Pair of Panthers among four York-Adams League wrestlers to medal at states

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Central York senior Macon Myers has been laser-focused on one thing ever since the end of the PIAA wrestling championships last year — winning a medal. After leaving the 2022 draw without one, Myers worked tirelessly over the ensuing 12 months to achieve his goal.

On Day 2 of the state tournament Friday, Myers made his dream a reality with a 14-6 major decision victory over Souderton's Ben Beckett to clinch a top-eight finish in the Class 3A 172-pound weight class.

“I’ve worked so hard all year for this,” Myers said. “So I was confident about placing.”

Myers was one of four York-Adams League wrestlers to earn a spot on the podium at Hershey's Giant Center this weekend. Central York junior Elias Long (eighth place, 139), Spring Grove junior Michael Hershey (seventh place, 285) medaled in Class 3A, while Bermudian Springs freshman Hayden Yacoviello-Andrus took third place at 127 pounds in Class 2A after a grueling three days of action.

Central York’s Macon Myers, left, wrestles Carlisle’s Anthony DeAngelo in the 172-pound weight class during PIAA District III, Class 3-A championship wrestling at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Friday:Four York-Adams League wrestlers secure state medals at PIAA championships

Thursday:Hershey, Myers advance to state quarterfinals

Never one to settle for the bare minimum, Myers followed up with a pair of triumphs Saturday afternoon — a 4-1 decision over Kiski Area's Mark Gray and then an 8-3 decision against Pennridge's Talan Hogan — to earn a berth into the 172-pound third-place match against Nazareth's Dominic Wheatley.

“This was something I’ve always dreamed about since I was young,” Myers said. “This whole weekend was just amazing.”

Not even a 7-3 setback in the final match of his high school career could dampen the elation that Myers was feeling as he clutched the medal hanging around his neck.

The Bloomsburg recruit’s only losses this weekend came against two of the top three grapplers in the state — Waynesburg Central's Rocco Welsh, who won the state championship and is ranked No. 1 nationally at 172, and Wheatley, who placed third.

“When I pinned (Terrell) McFarland (of Pottsville on Thursday evening), I knew I was meant to be on the podium,” Myers said. “Then, obviously, losing to Rocco … there was not much I could do there. He’s the No. 1 kid in the country, but I still wrestled really hard. After that, I just wrestled without any nerves and I was just ready to go.”

Macon Myers- Central York wrestling - at the Winter sports for the 2022-2023 season preview day 2 photos in York on Nov.10, 2022.

In the third-place contest, Myers trailed 4-2 before getting an escape with 12 seconds left in the second period to pull within 4-3 heading into the third. Wheatley did a good job of keeping Myers down until Myers attempted a roll to try to escape and even things up. The roll, however, backfired as Wheatley was able to catch Myers on his back for a five-count with 80 seconds remaining.

“That kid is really, really tough,” Myers said. “I had a good takedown in the first, but I knew that he was amazing on top, so I knew it was going to be very hard to get out from him and I went to hit my roll move and he caught me. Sometimes you have to a take a chance, and (getting caught) is something that can happen when you have two good kids wrestling each other.”

Myers finishes his career at Central York with an overall record of 106-34, including a 40-5 mark this season. He claimed a pair of Section IV titles as a junior and senior, placed third at the District 3 Class 3A championships at 160 last year and earned district silver this season at 172.

He’s one of eight Central York wrestlers all-time to eclipse 100 career victories, a list which included his brother, Mason, who graduated with 124 victories in 2020. His fourth-place finish also puts him inside the top five of any wrestler in program history.

“My brother is one of them, so my family has two of them,” Myers said of the 100-win club. “And that’s just awesome.”

Central York’s Elias Long, front, wrestles Gettysburg’s Gabriel Pecaitis in the 139-pound weight class during PIAA District III, Class 3-A Wrestling Championships at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. Long would win by major decision 11-1. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Long weekend: Long, who won the District 3 Class 3A title at 139 two weeks ago, seemed poised for a big run at the state draw. While he did make one, though, it was only after falling in his first-round clash against Trinity Area's Blake Reihner by a 4-3 decision Thursday.

“I think that was due to maybe not getting in the best warmup,” Long said. “I felt kind of dead during my first match.”

The setback forced Long to take the winding path to the podium. He rebounded from Thursday's loss with a thrilling comeback victory Friday against Abington Area's Austin Smith before besting Gettysburg's Gabe Pecaitis for the third time this season in the blood round to clinch a medal.

“I was losing (4-0 to Smith) right up until the end and then we got into a scramble and I fell into a headlock, which I’ve been practicing with my coaches all year as kind of a last resort,” Long said. “And that just ended up happening was pretty much the reason that I placed, because I was losing that match.”

PIAA basketball tournament:Central York girls overcome Souderton in double-overtime, advance in state playoffs

While Long was hoping to be higher up the medal podium Saturday, he feels that the experience and lessons he learned this time around will help him out next year as a senior.

“I think I thought that this (the state tournament) was bigger than it really is,” Long said. “And, yeah, it’s the biggest tournament of the year, but I’ve wrestled in bigger venues and stadiums — like at Fargo — and I’ve wrestled against some kids that are much better than the kids that I wrestled here, but I think the biggest takeaway is to just go out and have fun.

“I was wrestling to have fun, but at the same time I was kind of scared of losing because my goal this year was the medal and I just barely got the medal. Next year, I’m just going to come up here and not care who is across from me and I’m just going to go out there and wrestle.”

Spring Grove's Michael Hershey against New Oxford's Micah Smith during their 285lbs wrestling match in Spring Grove on Thursday, Jan.12, 2022.

Powering to podiums: Hershey and Yacoviello-Andrus both walked out of the Giant Center on Saturday with a victory in their final bouts.

Hershey scored an escape and a takedown in the third period to rally back and take a 4-2 lead over Kennett's Bailey Shindle in his seventh-place match. With 14 seconds left, Shindle defaulted due to injury, handing Hershey his 42nd victory of the season.

Hershey went 4-2 over the tournament, falling Friday to Trinity Area's Ty Banco (who placed sixth) and Saturday to Pennridge's Joey Schneck (who placed fifth).

Yacoviello-Andrus — who may be known better as HYA — dropped a 6-1 decision against Burrell's Cooper Hornack to open his first Class 2A state draw Thursday morning before winning his final six contests to take the bronze. He won two bouts via pin but earned a pair of tough decisions against Midd-West's Matthew Smith and Faith Christian Academy's Arment Waltenbaugh on Friday.

The Bermudian Springs standout, like Hershey, won his final bout by injury default as Bald Eagle Area's Coen Bainey could not continue early in the second period, giving HYA the triumph. Yacaviello-Andrus finishes his freshman campaign with a 45-6 record.

A total of 10 York-Adams League wrestlers advanced to the state draw. York Suburban's Tyler Adams (127) and Central York's Wyatt Dillon (145) saw their junior seasons end one win shy of a medal finish Friday. In Class 2A, Littlestown's Cameron Mingee (139) and Biglerville's Joey Ney (145) were eliminated in their first match Friday after going 1-1 Thursday. Spring Grove's Teague Conover (215) and Northeastern's Elijah Hewitt (121) were knocked out of the 3A draw with a pair of losses Thursday.