) and Delone Catholic's Brian Shermeyer (152) will also look to keep their seasons alive in the consolation bracket on Friday.
Bermudian's Landon West (106) and Logan Luckenbaugh (195) and Delone's Brady Repasky (182) all saw their seasons come to an end on Thursday.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org