Bellefonte’s Ethan Richner served notice he is a force to be reckoned with and State College’s Cole Urbas suffered a stunning upset in a dramatic second day at Friday’s Class 3A PIAA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Centre County brought seven into the tournament and will come away with two state medalists as Urbas won in the blood round to join Richner, who is the only Class 3A wrestler to remain alive in the hunt for a state title.
Nazareth leads the team race with 51 points, with Bellefonte tied for 35th with 12 points and State College tied for 39th with 11 points.
In addition to the Urbas upset, 2018 PIAA 220-pound champion Hunter Catka (Sun Valley) lost to Erie Prep’s Dorian Crosby in the quarterfinals.
Here’s a look at each county team after Day 2:
Still alive for state title (1st- to 6th-place possible): Ethan Richner (152)
Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place possible): None
Eliminated: Lane Aikey (120)
Team score: 12 points, T-35th overall
Recap: Ethan Richner earned a berth in the semifinals and a PIAA medal with a 9-5 decision over Susquehannock’s Colby Romjue in the overtime tiebreaker. The Red Raider sophomore had a reversal in the first rideout and two back points in the second tiebreaker for the win. Richner (37-4) faces Kiski Area’s Cam Connor in the semis.
“One of his best traits is he doesn’t care who he wrestles or what the score is. He doesn’t get caught up in that too much. He just goes out and wrestles,” Bellefonte coach Mike Maney said. “This is his first state tournament. A lot of guys get caught up in that; he doesn’t. He had to go out and dig deep against a strong kid. He stayed focused and got the job done. He’s a solid wrestler who continues to get better. He works hard, and it’s paying off.”
Lane Aikey saw his sophomore season come to a close after losing by major decision to Cody Evans of Susquehanna Township 10-2 in the second round of consolations.
“He’s a sophomore. We have a solid group of sophomores. This was a loaded weight class,” Maney said. “Christian Fisher (Mifflin County) was a two-time state placer and he was two and out. The 120-pound weight class is brutal. I would argue it’s the toughest weight class in both double-A and triple-A. Today, he had a hard time getting his offense going. Hopefully, he comes back bigger and stronger next year and works to get on the podium.”
Still alive for state title (1st- to 6th-place possible): None
Other medalists (3rd- to 8th-place possible): Cole Urbas (195)
Eliminated: Owen Woolcott (126)
Team score: 11 points, T-39th overall
Recap: Urbas lost a stunner to Northeastern’s Jameel Coles by an 8-7 decision, shocking the Giant Center crowd.
Coles scored the opening takedown, but Urbas escaped to trail 2-1 after one. Coles chose down and reversed Urbas for the 4-1 lead. The Little Lions senior escaped and Coles threw him to his back for the four-point move and the 8-2 advantage. Urbas roared back with an escape, a penalty point and takedown but it was too little too late.
In the consolation round, Urbas earned his third career PIAA medal with a fall in 2:48 over Hampton’s Jason Hart. Urbas faces Great Valley’s Ethan Sealey in the consolation quarterfinals Saturday morning.
“It’s very tough to bounce back. It shows how mentally tough he is. Most kids don’t come back after a loss like that,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said. “He got his mindset right, and now he’s going for third. He’s a great kid who’s worked his tail off. He’s a role model to the other guys. He’s what we look for. He’s a great kid, and I couldn’t be more proud of him no matter where he finishes.”
Owen Woolcott dropped a 6-5 decision to Liberty’s Mike Torres in the consolations, ending his season.
“The best part is he’s just a sophomore. He’s young. He won a match here,” Cummins said. “Next year he comes in, he’s going to be confident and ready to go. It was a good experience for him.”
The Class 3A semifinals and consolation quarterfinals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, the final day of competition.
PIAA Class 3A Results
Team Key: Bellefonte (B), Hampton (H), Liberty (L), Northeastern (N), Susquehanna Twp (ST), Susquehannock (S), State College (SC).
Team Scores: 1. Nazareth 51, 2. Erie Cathedral Prep 48, 3. Bethlehem Catholic 47, 4. Northampton 42.5, 5.Council Rock South 40, 6. Kiski Area 37, 7. Chambersburg 33, 8. Franklin Regional 32.5 9T. Hempfield 32, 9T. Liberty 32, 35T. Bellefonte 12, 39T. State College 11.
152: Ethan Richner, B, dec. Colby Romjue, S, 9-5 TB2; 195: Jameel Coles, N, dec. Cole Urbas, SC, 8-7.
Consolation Second Round
120: Cody Evans, ST, major dec. Lane Aikey, B, 10-2; 126: Mike Torres, L, dec. Owen Woolcott, SC, 6-5.
Consolation Third Round
195: Urbas, SC, pinned Justin Hart, H, 2:48.