High School Sports

7 from St. Joseph’s, Penns Valley set to bring back PIAA wrestling medals — with 1 alive for title

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Kolby Franklin (195 pounds), top, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A PIAA Wrestling Championships after earning a dominant 23-9 major decision over Bellwood’s Trent Whaley on Thursday at Hershey’s Giant Center.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Kolby Franklin (195 pounds), top, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A PIAA Wrestling Championships after earning a dominant 23-9 major decision over Bellwood’s Trent Whaley on Thursday at Hershey’s Giant Center. For the CDT

Friday was a banner day for St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy as the Wolves had five of their six wrestlers clinch medals at the Class 2A PIAA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.

The Wolves have Kolby Franklin (195) wrestling for a state championship and four going for third place — Zack Witmer (132), Caleb Dowling (145), Keegan Rothrock (152) and Tyler Stoltzfus (160). Penns Valley has Baylor Shunk (120) and Malachi DuVall wrestling for seventh place.

The Centre County contingent brought 12 into the tournament and seven will bring back medals — five from St. Joseph’s and two from Penns Valley.

St. Joseph’s is second in the team standings with 91.5 points. Southern Columbia leads with 112 points.

Here’s a look at each team after Day 2:

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy

Medalists (still alive for state title): Kolby Franklin (195)

Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place still possible): Zack Witmer (132), Caleb Dowling (145), Keegan Rothrock (152), Tyler Stoltzfus (160)

Eliminated: Amonn Ohl (106)

Team score: 91.5 points, 2nd overall

Recap: Despite going 1-for-3 in the semifinals, St. Joseph’s showed its strength by rebounding in the consolations and getting all four through to wrestle for third.

Kolby Franklin defeated Quaker Valley’s Geoff Magin 16-8 in the semis and gets a rematch with Southern Columbia’s Gaige Garcia in the finals. Garcia defeated the freshman 3-2 at the Ultimate Warrior Tournament. Franklin looks to become the first state champion in program history.

“Kolby is in the state finals, and he’s the most improved on our team,” SJCA coach Pat Flynn said. “He was a heavyweight who was a takedown machine. Now he can ride guys and squeeze guys up on top. He needs to wrestle his match.”

Zack Witmer lost to Cambridge Springs’ Tye Varndell in the semis before taking out Northwestern’s John Wheeler 10-2 in the consy semifinals. Caleb Dowling dropped a tough 3-0 decision to Andrew Cerniglia of Notre Dame-Green Pond in the semis and rallied for a 6-4 win over John Rocco Kazalas of Quaker Valley for the right to battle for third.

Keegan Rothrock defeated Trent Harder of Bermudian Springs 5-4 and Tyler Stoltzfus took out Towanda’s Cooper Mosier by a 15-0 tech fall to reach their third-place matches.

“This day is a tough day for everybody. When you get your heart broken in the quarterfinals, when you had goals to be a state champ, is tough,” Flynn said. “These kids showed a lot of heart to bounce back. I’m really proud of how they responded. Hopefully, we can have one first and four thirds.”

Amonn Ohl lost by 11-5 decision to Hunter Thompson of Titusville at 106 and was eliminated.

Penns Valley

Medalists (still alive for state title): None

Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place still possible): Baylor Shunk (120), Malachi DuVall (138)

Eliminated: None

Team score: 16.5 points, 39th overall

Recap: Baylor Shunk rolled through the competition in the consolations with major decisions over Mount Pleasant’s Noah Teeter (11-1) and Port Allegheny’s Braedon Johnson (10-1) before losing 7-1 in the consy quarters to Titusville’s Hunter Thompson. The Rams senior, now a two-time state place-winner, faces Biglerville’s Blake Showers for seventh.

“Waking up this morning, I’m very proud of what these guys did in this tournament,” Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker said. “Walking out of this state, in this tournament, with a medal, shows a lot about them and the work they’ve put into this sport and to get rewarded this way, they deserve it. I’m very happy for them.”

Malachi DuVall started his day with a 6-3 loss to Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser in the quarterfinals. He rallied in the blood round for a 10-2 major decision over Rocco Bartolo of Reynolds. In the consolation quarterfinals, the Rams sophomore gave up a reversal with five seconds left in a 7-6 loss to Wilson Area’s Marckis Branford. DuVall takes on Saucon Valley’s Thomas Spirk for seventh.

“Baylor put so much effort into it. He’s a senior. Last year he didn’t get what he wanted. At least he’s walking out with something,” Brinker said. “He has a lot of good memories from this sport. As good a wrestler as he is, he’s an even better human being. This is Malachi’s first time here and being a sophomore, he has two more cracks at this. I’m very happy for Malachi and his family. Hopefully, both can come out of her with wins on Saturday.”


Medalists (still alive for state title): None

Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place still possible): None

Eliminated: Chase Chapman (132), Hunter Weitoish (152)

Team score: 7 points, T-70th overall

Recap: Chase Chapman lost his quarterfinal match to Tye Varndell of Cambridge Springs by an 18-2 technical fall. The P-O junior saw his season come to an end after losing to Joe Hester of Montrose 11-6 in the consolations.

Hunter Weitoish won his second-round consolation match by a 10-8 score over Williams Valley’s Chett Pesta before losing in the blood round to Westmont-Hilltop’s Hunter Holbay by fall in 35 seconds.

