Shaler's Sullivan, D'Amico place at PIAA tourney
Shaler sophomore wrestler Ryan Sullivan wrapped up a busy week for Titans athletics by reaching the 106-pound PIAA Class AAA championship match.
Sullivan, who finished the season 39-4, lost to Downington West's Doug Zapf, 5-2, in the finals.
“I wrestled tough, or I thought I wrestled tough,” said Sullivan, who was the WPIAL runner-up. “I mean, I got after it. I didn't back down. Tried to wrestle my match. He had a good strategy.”
Sullivan was the first Shaler wrestler to reach the state finals since Nick Nelson won the state championship in 2007. After the Titans waited nine years for a medalist, senior Ron D'Amico placed sixth at 220 to give them two. D'Amico went 4-3 and wrapped up his season 43-5.
Wrestling in his first state tournament, Sullivan steered clear of anxiety.
“I kind of steer clear of the wrestling, just go out there and wrestle my match,” Sullivan said. “I don't pay attention to all of the fans.”
Sullivan got to the finals with some late magic against Council Rock North's Luke Lucerne in the semifinals. A takedown with 10 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory.
A loss in the finals didn't sour Sullivan too much.
“I wanted to be a state champ,” Sullivan said. “Not many people thought I could win, but I wanted to be a state champ. It just makes me more hungry for next year.”
Here's a look at what else went on this week for Shaler:
Senior Noah Seelye reached the quarterfinals of the Western Regional tournament and earned a bid to states this weekend in Lancaster. Seelye, who finished eighth overall, was seeded 12th in the stepladder.
He upset fifth-seeded Nick Huff of Butler, 177-156, before losing to Hopewell's Collin Whiteman, 180-160.
Zach Sarnowski gave Shaler a memorable moment by opening the PIHL playoffs with an overtime win.
Sarnowski scored 3 minutes, 36 seconds into overtime to give the Titans a 6-5 win.
“There was a turnover in front by the defenseman. I gloved it down, and it was a lucky goal,” Sarnowski said. “It shot off the blocker and trickled in.”
The Titans' (10-10-1) luck didn't carry over into the next round. Mitchell Werry scored the first goal for Shaler, but Plum scored three goals in the second and third periods to wrap up a 5-2 win.
“The rest of the team is returning, and we had a close-as-a-family mindset,” Sarnowski said. “If we pick that up, we will be a top team next year.”
Senior Emily Schaefer qualified for the PIAA Class AAA championships in the 200 IM. Schaefer placed eighth at WPIALs with a time of 2:10.17.
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer. Bill West is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com.