HERSHEY — You can excuse Michael Wolfgram for not feeling over-confident heading into the PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships Thursday evening.
Even with a perfect 34-0 record heading into his opening-round contest at the Giant Center, Wolfgram admitted he was a little worried before his eventual clash with Northeastern heavyweight Blaine Yinger.
History certainly played a little into it. Yinger, who advanced to face Wolfgram after pinning Nick Cooper in his preliminary bout, went 2-0 against the Central sophomore a season ago, but the tables turned this year, with Wolfgram getting the better of Yinger on two occasions this season, both via pinfall.
Wolfgram also remembers last season's PIAA run, which ended abruptly after a pair of losses.
So, perhaps it was fortunate for the Panther heavyweight that he saw a familiar foe when he took to the mat.
"I think it was a good way to start off the state tournament," said Wolfgram moments after he pinned Yinger in 5 minutes and 23 seconds. "Because I wrestle him all the time. I've wrestled him five times in my career so it feels like just another match."
Yinger put up quite a battle against the unbeaten Panther standout. The contest was scoreless after the first period. But, with Wolfgram in the down position to begin the second period, Yinger gave up a reversal with 1:23 left. After Yinger escaped to make it 2-1, Wolfgram secured a takedown to go up 4-1.
Wolfgram secured the pin late in the third after scoring a takedown before leveraging his weight on top of Yinger for the fall.
While his Central classmates relentlessly question him about winning a state title, Wolfgram tries to avoid any of the speculation in regards to his success.
"They remind me all the time," he said. "They announced it on the announcements and they sent out an email to all the staff. So, they were all talking to me about it all week. It was a pretty hectic week because everybody was like 'Are you going to win?' And I'm like 'One match at a time.'"
The next match for Wolfgram is a quarterfinal clash Friday afternoon with Roman Macek of Montour. Macek, who improved to 36-2, won by pin fall in his first-round bout.
Other 3-A notables: New Oxford's Zurich Storm joins Wolfgram as the lone York-Adams League wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket.
The Colonials' 120-pound senior improved to 34-1 after scoring an 8-2 decision over Colton Camacho of Franklin Regional in his first-round bout.
Storm will face Aiden Burke of Council Rock North in the quarterfinals. Burke (16-7) advanced after a 4-0 decision in his first-round contest.
Besides Storm and Wolfgram, the rest of the opening night of the state tournament was not as kind to Y-A League competitors. With a total of 11 wrestlers from the league entered in the field, four of them — Northeastern's Cole Wilson (106), Spring Grove's Jake Meyer (132), Gettysburg's Dylan Reinert (138) and Spring Grove's Nathan Young (220) — are already eliminated after dropping preliminary and consolation bouts.
A total of seven will still be around for Day 2 on Friday. That lists includes Spring Grove's Dalton Rohrbaugh, who fell in the first-round of his 113-pound bout by a 5-3 decision to Sean Pierson of Nazareth. The Rocket junior rebounded to win his consolation bout by a 3-0 margin over C.J. Morton of Twin Valley to remain alive for a medal. Rohrbaugh won the bronze medal at 106 pounds as a sophomore last season.
Teammate Clay Baker (120) followed Rohrbaugh's path as well. Baker, who dropped a 10-0 major decision in his preliminary bout against David Campbell of Boyertown, rebounded to defeat Dalton Woodrow of DuBois, 4-2.
Others alive include Yinger (285), Bryce Shields of Dallastown (220) and Dylan Gurreri of Red Lion (160). Shields lost in this first-round match-up with Joe Doyle of Council Rock South, 7-5, before pinning Michael Maguire of Unionville in 2:47 in his consolation bout. Gurreri won his preliminary clash with Ian Barr of State College, 10-2, but lost by tech fall (15-0) to Joshua Stillings of Pennridge in the first round.
All second-round consolations will take place concurrently with the championship bracket matches starting at 2:15 p.m. Friday.
Class 2-A action: It wasn't a great day for the three York County wrestlers in the Class 2-A tournament.
Eastern York's Jahshim Snyder (182) and Kennard-Dale's Nick Bradley (138) and Andrew Barnett (145) were all eliminated after dropping their first two matches.
Snyder fell by a 6-4 margin to Noah Cieleski fo Brookville in the prelims, before losing by the same margin to Alec Dragos of Honesdale. Bradley, just a freshman, was pinned by D.J. Erickson of Hanover Area in 3:27, before he lost by tech fall (17-2) to Josh Kuslock of Chartiers-Houston. Barnett dropped a 7-4 decision in the opening round to Chaise Hauck of Reynolds and then lost, 8-6, against Josh Hancock of Cranberry.
Bermudian Springs' Austin Clabaugh (126) and Noah Fleshman (195) are both still alive for the gold medal in 2-A. Clabuagh moved into the quarterfinals with a pin of Devin Pietkiewicz of Shamokin in 1:32, while Fleshman advanced with an 11-2 major decision victory over Ivan Balavage of Scranton Prep.
Delone Catholic's Brian Shermeyer (160) and Bryce Perkins (285) and Littlestown's Carl Harris (170) are still alive in the consolation bracket after going 1-1 on the opening day.
Class 2-A continues on Friday at 9 a.m. with quarterfinal action and then will have third-round consolation bouts beginning at 6:30 in the evening.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org