Amonn Ohl and Zack Witmer of St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy knew they were going home with medals before they hit the mats at the PIAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday afternoon.
The freshmen just didn’t know which medal they would earn.
Ohl ended his season with a sixth-place finish at 106 pounds, and Witmer captured fifth at 120.
“I would’ve like to have won that (consolation) semifinals match against (Quaker Valley’s Conner) Redinger to go for third and fourth,” Ohl said. “I couldn’t pull it off, but it’s not bad because I’m going to be back next year.”
Witmer added: “I’m a little disappointed, obviously. I came in here to win. I ended up getting fifth, which wasn’t the goal, but it’s what we have. I just got to start training for next year.”
Witmer got a rematch with Reynolds’ Andrew Ischo, whom he beat 6-0 to reach the semifinals. In the second meeting, the match’s first points were not earned until the third period.
Ischo used a solid ride in the second period to keep Witmer from escaping. In the third, Witmer returned the favor with a strong ride, but he picked up two near-fall points and shut out Ischo 2-0.
“I felt like I wrestled my best match of the tournament today, even though it was 2-0,” Witmer said. “I wrestled a more complete match than when I beat him 6-0 in the quarterfinals. I felt better on my feet and controlled the pace.”
Ohl took on Benton’s Gable Strickland and the duo also had a scoreless first period.
Strickland picked up near-fall points and a takedown to Ohl’s escape and reversal in the second. In the final period, Strickland got an escape and stifled numerous Ohl shot attemps for a 5-3 victory.
“This whole tournament has been something I’ve never experienced before,” Ohl said. “You can’t explain this to someone coming into it for their first time, unless they’ve been here or watched it. It’s good to be here and get it over with.”
For Wolves coach Pat Flynn, his freshmen were solid all season long. Now, he gets another year to work with them and get them higher up the podium.
“(Ohl) had high goals. For him to do what he did, I’m super proud of him,” Flynn said. “Zack showed some moxie there to squeeze the guy and get the tilt. He earned it and did a good job.”