Hempfield's Krivus joins program's group of state champs
Moments before Sam Krivus was to receive his gold medal for winning his first state wrestling title Saturday night, the Hempfield sophomore stood in the entrance to the arena staring at the mats.
His eyes were wide open, and he was in deep thought, taking in his accomplishment at the PIAA Class AAA championships at Giant Center in Hershey.
“It hasn't sunk it yet; it may take a couple weeks,” said Krivus about becoming the school's ninth state champion and first since Jake Kemerer in 2009. “This is awesome, the greatest feeling in the world — knowing all the hard work I've put in over the year finally paid off.”
Krivus (40-3), who is 85-7 for his career, rolled through his four opponents at the state tournament, including Canon-McMillan junior Dalton Macri, 3-1, in the 120-pound final. He outscored his four opponents, 30-3.
He also defeated Oley Valley junior Joey Fick, 8-0; Nazareth junior Tyler Tarsi, 15-0; and Northampton junior Zach Valley, 4-2.
In the finals, Krivus fought off a takedown attempt late in the first period by Macri. He eventually turned the attempt into his own takedown when he caught Macri in a front headlock. He escaped in the second period for a 3-0 lead.
“I scrambled my way out of it,” Krivus said. “You're taught just never give up anything, and I came out on top, which was good for me.”
It was the fourth time Krivus has beaten Macri this season.
“The matches are usually close,” Krivus said. “He always pushes you and tries to get stalls called against you. I like slowing the pace and getting him out of his game plan.”
It was quite a season for Krivus, who also became a two-time WPIAL and Westmoreland County Coaches' Association champion.
Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine, one of Hempfield's three two-time winners — the others are Brian Burrows and Kemerer — said he was concerned about the Macri match.
“Sam dominated throughout — not only this weekend, but the last couple of tournaments,” DeAugustine said. “The good thing about Sam, he's wrestled in big tournaments before and he's used to this environment.”
Krivus placed third in 2012 after losing his first-round match and then winning the next five. He has won nine consecutive matches in Hershey. He would like to continue that roll the next two years.
“Being Hempfield's first three-time champion is in the back of my mind,” Krivus said. “I have to keep working hard to do that.”
DeAugustine said for Krivus to become a three- or even a two-time champion, he has to grind things out and get a little meaner.
“He has the natural ability, and everyone will be gunning for him next year,” DeAugustine said. “Sam winning means a lot to the program. The kids there have seen how hard Sam works. It's all summer long, non-stop.”
He is the fourth state champion at Hempfield since 2007.
“To have that many state champs the last couple years has helped,” DeAugustine said. “It's exciting for the program, and hopefully, the younger guys will look up to Sam and they realize hard work does pay off.”