HERSHEY — Bermudian Springs senior Austin Clabaugh can end his wrestling career satisfied.
His quest for a state gold medal came up just short, but, considering the opponent he was facing, a silver medal isn't a bad consolation.
Facing undefeated Gavin Teasdale of Jefferson Morgan in Saturday's PIAA Class 2-A 126-pound championship bout at Giant Center, Clabaugh gave the two-time state champion his toughest bout in this competition in more than two years.
Clabaugh made scoring difficult on Teasdale, but in the end, how "difficult" it was for Teasdale to score was all semantics, as he still pulled off a 13-5 win over Clabaugh to take home his third consecutive gold medal, leaving Clabaugh with silver.
"I gave it everything I had," Clabaugh said. "I thought I wrestled my best, personally. I was able to do well from neutral, considering what things don't really look like for me. I was able to just wrestle the way I wanted to."
Going into the bout, Clabaugh knew the task was a tall one. Teasdale is now 122-0 in his three years and now a three-time state champion. When his high school career ends next year, he'll go on to wrestle at powerhouse Iowa. So, for Clabaugh, Saturday was all about leaving everything he had on the mat.
He can confidently say he did that, despite the major decision loss. Clabaugh was feisty with Teasdale early in the bout, going nearly the first minute of action without giving up a takedown, before Teasdale finally got it. After Teasdale cut him loose, another takedown just before the first period ended gave the Jefferson Morgan wrestler a 4-1 advantage through one.
With Clabaugh (41-5) taking top position to start the second, he nearly successfully rode out Teasdale for the entire period, but an escape with about 15 seconds to go and then an immediate takedown gave Teasdale a 7-1 lead heading into the final period.
Teasdale continued to dominate the third period, but could never get a constant tilt on Clabaugh. Then, after getting cut loose, Clabaugh ended the bout with a takedown of his own, to finish out the tournament and his high school career on top.
"That was just being able to show that I was working the whole way through, all six minutes," Clabaugh said. "I wasn't stopping."
The 13 points that Teasdale scored were the fewest he's scored in a state tournament bout since his freshman season. In fact, it's the first time he's been held under 20 points in a bout.
Much of that Teasdale credited to Clabaugh doing things in a different fashion than he's use to seeing, causing him some troubles and making scoring more challenging.
"He came in with left side tie up," Teasdale said. "I'm used to guys tying up my right side, but when he came in, he was kind of straight-armed. ...So it was kind of weird and awkward for me and I wasn't used to that."
The medal for Clabaugh is the only one in his career, but was the perfect way to finish it all.
"I'm pretty happy with it," he admitted. "I'm satisfied that I was able to get here, considering how things have gone previously. I have to be satisfied with where I got."
3-A results: In the Class 3-A tournament, only two York-Adams League wrestlers competed on Saturday for medals.
At 120 pounds, New Oxford senior Zurich Storm had a rough end to his high school career, dropping three bouts on the day to finish in sixth place. After getting tech falled in his semifinal bout, he began his consolation bout in dominating fashion, before getting caught in a spladel and getting pinned.
Sent into the fifth-place bout against Conon-McMillan's Logan Macri, Storm started fast by scoring a takedown, but didn't have much after that. He earned an escape with 27 seconds to go, but couldn't get a necessary takedown to lose, 6-4.
For the season, Storm went 35-4, but entered the tournament with just one defeat.
Later in the night, Dallastown's Bryce Shields competed in the seventh-place bout at 220 pounds.
He faced Greg Bensley of Pocono Mountain West, dominating the bout from the start and then scoring a pin with 12 seconds to go in the match to end his career with a win.
"It feels pretty awesome to me," Shields said. "I was always worried about coming to states and half the kids lose, half the kids win, so I just wanted to end on a high note. Even though I didn't reach my ultimate goal of top six, it still feels pretty good."
Shields scored a takedown late in the first period to grab a 2-0 lead and then earned an escape to open the second period to go up 3-0. Bensley worked an escape to get the match to 3-1 by the end of the period. Bensley again escaped to start the third to make the bout interesting at 3-2, but Shields scored a takedown, which he turned directly into back points and then continued to press until scoring the pin with time running out.
The win concluded Shields' wrestling career for the Wildcats, finishing with a record this year of 38-4. He'll go on to Valley Forge Military College, where he's considering wrestling for its program.
Shields was also the only York County wrestler to medal this year, a feat that wasn't lost on him.
"It feels pretty good, but I wish there were more (York County) kids though," he said. "I'm always looking out for my friends and stuff, but I guess it's pretty much an honor for me."
Other 2-A results: In other Class 2-A action for Y-A League wrestlers, Delone Catholic senior Brian Shermeyer ended his high school career with an eighth-place medal at 160 pounds. The loss capped Shermeyer's season with a 38-8 record.
Shermeyer, battling a knee injury throughout the tournament and noticeably limping, dropped a 6-2 decision to Jacob Carpenter of Shamokin in his seventh-place bout.
At 170 pounds, Littlestown sophomore Carl Harris finished eighth. He lost his seventh-place bout to Sharon's Nick McClimans, 8-2. Harris ended his 10th grade season with a 36-7 mark.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com