For Class AA heavyweights, redemption at states
HERSHEY — Allan Beattie and Jake Beistel didn't have fond memories of the 2013 PIAA Class AA wrestling championships.
Both heavyweights went 0-2 and were eliminated from competition the first day.
Things were different Thursday during the opening round of the tournament at Giant Center.
Both advanced to Friday's quarterfinals with victories. Class AA resumes at 9 a.m. Friday.
Beattie, a Burrell junior, recorded a first-period pin at 1:17 of North Schuylkill junior Nathan Gadinski. Beattie (41-5) will face Wyalusing sophomore Dalton Chilson (43-4), who pinned Fairfield senior Brett Harris.
Southmoreland sophomore Beistel (36-4) had a tough time. He needed overtime to edge Reynolds sophomore Gene Ringer, 3-2, in an ultimate rideout. Beistel was able to keep Ringer from escaping in the fourth overtime. He will face ELCO junior Wes Bankus (43-13).
They were among 18 wrestlers from the WPIAL to advance. The group includes two-time PIAA champion Jason Nolf of Kittanning and returning champion George Phillippi of Derry.
For Beattie and Beistel, it was a relief.
“It was pretty big getting a win,” Beattie said. “Last year motivated me. I knew I wasn't wrestling my ‘A' game, and I let things get into my head, and I shouldn't have.
“This year I've worked every single day, and there's not a day that I haven't thought about going 0-2 here last year. It's a motivation thing.”
Beattie dominated, getting a quick takedown with a throw. He was able to turn his opponent and secure a pin.
Beistel and Ringer had a different match. Neither came close to getting a takedown, though Beistel said he should have. The match was tied 2-2 heading to the final 30-second period. Beistel secured the win by keeping Ringer from scoring.
“I was confident I could hold him down,” Beistel said. “I've been working a lot on my top position. I knew I could hold him down if I needed to.
“(The win) was a big confidence boost. My nerves were really bad this morning, so I'm glad I got the jitters out of the way. I'm excited to comeback Friday and the quarterfinals.”
A Southwest Region winner this season, South Park sophomore Jake Wentzel, at 138 pounds, made it clear with his first-round bout that he means business.
A 55-second fall pushed Wentzel (37-1) into the quarterfinals, where he'll meet Bethlehem Catholic freshman Mike Labriola (31-7).