Irwin: Still not a fan of PIAA’s finals, consy schedule

For the second year in a row, the championship finals and the consolation finals for third, fifth and seventh were held at the same time on the Giant Center floor.

And for the second year in a row, I didn’t like it.

I’ve written it before, and I’ll write it again, the championship finals should have their own time, take center stage and not have to share the floor with the consolation bouts.

Those bouts take fans, wrestlers, coaches and the media’s attention away from the championship finals – even for the biggest title bouts.

Take for instance one moment on press row, when one of my fellow media members returned to press row after the much anticipated 160-pound Class AAA finals bout between Kennard Dale superstar Chance Marsteller and Central Dauphin’s returning state champion Garrett Peppelman ended with Marsteller rolling to a 17-5 win.

Marsteller, a three-time state champ who is 125-0 in his career, hit a huge hip toss in the first period for five points and drew a huge reaction from the crowd.

The reporter asked me “Did Martsteller win?”

“Really?” I asked. “Didn’t you hear the crowd after that throw?”

“I know, I know,” he said. “I was probably the only one in the arena watching the seventh-place match.”

Am I the only one who doesn’t like the new setup? Hardly. Last year, Jan Clark, a three-time state champion at Northern Bedford from 1975 to 1977, wrote a letter to the PIAA in regard to how bad the new format is.

He was likely not the only one who let the PIAA know they would like the finals to be at one time and the consolations to have another time. But, unfortunately, the PIAA didn’t budge.

One thing the PIAA thankfully hasn’t changed is the introduction of the finalists in a darkened arena with spotlights on them.

And the video with the rock music played on the overhead video screen after all the placers have been brought out is a pre-finals item that should stay. The presentation shows the highlights of the tournament and details the amount of wrestlers in each class in the state, the number who entered the tournament, the number of finalists (28 in each class) and champions (14 in each class).

“It gave me chills when it said 28 finalists, and me knowing I was one of those 28 finalists,” said Bedford’s Ryan Easter, who lost to Bethlehem Catholic’s Darian Cruz, 16-4, in the 120-pound Class AA finals. “It put chills up my body because I knew I worked so hard over the summer, during the season, my whole life just to get there.

“Right there, it kind of relieved all the pressure because I worked so hard to get there. So, whatever happened, happened. I got a silver medal, and that’s pretty good.”

Flo Wrestling enters arena

How big is the state tournament? Every round in both classes was broadcast live online on Flo Wrestling this season. For most of the tournament, there were six mats, and there was a camera for every mat.

One of the people running the cameras was Chestnut Ridge freshman Conner Buttry.

Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at He can be followed on Twitter at ToddIrwin1.