“We are very proud of them. Our hearts break for them. You’re in the blood round and so close to accomplishing your goals and fall short,” Mounties coach Brad Pataky said. “Both of them had a great year. We are very happy for them.”

Pataky feels that both his wrestlers have to pick up the slack in the offseason to get on the medal stand at Hershey

“They have all the talent in the world, to be on the podium. They know what they have to do to get back,” Pataky said. “One of the biggest things they need to do is wrestle in the offseason. They haven’t done that in the past, but if they want to get to that next level, it’s something they have to do.”

Bald Eagle Area

Medalists (still alive for state title): None

Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place still possible): None

Eliminated: Cooper Gilham (113)

Team score: 4 points, 84th overall

Recap: Cooper Gilham saw his sophomore season come to an end after going 0-2 on the day. Gilham lost his quarterfinal match to Chestnut Ridge’s Nate Holderbaum 7-6. In the consolations, the Eagles senior lost a heartbreaker to Allentown Central Catholic’s David Kreidler 4-2 in the tiebreaker.

Kreidler hit a switch to score a reversal in the second tiebreaker for the win. Gilham scored his two with a reversal in the third to make it 2-1. Kreidler escaped with 19 seconds left to force overtime.

“Cooper is the kind of kid who will rebound from this, continue to work hard and put in the time it takes to get on the podium,” BEA coach Ron Guenot said. “He can use this as motivation for next season. I’m sure he’ll rebound. Hopefully, he got the experience he needed to get on the medal stand next year.”

PIAA Class 2A Results

Team Key: Allentown Central Catholic (ACC), Bald Eagle Area (BEA), Bermudian Springs (BS), Cambridge Springs (CS), Chestnut Ridge (CR), Everett (E), Harborcreek (H), Montoursville (M), Montrose (MO), Mount Pleasant (MP), North Star (NS), Northwestern (NW), Notre Dame-Green Pond (ND), Palisades (P), Penns Valley (PV), Philipsburg-Osceola (P-O), Pope John Paul II (PLP), Port Allegheny (PA), Saegertown (S), Saucon Valley (SV), Titusville (T), Towanda (TO), St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy (SJ), Quaker Valley (QV), Westmont-Hilltop (WH), Williams Valley (WV), Wilson Area (W)

Team Scores: 1. Southern Columbia 112, 2. St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy 91.5, 3. Notre Dame-GP 68, 4. Reynolds 65, 5. Saucon Valley 58, 6. Chestnut Ridge 54.5, 7. Freedom Area 51.5, 8. Greenville 50, 9. Bishop McDevitt 45, 10. Forest Hills 42.5, 39. Penns Valley 16.5, 70T. Philipsburg-Osceola 7, 84T. Bald Eagle Area 4.


113: Nate Holderbaum, CR, dec. Cooper Gilham, BEA, 7-6; 132: Zack Witmer SJ, dec. Garret Cornell, E, 3-2; Tye Varndell, CS, tech fall Chase Chapman, P-O, 18-2 (4:30); 138: Kenny Kiser, S, dec. Malachi DuVall PV, 6-3 ; 145: Caleb Dowling, SJ, dec.. Nathan Haubert, Palisades, 3-2; 152: Ryan Vulakh, PJP, pinned Keegan Rothrock, SJ, 2:52; 160: Matt Arciuolo, SV, dec. Tyler Stoltzfus, SJ, 6-3; 195: Kolby Franklin, SJ, dec. Gable Crebs, M, 8-1.

Consolation Second Round

120: Amonn Ohl, SJ, dec. Alex Kightlinger, S, 8-5; Baylor Shunk, PV, major dec. Noah Teeter, MP, 11-1; 152: Hunter Weitoish, P-O, dec. Chett Pesta, WV, 10-8.

Consolation Third Round

113: David Kreidler, ACC, dec. Cooper Gilham, BEA, 4-2 TB2 ; 120: Hunter Thompson, T, dec. Ohl, SJ, 11-5; Shunk, PV, major dec. Braedon Johnson, PA, 10-1; 132: Joe Hester, MO dec. Chapman, P-O, 11-6; 138: DuVall, PV, major dec. Rocco Bartolo, R, 10-2; 152: Hunter Holbay, WH, pinned Weitoish, P-O, :52; Rothrock, SJ, major dec. Alex Supanic, NS, 10-2; 160: Stoltzfus, SJ, injury def. Jason Bratt, H, 4:39.


132: Tye Varndell, CS, dec. Witmer, SJ, 7-4 ; 145: Andrew Cerniglia, ND, dec. Dowling, SJ, ; 195: Franklin, SJ, vs. Geoff Magin, Quaker Valley,

Consolation Quarterfinals

120: Thompson, T, dec. Shunk, PV, 7-1; 138: Marckis Branford, W, dec. DuVall, 7-6; 152: Rothrock, SJ, dec. Hunter Holbay, WH, 3-0; 160: Stoltzfus, SJ, dec. Cade Linn, SC, 6-0.

Consolation Semifinals

132: Witmer, SJ, major dec. John Wheeler, NW, 10-2; 145: Dowling, SJ, dec. John Rocco Kazalas, QV, 6-4; 152: Rothrock, SJ, dec. Trent Harder, BS, 5-4 ; 160: Stoltzfus, SJ, tech fall Cooper Mosier, TO, 15-0 (4:58).