Southmoreland wrestler rallies from 5 points down to win PIAA semifinal at Hershey
HERSHEY — Most wrestlers don't recover from giving up a five-point move at the PIAA Class AA wrestling tournament.
Southmoreland junior Tyler Griffiths did.
After giving up the move midway through the first period of his semifinal-round match against Pequea Valley sophomore Gabe Miller, Griffiths didn't panic and rallied for 12-9 victory.
Griffiths scored seven consecutive points in the third period (reversal, three-point nearfall and two-point nearfall) to take an 11-7 lead.
After giving up a reversal and got an escape and held off Miller's late attempts. It was Miller's first loss (42-1) of the season.
Griffiths (38-2) will wrestle in the finals at 2 p.m. Saturday against Athens senior Brian Courtney (42-2).
"I really don't even know what it feels like yet," Griffiths said, trying to catch his breath.
"I'm out of breath and tired. I didn't even know if I was going to win the match the whole time. Once I won the match, I couldn't even believe I came back. I couldn't believe I came back from five points (down)."
Griffiths usually is in close, low-scoring matches. He won his quarterfinal match 4-0 earlier in the day against Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt's Bodee Tolbert.
But he was forced to open things up against Miller. Down 5-0, Griffiths was able to get a late reversal and two-point nearfall in the first period to trim the lead to 5-4.
"For me to come back five points is a pretty big deal," Griffiths said. "I was only down 5-4 and I know I can come back on anybody one point down, but I came back five so it just shows you one point doesn't really matter.
"This does help my confidence, being down like that and coming back. I know that no matter what, being down like that and coming back, I can win."
Ligonier Valley junior Robby Patrick joined Griffiths in the finals.
He recorded a 16-1 technical fall (3 minutes, 35 seconds) win against Pen Argyl junior Chase Anklam. Patrick (38-1) began his day with a 5-3 win against Northwestern Lehigh's Caleb Clymer.
Patrick pumped his fist after beating Clymer.
"He was ranked third in the state, and this was the round that I lost in a year ago," Patrick said. "I knew the quarterfinals would be the toughest round for me. Last year at this time, I was in a dark, dark place. I've been thinking about that all season."
Now Patrick gets a shot a Susquehanna Township sophomore Edmond Ruth, who handed Patrick his only loss of the season at the Juniata tournament in January.
"I get to avenge my only loss of the season," Patrick said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Ruth (39-0) wrestled in Class AAA in 2016.
Against Anklam, Patrick used his tilt to rack up 10 nearfall points. He led 10-0 after one period.
Derry sophomore Dom DeLuca also reached the semifinals, but he lost to Saegertown junior Cody Mulligan, 11-0.
Jefferson-Morgan junior Gavin Teasdale (39-0) rolled into the finals with a 20-5 technical fall win against Boiling Springs sophomore Kollin Myers.
Teasdale will face Bermudian Springs senior Austin Clabaugh (41-4) in the finals. Clabaugh blanked Quaker Valley sophomore John Rocco Kazalas, 5-0.
Beth-Center sophomore Dominic Fundy is in the 182-pound final following a 3-2 win against Fort LeBoeuf sophomore Justin Gorring.
South Park senior Dallas Bulsak at 145 and South Side Beaver junior Bishop McCoy at 220 dropped the semifinal matches.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib