JOHNSTOWN — Penns Valley wrestling coach Joel Brinker will have to stay busy another week.
The circumstances couldn’t make him happier.
Junior Corey Hazel captured the title of the 170-pound bracket and sophomore Curtis Decker took third at 120 as both Rams grapplers advanced to the PIAA tournament next week at Hershey’s GIANT Center.
It was how they spent their weekend at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in the Class AA southwest regional that got the pair to Hershey.
“We’ve got Monday and Tuesday in the room,” Brinker said. “Then Wednesday ... Just keep the momentum going and wrestle like they’ve been.”
Hazel decisioned Northern Bedford’s Lucas Kolinchak 6-0 in the morning’s semifinal before carrying the mojo into the evening’s final, where he pinned Jefferson-Morgan’s Bill Bowlen at 3:05.
“I’m planning on doing all I can do at Hershey,” Hazel said. “It’s my goal. Giving it everything I got.”
Hazel’s path to the regional title took him to the top of the podium at the District 6 tournament two weeks ago. According to Brinker, the momentum shouldn’t stop in Johnstown.
“I’m very excited ...” Brinker said. “Thrilled. I’m speechless, I’m so happy for him.”
Decker battled his way to third by pinning Mount Union’s Sage Moist in 28 seconds. While the placement may have proved prognosticators wrong, it didn’t phase Decker.
“They said I’d get fifth and I proved them wrong,” Decker said. “I wanted it. I wanted it, real bad. (Moist) shot in and I grabbed his forearm and took him to his back. I made sure he didn’t get off of it.”
Earlier in the day, victories over Berlin Brothersvalley’s Joe Swank (4-3) in the consolation semifinal, and South Allegheny’s Justo Hernandez (7-3) paved the way to the third-place bout.
“I’m just so happy for him, seeing what he’s put into the sport,” Brinker said. “Putting it all together in this tournament and he’s just had an awesome tournament. Hopefully he can keep it going.”