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Southmoreland's Griffiths earns opening-round win at state tourney

Paul Schofield
| Thursday, March 9, 2017, 4:27 p.m.
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths wrestles Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths wrestles Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Shawn Broadway wrestles Pen Argyl's Nick Reto in the 126-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Shawn Broadway wrestles Pen Argyl's Nick Reto in the 126-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Shawn Broadway wrestles Pen Argyl's Nick Reto in the 126-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Shawn Broadway wrestles Pen Argyl's Nick Reto in the 126-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Ligonier Valley's Robby Patrick cools down after wrestling Saucon Valley's Dane Csencsits in the 152-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Robby Patrick cools down after wrestling Saucon Valley's Dane Csencsits in the 152-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths warms up prior to wrestling Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Ligonier Valley's Robby Patrick wrestles Saucon Valley's Dane Csencsits in the 152-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Robby Patrick wrestles Saucon Valley's Dane Csencsits in the 152-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale wrestles Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale wrestles Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Hunter Jones is consoled by coach Jason Luster after losing to Mahanoy's Colin Fegley in the 160-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Hunter Jones is consoled by coach Jason Luster after losing to Mahanoy's Colin Fegley in the 160-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale drinks water before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale drinks water before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths wrestles Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths wrestles Benton's Colton Babcock in the 132-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Dom DeLuca takes a blood timeout while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Dom DeLuca takes a blood timeout while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Dom DeLuca prepares to wrestle Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Dom DeLuca prepares to wrestle Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale warms up before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale warms up before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale warms up before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Jefferson-Morgan's Gavin Teasdale warms up before wrestling Notre Dame's Nick Vonelli during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Dom DeLuca bleeds while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Dom DeLuca bleeds while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Dom DeLuca bleeds while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Dom DeLuca bleeds while wrestling Susquehanna Township's Devin Evans in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Mt. Pleasant's Austin Mihalchik wrestles Saucon Valley's Paul Miller during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Austin Mihalchik wrestles Saucon Valley's Paul Miller during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell celebrates his upset over Valley View's Brett Uhrin in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell celebrates his upset over Valley View's Brett Uhrin in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Hunter Jones wrestles Mahanoy's Colin Fegley in the 160-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Hunter Jones wrestles Mahanoy's Colin Fegley in the 160-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell wrestles Saucon Valley's Angelo Mahaffey in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell wrestles Saucon Valley's Angelo Mahaffey in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell wrestles Valley View's Brett Uhrin in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Alex Caldwell wrestles Valley View's Brett Uhrin in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Kutztown's Tyler Fisher is consoled by his coaches after a 4-3 loss to Scranton Prep's Bruce Parola in the 170-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kutztown's Tyler Fisher is consoled by his coaches after a 4-3 loss to Scranton Prep's Bruce Parola in the 170-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
A wrestler warms up during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
A wrestler warms up during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson watches the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson watches the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Burrell's Anthony Marra wrestles Palmerton's Jared Mooney in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Anthony Marra wrestles Palmerton's Jared Mooney in the 182-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Frazier's Thayne Lawrence wrestles Hughesville's Braden Stahlnecker in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Frazier's Thayne Lawrence wrestles Hughesville's Braden Stahlnecker in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Derry's Noah Wiencek receives a hug from coach Mike Weinell during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Derry's Noah Wiencek receives a hug from coach Mike Weinell during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Southmoreland's Ryan Mauro is consoled by his coaches during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Ryan Mauro is consoled by his coaches during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Frazier's Thayne Lawrence wrestles Hughesville's Braden Stahlnecker in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Frazier's Thayne Lawrence wrestles Hughesville's Braden Stahlnecker in the 138-pound bout during the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson watches the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson watches the opening rounds of the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, at Giant Center in Hershey.

HERSHEY — Southmoreland junior Tyler Griffiths isn't on the school's track team, but he did clear a major hurdle Thursday during the opening day of the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships.

He finally won a first-round match at Giant Center.

Griffiths (37-2) used a takedown in the first 10 seconds of his bout and breezed to a 3-0 victory against Benton junior Colton Babcock at 132 pounds. He dominated Babcock from the top position, not allowing him to escape for nearly four minutes.

“I figured I was going win this match,” Griffiths said. “He wasn't getting out on me. The past two years I lost in this round, so that was on my mind. I didn't want to drop into the consolation round.”

Griffiths placed eighth as a freshman in 2015 and didn't place last season. He'll face Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt junior Bodee Tolbert (36-14) in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. Friday. Tolbert won two matches, including a 2-1 upset of Reynolds junior Hunter Michaels.

Griffiths' third point of the match came late when Babcock was called for unsportsmanlike for throwing multiple hard cross faces to Griffiths' head.

“It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win here,” Southmoreland coach Steve Santia said. “It depends what kid comes to wrestle. Tyler just needs to continue to wrestle tough. If he does, good things can happen.”

Griffiths was one of five Westmoreland County wrestlers to advance to the quarterfinals. Joining Griffiths are Ligonier Valley juniors Alex Caldwell and Robby Patrick, Derry sophomore Dom DeLuca and Burrell senior Anthony Marra.

Caldwell (30-10) used two 8-4 victories to get to the quarterfinals at 138. He defeated Saucon Valley junior Angelo Mahaffey in the preliminary round and then toppled Valley View senior Brett Uhrin, the Northeast champion, in the first round.

He'll face Slippery Rock junior Michael Doerflinger (24-5).

“I don't know much about him, and that's OK,” Caldwell said. “I like wrestling different people.

“I'm one that lacks confidence, and getting these two wins will help me. Everyone is good up here; those who win are strong mentally.”

Patrick (36-1) scored 15 consecutive points after allowing a two-point reversal to Kane sophomore Aiden Huilings in a 17-2 technical fall win at 152. Patrick, known for his tilt, easily turned Huilings to his back for 11 points in the second period.

“A win is a win, and I move on,” said Patrick, who was a surprising two-match loser in 2016. “I've been waiting all year to get back here. Now I'm focused on Friday. It's a big day.”

Patrick was so focused on his match he didn't realize his teammate had won.

“That's great for Alex,” Patrick said. “I just focus on myself and nothing else when I'm preparing for my match.”

Patrick will face Northwestern Lehigh junior Caleb Clymer (40-4) in the quarterfinals. The Class AA semifinals are at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

DeLuca and Marra picked up wins at 182.

DeLuca won a physical, 3-1 decision against Susquehanna Township senior Devin Evans. DeLuca (34-7) received a bloody nose in the battle and was constantly being told by his coach, Mike Weinell, to stay calm when Evans elbowed him and poked his eye.

“This place is crazy being here for the first time,” DeLuca said. “I was a little nervous before the match.”

DeLuca received a penalty point (locked hands) and an escape in the second period. He received another penalty point when he was poked in the eye in the third period.

He'll face Troy senior Zach Zimmerman (31-3) in the quarterfinals.

Marra (30-9) breezed to a 10-2 victory against Palmerton senior Jared Mooney. He'll face Saegertown junior Cody Mulligan (43-4) in the quarters.

Blairsville senior Jeremy Moore (35-4) was a 9-6 winner over Greenville sophomore Jacob McMaster at 195.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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