Title a great finish for Ridge’s McGill

HERSHEY — When Chestnut Ridge’s Jared McGill beat McGuffey’s Christian Clutter, 8-2, in the 170-pound finals of the PIAA Class 2A Championships, it marked the end of an outstanding career.

The only thing missing on his wrestling resume was a state title.

He finally added that to his resume with a dominating state tournament performance, recording three technical falls and outscoring his opponents 59-7.

When time expired, McGill pointed to the Ridge section and jumped into coach Greg Lazor’s arms. He ran to the vocal Ridge section and climbed into the stands to hug family and friends.

“It feels good,” McGill said. “A lot of the great wrestlers from this area have never gotten a gold medal, so it feels good to finally put the gold around my neck.”

McGill joined Glendale’s Brock McMillen in winning a gold medal. McMillen won his school’s first state title with a 3-2 win over Bishop McDevitt’s Chase Shields at 126 pounds.

McGill, who will continue his career at Pitt, finished his career with 161 wins, four state medals, four District 5 titles, two Southwest Regional titles and two Powerade titles.

The only area wrestler in recent years who had similar success but didn’t win a state title until his senior year was Tyrone’s A.J. Schopp, who was a four-time state placer, two-time state runner-up and compiled 160 wins.

McGill is a kid who won two Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling state titles, and then, as a freshman, knocked off Bedford’s returning state champion Jonathan Gabriel, 10-8, in the dual meet.

He went on to place sixth in Hershey as a freshman 132-pounder and took fourth at 170 as a sophomore.

McGill was 42-0 headed into last year’s state tournament, where he knocked off Wyalusing’s returning state champ Creighton Edsell, 4-2, in the 160-pound quarterfinals. And then he suffered a devastating 8-7 Port Allegheny’s Jacob Kallenborn in the semifinals.

Instead of experiencing what some call the semifinal slide – semifinalists continue losing in the consolations because they haven’t recovered mentally from the semifinal loss – he came back to finish third.

“It was a death in the family to bring up the loss to Kallenborn,” McGill said. “Now we can forget about it and move on. That loss last year was the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to me. Coming down here and redeeming myself feels great.

“I try not to look back at that (loss), but it’s always going to be in the back of your mind thinking just move forward. No matter what happens, stay positive.”

“It makes last year a little easier,” Lazor said, “because if he had never got one, it would have been a shame because he’s well deserving of the title.”

McGill finished this season with a 40-0 record – one of only five wrestlers in Class 2A to go undefeated.

McGill had beaten Clutter two other times, including the Powerade finals and the Southwest Regional finals, so he was definitely the favorite going into the state championship bout.

But he only had to remember last year, when teammate Justin McCoy, who won a state title as a junior, beat Frazier’s Thayne Lawrence in the regional finals and lost to him in the state finals.

“That was in my mind,” McGill said. “I was like I just need to go out there, wrestle my match, be 100 percent focused the whole time and have fun. That’s what the Ridge wrestling program is all about.”

Elsewhere:

n The Glendale School District and wrestling moms certainly gets behind their wrestlers.

McMillen, Suds Dubler and Cory Johnston were welcomed home on Sunday night with a parade through Coalport and fireworks. Johnston placed sixth at 220, and Dubler was a win shy of reaching the medal round at 106.

The wrestlers were sent off to states through a line of cheering kids at the elementary school.

Remember, this is the same program that produced the #rutterstrong T-shirts in support of the injured Tristan Rutter just a couple days after Rutter broke his leg at the Fred Bell Tournament.

“That’s the best thing about living in a small community and a small town,” Glendale coach Billy Dubler said. “Brock won, and the whole community won. Anyone that ever put on a Glendale singlet and dreamed about being a state champion won.

“I think our town wanted to show Brock and the boys how proud everyone is of all their hard work and finally getting a champion. Sometimes it can be a really cool thing to live in a community where everyone knows each other.”

Just as he did with the T-shirts, Dubler credited the moms for the parade and fireworks.

“Chestnut Ridge set the bar for me two years ago when they welcomed their state champ Justin McCoy home with fireworks,” Brenda Dubler, wife of Billy and mother of Suds, posted on Facebook. “Well, our tiny town and supporters have truly outdone themselves, and I couldn’t help but well up with tears of joy the first sight of the fire trucks and first crack of those fireworks!!”

“So very proud to be a part of this community and school district that rallies behind our kids. Huge thanks to all who came out to celebrate the kids’ accomplishments and helped make our welcoming parade such a special moment!!”

n West Branch, which lost to Glendale, 40-39, in that District 6 Duals quarterfinal in which the Vikings wore the #rutterstrong T-shirts, had two state placewinners in fifth-placer Derek Yingling at 182 and seventh-placer Tyler Denochick at 126.

It was the third state medal for Yingling, while it was Denochick’s first in his first appearance in Hershey.

“It’s the first time in 11 years that I’ve been coaching at West Branch that we had two guys medal in the same year,” West Branch coach Jason Bainey said.

“I’m just real excited for Tyler in his first trip down here to get a medal. And Derek improved every year, from eighth to sixth to fifth. We brought two guys, and they both medaled, so we’re excited about that.”

Yingling, who was also an excellent football player, will be continuing his wrestling career at West Point. He was knocked into the consolations by Freedom Area’s eventual runner-up Bryson Miller, 4-0. Yingling finished off his tournament with a 6-1 overtime win over Brockway’s Garrett McClintick.

“I did better than last year,” Yingling said. “I had a rough second day. I think I could have had a closer match in the quarters, but I wasn’t feeling the best.”

Denochick, who lost to Bishop McDevitt’s eventual runner-up Chase Shields, 11-5, in the quarterfinals, made the medal round with a 1-0 win over Penn Cambria’s Chase Proudfit.

Proudfit was making his third state tournament appearance.

n Six wrestlers from the Southwest Regional Class 2A Tournament won state titles, and four won from the Northwest Regional Class 3A Tournament.

Mifflin County sophomore Trey Kibe beat Lower Dauphin’s top-seeded Clayton Ulery, 6-2, to win the 160-pound title. He was the only District 6 Class 3A wrestler to win a state title. It was the fourth straight year a Mifflin County wrestler won a state title.

DuBois junior Ed Scott, coming off of a Northwest Regional title, captured a Class 3A title at 138 by pinning Nazareth’s Dashawn Farber in 3:25 in the finals.

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