HERSHEY - Tyrone's Cinderella, 145-pounder Dylan Weston, nearly pulled off another upset in the PIAA Class AA Championships Friday night in the semifinals.
Unfortunately for Weston, he wasn't able to add a new chapter to the old story.
Weston dropped a 3-2 decision to Hughesville's unbeaten Kyle Barnes after the Golden Eagle senior had two takedowns waved off. Weston then dropped a 3-2 decision to Fort LeBoeuf's Kody Pace in the consolation semifinals, which means he'll wrestle for fifth today.
Photo for the Mirror by Jim Butler
Tyrone’s Dylan?Weston (right) tries to break free from Hughesville’s Kyle Barnes during their close match Friday.
"Frankly, I thought he wrestled well enough to be in the finals," Tyrone coach Blair Packer said. "He should have been in the finals. I think the officiating hurt him in that semifinal match. It would have been a great, great finish to be in the finals."
The area's other semifinalist, Bedford's Ryan Easter, also lost, 3-0, to Meyers' Vito Pasone. Easter lost his consolation semifinals bout, 3-1 to Benton's Matt Welliver in overtime. Easter will look for his second fifth-place medal in as many years today.
Three other area wrestlers are assured of a medal.
Claysburg-Kimmel's Ty Dively (138), Central Cambria's Tony Risaliti (160) and Northern Bedford's Quinton Hixson (285) joined Easter and Weston in the consolation semifinals. Risaliti and Hixson won their bouts. Risaliti earned a 3-0 win over South Fayette's Mike Fetchet, and Hixson defeated Fort Cherry's Southwest Regional champ Corey Garry, 5-2.
Risaliti and Hixson will wrestle in the third-place final today, alongside the championship finals, fifth-place and seventh-place finals, all set for 2 p.m. Both will look to avenge their only loss of the tournament.
Risaliti wrestles Central Columbia's Kurt Meske, an 11-7 quarterfinal winner over the Red Devil senior. Forest Hills' Cody Law and Bentworth's Francis Mizia will wrestle for the title in an all-Southwest Regional matchup.
Hixson will take on Reynolds' Blake Heim, who pinned him in 5:24 in the quarterfinals.
Dively will also wrestle for fifth-place today.
Weston (37-9) and Barnes wrestled to a scoreless first period before Weston escaped. Barnes took him down, but Weston escaped and scored what appeared to be a takedown, but it was waved off by the referee. Barnes escaped in the third, and Weston nearly got another takedown with 20 seconds left, but it was not to be.
"The Barnes kid is no slouch," Packer said. "So, he can be proud of where he's at right now."
The Bedford coaches had some complaints about the refereeing in Easter's consolation loss. A takedown by Easter (37-7) was waved off during regulation, and Weliver's OT takedown was questionable.
"He almost had a takedown at the edge, and didn't get the call," Bedford coach Brian Creps said. "Then, there was a takedown at the edge that went the other way."
After his quarterfinal loss, Risaliti (37-4) went 3-0 on Friday, pinning Pequea Valley's Mitchell Ball in overtime to reach the medal round and ringing up a 17-2 technical fall over Tri-Valley's Sam Scheib before his win over Fetchet.
"The first group of matches up until [the technical fall]...I felt out of place," Risaliti said. "I didn't feel like I was wrestling my style. Finally [against Scheib] everything clicked. I felt great going out there, and it showed."
"That definitely brings everything back to reality," CC coach Bob Nikolishen said. "We haven't had the best of tournaments, with losing [Ben] Rager, and he's Dr. Risaliti. He's making everything better."
Hixson (35-3) secured a medal with a last-second takedown of Lakeview's Sam Breese for a 6-5 win, got by Cambridge Springs' Justin East, 3-2, and then did something rare for a heavyweight against Garry. He used a funk roll, which is a defensive move something usually only lightweights and middleweights use, for a takedown in the first period. Hixson smiled at the NBC coaches as the final seconds ticked off the clock, and the NBC fans celebrated.
"All of the lightweights have been taught [the funk roll]," Hixson said. "I thought 'I'm going to get taken down here, so I'll try something.' That's the first thing that popped into my head. I've never seen a heavyweight do that before. That was pretty much the match right there."
"The funk surprised me," NBC coach Brian Dutchcot said. "That was something that was fun to see for Quinton. He scrambled just like a lightweight. In practice, we've been goofing around. We goof around with it every once in awhile."
Dively (39-4) lost in the quarterfinals, 6-4 to East Juniata's Sean Heggs, but then went 2-1, defeating Tri-Valley's Blake Bowman, 9-2 and Northeast Bradford's Zack Green, 6-4, before losing to Montoursville's David Batkowski, 2-1.
Moshannon Valley's Dylan Ludwig (182) and James Stodart (195), Bellwood-Antis' Ryan Woomer (120), Tyrone's Jared Beckwith (182) and Bedford's Jacob Krupa (220) were eliminated in the second round of the Class AA consolations.
Altoona's T.J. Brandt (126) dropped a 7-3 decision to Canon-McMillan's Colt Shorts in the second round of the Class AAA consolations, falling just short of making the medal round for the second year in a row.
Woomer, a senior who finished 31-4, was eliminated by Bermudian Springs' Brad Farley, 12-3. Farley later earned his 150th career win and is wrestling for third today.
"He had a great year," B-A coach Ron Wilson said. "I know he's hurting a little bit right now, but he's had a great career for us, and we're real proud of what he's accomplished."
Pen Argyl's Dylan Evans ended Ludwig's season and career, 14-6. Evans slipped through a few headlock attempts for takedowns of Ludwig, who finished with a 24-5 record.
"I had a good year," Ludwig said. "I was in the district finals, placed fifth at regionals and got to come down here with my teammate, James. I was one match away from placing."
Stodart also ran into a buzzsaw in Saucon Valley's Ray O'Donnell, who ended the Black Knight's junior season with a 12-1 win. Stodart, who now holds the school record for most wins in a season, ended up with a 40-3 mark.
"It's frustrating," Mo Valley coach Justin Fye said, "because they're capable of getting a medal here. They both know that in their head."
Beckwith, a sophomore who ended with a 31-13 mark, was pinned in 3:26 in the second round of consys by Northwestern Lehigh's Levi Veppert.
Krupa looked like he would be moving on, but Palmerton's Kane Kralik escaped right at the third-period buzzer to tie the score, 2-2, and send the bout into overtime. Kralik countered a Krupa shot in OT and scored the winning takedown to win, 4-2. Krupa ended his senior season with a 35-12 record.
Brandt was leading Shorts, 2-0, and riding late in the second period when Shorts reversed him to his back for five points. Shorts added a takedown in the third to eliminate Brandt, a three-time qualifier who finished with a 30-5 record.
"He got a little high with the legs, and the kid pulled him through for five," Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. "He gave it his all out here. He didn't leave anything standing. I'm not happy with how it turned out, but hopefully he uses this as a stepping stone for next year."
Tournament notes: The Class AAA semifinals are at 9 a.m., and the finals are at 7 p.m. .... Richland's two-time state John Rizzo got a scare in the 220-pound semis. He slammed Fort LeBoeuf's Evan Daley as time expired, but Daley eventually got up, and Rizzo won, 13-6. ... Bethlehem Catholic leads the Class AA team race with 96 points and four finalists. Reynolds is second with 57.5. ... Canon McMillan leads the AAA race by 28 points, 58-30, over Central Dauphin.