Southmoreland's Griffiths, Ligonier Valley's Patrick denied in state wrestling finals
HERSHEY — Not everyone goes home with a gold medal from the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships.
Only 14 champions are crowned at Giant Center.
At least Southmoreland junior Tyler Griffiths and Ligonier Valley junior Robby Patrick have another year to capture gold.
Griffiths and Patrick had first-place medals within their grasps Saturday in the finals only to have them yanked away.
Griffiths (38-3) took a 3-0 second-period lead in his 132-pound match with Brian Courtney of Athens, the returning champion at 126. Griffiths was on the attack and taking the match to Courtney when the senior got an escape and then countered a Griffiths shot to take him down and pin him with a cradle.
“I was following my game plan,” Griffiths said. “I pretty much dominated the match. I got into bad position on one of my shots, and it cost me. There was nothing I could do when he locked in the cradle.”
Despite the loss, Griffiths wants to use the tournament as a stepping-stone in his career.
“I think the way he wrestled, he proved to himself that he can wrestle with anyone,” Southmoreland coach Steve Santia said. “The style of his wrestling went from 0 to 100. I'm proud of him. For two-and-a half periods he was dominating (Courtney).”
Patrick (38-2) was trying to avenge his only loss of the season, but Susquehanna Township sophomore Edmond Ruth used a takedown in overtime for a 3-1 victory at 152.
It was a tough loss for Patrick, who was ruled out of bounds during a first-period takedown attempt.
“We thought he had it, but he couldn't get his arm around to finish,” Ligonier Valley coach Ton Brown said. “Robby is devastated right now. He's questioning what he has to do to get a call.
“There isn't a harder worker here. I still think he's the best wrestler in the weight class.”
Patrick did not want to talk after his match.
The WPIAL had only one state champion — Jefferson-Morgan junior Gavin Teasdale, who defeated Bermudian Springs senior Austin Clabaugh, 13-5, in the 126-pound final.
It was Teasdale's third PIAA title, becoming the 44th wrestler to achieve that. Teasdale (40-0, 122-0) is in line to become the next four-time undefeated champion.
“They all stand out in their different ways,” Teasdale said. “Last year, it was points. This year, it was offensive domination. I feel like I separated myself even more this year than I did last year from the group of people I was with.”
Beth-Center sophomore Dominic Fundy reached the finals at 182 but lost to Saegertown junior Cody Mulligan, 6-0.
Derry sophomore Dom DeLuca (37-8) finished third at 182 after he defeated Fort LeBoeuf sophomore Julian Gorring, 2-0, in overtime.
Frazier freshman Thayne Lawrence (37-6) finished third at 138 with a 7-2 victory against Tri-Valley senior Sammy Hepler, avenging a quarterfinal loss. Ligonier Valley junior Alex Caldwell was fifth at 138.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.