Hook eager to wrestle his way to Hershey
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Redbank Valley senior Aaron Hook had documentation from a doctor that identified the splotch on his skin as the aftermath of a staph infection.
But officials at the PIAA Class AA team tournament in Hershey in early February went with their own opinion and deemed Hook ineligible to wrestle because of a case of ringworm.
Hook remained on the sidelines of the state's biggest dual meet stage while Redbank Valley made its debut in the tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals. He's now hell-bent on returning to Hershey, where a second chance awaits in the form of the individual championships.
The PIAA Class AA Northwest Regional tournament, set to begin at 5:15 p.m. Friday and continue Saturday at Sharon High School, stands between states and Hook, who claimed his first District 9 title Saturday when he defeated Cranberry's Zach Bruce, 5-1, in the finals of the 182-pound class.
“It was a bunch of anger and stuff built up that motivated me to do well at districts,” said Hook, who was the No. 1 seed and improved to 31-2 for the season. “I think regionals will be more of a test for me.”
Hook and Redbank Valley's other seven regional qualifiers must finish in the top three to advance to the PIAA championships, which begin Thursday at the Giant Center. Two of the Bulldogs, junior Willie Gruver (113 pounds) and senior Ty Haines (145), are returning state qualifiers.
There are plenty of reasons to expect a rise in the number of representatives at Hershey this season, coach Mike Kundick acknowledged. Thus far, this group of Bulldogs has accomplished more than any of its predecessors. And that success is unlikely to disappear simply because District 10 wrestlers enter the mix.
“We've wrestled D-10 all year,” Kundick said. “That's why we go to the Northeast tournament and the Grove City tournament. We try to wrestle D-10 as often as possible.”
As district champions, Hook and sophomore Cal Haines (220) hold the top spots in their respective weight classes.
Cal Haines hopes to continue a postseason run that he's still trying to wrap his head around.
“Last year, I didn't think I had any chance at being a district champ this year,” he said. “But I definitely got a lot stronger just from lifting over the summer and working hard.”
Following heart-breaking losses in the district finals, four Bulldogs share sides of their respective brackets with the District 10 champions in the regional tournament.
Gruver (113), a returning district champion, lost by fall in the finals after Kane's Cody Blankenship caught him in a vulnerable position late in the third period.
Junior Mitch Blose (126) lost by one point in the title bout.
Ty Haines (145) lost, 4-2, in overtime to Brookville's Zach Vroman, an opponent with whom he split two regular-season matches.
“I knew it'd be close,” Ty Haines said. “It is getting old. We know each other's stuff. It just comes down to whoever's day it is, and it wasn't my day.”
And senior Cole Shirey (160) dropped a 2-1 decision in the tiebreaker period of his title bout.
Rebounding is the top priority for each.
“It's riding on me a lot,” said Shirey, whose one-point loss in the third-place match of last season's regional tournament kept him from reaching the PIAA round. “I feel a lot of pressure from my family and from myself. I'm expecting a lot more out of myself than I ever have before.”
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.
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Pennsylvania’s ‘Grand Canyon’ offers something for everyone
- Court attire can have impact, Allegheny, Westmoreland public defenders say
- Pope’s South American homecoming to spotlight poor, environment
- Pirates trust eye test when voting for all-stars
- Police again looking for missing 75-year-old man
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 5, 2015
- Opera Theater’s Summerfest ranges from classics to world premiere
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Tunisia imposes state of emergency after terrorist attacks
- Conneaut Lake park turnaround to be arduous task