Southmoreland's Beistel, Griffiths fall in PIAA quarters

Paul Schofield
| Friday, March 7, 2014, 11:24 p.m.

HERSHEY — Southmoreland sophomore Jake Beistel could have blamed the official for his controversial loss in the PIAA Class AA wrestling championship semifinals Friday at Giant Center.

Instead, he blamed himself for not being more aggressive.

Beistel was pinned in overtime by Pen Argyl senior Brady Mutton moments after the official didn't award him a takedown. Even his opponent thought the match was over after the move was completed.

“We thought Jake had the takedown in overtime to win it,” Southmoreland coach Ryan Shaw said. “Even the kid told a reporter he thought the match was over.”

Beistel will wrestle for fifth place after dropping a 5-1 decision to Cambria Heights senior Aaron Gill in the consolation rounds.

“I should have wrestled better,” Beistel said. “I should have scored more points.

“I need to work more and train more for next year. I want to win a state championship next year.”

He began the day with a 4-3 win over ELCO junior Wes Bankus.

Southmoreland junior teammate Austin Griffiths (113 pounds) also saw his bid for state title came up short.

Griffiths dropped a 2-0 overtime decision to Reynolds sophomore Seth Hogue and then was forced to forfeit his consolation match because of a breathing problem.

Griffiths was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had a lung contusion and fluid buildup.

“Going to the hospital wasn't fun,” Griffiths said. “I was told to take a couple weeks off and get checked by my doctor at home.

“I missed a couple opportunities during my match. I was pretty close to scoring a couple times. I just couldn't finish it. It hurt to breathe.”

Griffiths said he doesn't know when he got injured. He said he does 12-mile runs, yet he's never been so tired as during Friday's match.

He said he's looking forward to coming back his senior season to try to win the elusive gold medal.

Only four of 10 semifinalists from the WPIAL advanced to the finals.

Kittanning senior 145-pounder Jason Nolf is in the PIAA finals for a third time in four tries. The stoic two-time state champ can finish his career 176-1 with a victory in the title bout Saturday. Nolf (43-0) won by fall in the semifinals.

Avella senior 220-pounder Jake Temple (42-0) became the Eagles' first state finalist since 1988 by topping Bethlehem Catholic's Andrew Dunn, 4-2, with a reversal in the ultimate tiebreaker period of overtime. He'll meet West Branch's Reynold Maines (38-1) in a title match for the second time in eight days; Temple beat Maines, 3-2, for the Southwest title.

Burrell's Steve Edwards (45-4), who won 5-1 in the 152-pound semifinals Friday night, meets Southern Columbia sophomore Blake Marks (35-5) in the title bout.

The WPIAL's fourth Class AA finalist is South Fayette junior J.J. Walker, who won 5-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker period of overtime against Milton's Ryan Preisch in the semifinals. Walker (43-1) will meet Coudersport's Kyle Bova (35-0) in the finals.

A pair of WPIAL wrestlers who started Friday undefeated finished the night with hopes of placing no higher than fifth.

Jefferson-Morgan senior 126-pounder John Demaske (42-2) dropped a 5-1 decision in the semifinals and then lost 5-4 in the consolation semifinals. And South Fayette sophomore 132-pounder Mike Carr lost 6-4 in the quarterfinals, bounced back with two consolation-round wins and then came up short 3-2 in the loser's bracket semifinals.

Derry sophomore 120-pounder Micky Phillippi, the 2013 PIAA champ at 113, lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Phillippi (41-5) will wrestle the opponent who beat him in the quarterfinals, Bethlehem Catholic's Joey Gould (39-11), for third place.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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