Griffiths earns 2nd straight PIAA medal
Southmoreland sophomore Austin Griffiths earned his second PIAA Class AA medal over the weekend while participating in the PIAA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
But he came up short of his ultimate goal, being the first wrestler in school history to win a title.
Griffiths (36-6, 74-11) finished fifth at 106 pounds in Class AA by avenging a loss to Forest Hills sophomore Triston Law at the Southwest Regional, winning this time 1-0. He won four of six bouts.
“In my two losses, I gave up too many big points,” Griffiths said. “It seems I'm pretty good at everything and then I give up big points.
“I have to get mentally tougher. I have to work on fighting back in matches if I get down.”
Griffiths finished third as a freshman at 106. He knows he's a better wrestler than he's shown.
He plans on taking a few days and getting to work for next year.
Southmoreland coach Ryan Shaw said he wouldn't mind if Griffiths took some time to recover from a tough season.
“When Austin takes guys down and moves his feet, he's as good as anyone,” Shaw said. “He had a tough quarterfinal loss and came back to beat a good wrestler (Tyshawn White), who I thought was the best on his feet in the tournament and controlled him, and then lost to a regional champion.
“He regrouped and came back with a win on Saturday. It's great to finish on top in your final match and it's something to build on for next year.”
Shaw said Griffiths is a very gifted wrestler who needs to become tougher.
“He has to figure out how to wrestle better when he's down in a match,” Shaw said. “He takes too long to regroup. He'll get better.”
Southmoreland freshman Jake Beistel, who ended the season with 34 victories, dropped his two bouts in the tournament.
Despite the losses, Shaw said he felt his young heavyweight performed well.
He dropped a 9-2 decision to Lakeview junior Sam Breese and then was pinned in overtime by Pen Argyl junior Brady Mutton.
“It was all positive,” Shaw said. “Jake wrestled well, he just got beat. People have to realize that Jake is only a freshman.”