HERSHEY - While others in the area have state title hopes, Tyrone's Dylan Weston was just happy to be wrestling in the same tournament with the state's - and in some cases, nation's - best wrestlers.
He was even happier when his stay in the PIAA Class AA Championships was extended.
Weston fought out of a number of takedown attempts by Kane's Northwest champ Evan Delong, and the 145-pound preliminary bout went to the ultimate tiebreaker tied, 2-2.
Photo for the Mirror by Tami Ogline Knopsnyder
Tyrone’s Dylan Weston wrestles Kane’s Evan Delong Thursday.
Weston (36-7) easily escaped in the tiebreaker to win, 3-2, on Thursday in his first appearance at the Giant Center. He gets Forest Hills' Southwest runner-up Richard Brydon (34-2) in the quarters.
"I wasn't really worried about getting eliminated. I'm just happy to be here," Weston said. "That [win] makes me feel like I'm in the tournament. My lifetime goal was just getting here, and winning the match just made it better."
Weston paid a bit of a price phyiscally for winning the bout.
"I was probably the most tired I've been so far this year," he said. He smiled and said "And I drank a bunch of Gatorade [before the match], and I threw up twice."
Weston was one of six of the 16 area wrestlers who advanced to today's quarterfinals on a rough day for the area and Southwest Region.
The tournament was also extended for Bedford's Ryan Easter (106) and Jacob Krupa (220), C-K's Ty Dively (138), Central Cambria's Tony Risaliti (160) and Northern Bedford's Quinton Hixson (285), all of whom survived to reach the quarterfinals, which are scheduled for 9 this morning.
Four more area wrestlers are alive in the second round of consolations, which are set for 10:45 a.m.. Moshannon Valley's Dylan Ludwig (182) and James Stodart (195) lost their first-round bouts, but they bounced back to win their consolation bouts, as did Bellwood-Antis' Jared Woomer (120) and Tyrone's Jared Beckwith (182).
"I think they were ready to wrestle that first match," Mo Valley coach Justin Fye said of Ludwig and Stodart, "but I think they were a little nervous to try some of the moves. We figured their first matches would be their toughest matches today win or lose. They both came back and wrestled well."
The first-round losers could wrestle four bouts today if they keep winning.
Six area guys went 0-2 and were eliminated from the tournament, including Claysburg-Kimmel's Southwest Regional champion James Dodson (132) and runner-up Josh Brown (106) and Central Cambria's Ben Rager (126), who was a favorite for some to reach the finals.
Chestnut Ridge's Shane Pfaunmiller (126) and Tyler Dibert (170) and Penn Cambria's Nick Szala (138) were also eliminated.
Krupa (35-10 reached the quarters the quickest of any area guy with a pin of Catasaqua's Southeast champion Luke Garner in 1:53 to earn a quarterfinal berth against Cochranton's Cam Cyphert (37-2), who pinned Fort Cherry's Greg Kumer.
"Jacob drew a regional champ and he was able to go out, snap the kid down and take him down," Bedford coach Brian Creps said. "That was a real nice win for him. Jacob is a good pinner."
Earlier, Dively built a 9-4 lead Pequea Valley's Drew Jackson before forcing him to his back with a half nelson and getting the fall in 5:51.
It was the 22nd pin and the 143rd career win for Dively (37-2), who holds the carer wins record by two over Dodson, but there was no playful smacktalk between the two this time. Dodson sat nearby with his right shoulder area wrapped tightly.
"It feels good to move on," Dively said, "but it's sad that the rest of the team fell in both matches. I thought we'd do a lot better than what we did. Once I got on top, I felt so much more comfortable than wrestling in neutral."
Dodson was injured using a Mearkle-type move trying to stop Curwensville's Jake Keller from escaping at the end of the second period. Dodson used up all of his injury time, but the bout eventually went into overtime. There, Keller countered a Dodson shot, put him on his back and pinned the Bulldog senior 37 seconds into the extra period.
Dodson was to have an X-ray to see if had a broken collarbone or a pulled chest muscle.
"That was, quite frankly, a valiant effort to even try and finish the match," C-K coach Dave Marko said.
Dodson, who came in with a 37-0 record, was pinned in the prelimas in 3:43 by Pottstown's Trenton Clifford, who caught him on his back in a scoreless bout. Tamaqua's Colin Mashack pinned Brown in 2:43, and then the C-K junior dropped a 7-4 decision to Burgettstown freshman Austin McDermitt, whom Brown beat, 8-6, last week.
"This place is brutal," Marko said. "You have to show up ready to wrestle every match, every point, and bite, scratch and claw. It's heartbreaking. It's crushing. That's what this tournament is.
Easter (36-5) took Pen Argyl's Matt Williams down with 14 seconds left in overtime to win, 3-1. Easter will face Beth-Center's Southwest fourth-placer Zach Swarrow (31-9) in the quarterfinals.
"Easter won a real tight match," Creps said. "We knew it would be a real tough one. They were back and forth throughout the match, and we couldn't get him tilted. Ryan wrestled a real good match.
"Ryan has Swarrow, and they have history of tight matches. It will be an entertaining match. Krupa is wrestling well, and you never know what's going to happen."
Risaliti is a three-time qualifier, but he had never won in the first round, and his 5-4 win over Greenville's Randy Perkins wasn't easy. Risaliti broke open a scoreless bout in the second with an escape and takedown. Perkins reversed, but Risaliti reversed to take a 5-2 lead into the third. Perkins reversed late, and Risaliti avoided any danger in the end.
Risaliti (34-3), on a quest to face Forest Hills' Cody Law in the finals, earned a quarterfinal bout against Central Columbia's unbeaten Kurt Meskie (38-0).
"That was a lot closer than I expected," Risaliti said. "I got through the goal of winning that first match. I kind of wish it was a little bit easier than that. I'm a little winded. I think it was nerves a little bit because I haven't won that first match, but I have a day to relax and recoup."
"Tony wrestled a good first state tournament match," CC coach Bob Nikolishen said. "He came out [winning] 5-4, and he was disgusted with himself. That first match is always one that's kind of spooky. Tomorrow, he's got a guy that hasn't lost a match yet, but he hasn't bumped up against Tony yet either."
Risaliti's teammate, Rager (35-4), who finished fourth at the Southwest Regional, was pinned by Schuylkill Valley's 2009 state champion Arty Walsh in 3:01, and then he was beaten by Charleroi's Southwest third-placer Aaron Toth, 8-0.
Hixson had some trouble with Western Wayne's Joe Ingaglio, who wrestled much of the season at 220 and looked like he weighed about 200. Inglagio wasn't about to shoot on the much bigger Hixson, who in turned used the front headlock to snap and spin behind for four takedowns in a 10-5 win. Hixson set up a quarterfinal against Reynolds' Blake Heim (42-7) in the quarters.
"I didn't wrestle well at all," Hixson said. "I should have rode that kid out, but it was the first-match jitters. I got scared. I don't like wrestling smaller guys because they don't want to touch you or anything. It's a win, but I didn't wrestle near my capabilities."
"I think he wrestled real well on his feet," NBC coach Brian Dutchcot said. "On top, we need to improve a little bit, get some more pressure forward, take the man down and make sure we're keeping him flat on his belly. If we do that, I think he's got a good shot."
Tournament notes: The semifinals are set for 6:30 p.m. today. The consolation quarters and semis are at 6:30 p.m. and 9, respectively. ... Richland two-time state champ John Rizzo survived a 5-4 win over Halifax's Joey Kaufman. ... Bethlehem Catholic leads the team race by 7.5 points, 20.5-13, over Fort LeBoeuf.