Southmoreland wrestlers refocus in time for PIAA tournament
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Adversity is something that Southmoreland wrestlers Austin Griffiths and Jacob Beistel were forced to deal with in the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional last week. Both wrestlers dropped out of the winner's bracket, but each showed the mental and physical resolve to earn a spot at the PIAA tournament, to be held Thursday through Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Griffiths (32-4), a sophomore 106-pounder, lost in the regional semifinal but regrouped and earned a 6-3 decision over Burgettstown's Austin McDermitt in the consolation final. Beistel (34-5), a freshman competing in the 285-pound weight class, was dealt a quarterfinal loss, but managed to earn a 6-5 win over Moshannon Valley's Jack Brunnell in the fifth-place match to advance to the state tournament.
“It was definitely tough, but I stayed strong and stayed focused,” Beistel said. “It definitely gives me momentum, and I'm excited to see what I can do.”
As a freshman, Beistel will be making his debut at the state tournament. He is the only ninth-grader in the heavyweight bracket.
“It's really cool that I'm the only freshman,” Beistel said. “I'm looking forward to wrestling all of them and hopefully showing up some of them.”
Beistel's tournament begins with a preliminary-round bout against Sam Breese. Breese (33-4), a junior from Lakeview High School, is the top seed from the Northwest Region.
“Jacob could have crumbled (at regionals), but he showed a lot,” Southmoreland coach Ryan Shaw said. “He really wanted to get to states, and he has a great opportunity to get to the medal stand if he wrestles his best.”
For Beistel, the key to success will depend on whether or not he can step up his offensive game.
“I need to score more on my feet and do a better job of holding people down on the bottom,” Beistel said. “I think winning is a goal, but my real goal is to place. There's a little bit of pressure, but I'm ready to go.”
While Beistel is new to the state level of competition, Griffiths has been there and found success. As a freshman, Griffiths lost his first match at states but came back to win five in a row to place third.
“With Austin, he knows what to expect and maybe that is a benefit for him,” Shaw said. “Mentally, he has shown a lot of growth. He is a lot more mature and he's preparing to win. He can win it all. That's been his goal since the beginning of the year.”
Griffiths will open the tournament against Wilson senior Jaryd Flank (32-2), the second seed from the Southeast Region.
Like his younger teammate, Griffiths is hoping to ride the momentum gained at the regional tournament.
“I liked that after I lost, I still bounced back and refocused,” Griffiths said. “I know that I have to be warmed up and ready to go.”
Griffiths, like all the wrestlers at states, is competing at a high level. But he believes he can still elevate his performance.
“I've gotten a little better (each week) and I can still fine-tune some things,” Griffiths said. “I'll be ready to wrestle my match and go to the finals.”
The three-day event will begin with preliminary-round matches at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers add cornerback, cut roster to 53
- Rossi: Baseball needs a new schedule
- Pirates rout Cardinals to keep things interesting in NL Central
- Steelers remain confident in defense
- State lawmaker proposes increasing cost of fishing licenses
- Pirates reliever Liz new, improved
- Dozens of cats rescued from trash-filled home in Arnold
- Marine from Mt. Oliver honored for fire rescue
- Berry wins Steelers’ punting job; Wing traded to Giants
- LaBar: Best next opponent for Brock Lesnar
- Connellsville Area School District to honor Hall of Fame inductees