High School Sports

Here’s a closer look at Centre County’s wrestling medalists from the PIAA championships

Saint Joseph’s finishes 5 wrestlers on the podium at PIAA championships

Saint Joseph's wrestling coach Pat Flynn talks about his wrestlers at the end of the PIAA wrestling championships.
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Saint Joseph's wrestling coach Pat Flynn talks about his wrestlers at the end of the PIAA wrestling championships.

Freshman Kolby Franklin came up short in his bid to become the first state champion in St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy history, but the Wolves had quite a run at the 2019 PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Championships on Saturday at the Giant Center.

St. Joseph’s finished second in the team race with 95.5 points with five medalists. In addition to Franklin’s second-place finish at 195, juniors Caleb Dowling (145) and Keegan Rothrock (152) came in third, while sophomore Zack Witmer (132) and junior Tyler Stoltzfus (16) took fourth.

Other Centre County medalists in Class 2A included Penns Valley’s Baylor Shunk (120) and Malachi DuVall (13), who finished seventh. In Class 3A, State College senior Cole Urbas placed fourth, while Bellefonte sophomore Ethan Richner came in sixth.

But SJCA was the big story, and no county wrestler finished better than Franklin as a runner-up. The freshman (44-6) fell by a 5-2 decision to Southern Columbia’s Gaige Garcia in the 195-pound finals. After a scoreless first period, Garcia took down and escaped to make it 1-0 after two. In the third, Franklin escaped to knot things at 1-1.

With 47 seconds left in regulation, Garcia shot in on a sweep single, Franklin tried to backflip out of it and landed on his back, giving up the four-point move to Garcia. Franklin managed a late escape in the loss.

“This is the state championships. Here, the margin for winning is razor thin,” St. Joseph’s coach Pat Flynn said. “It stinks because he had a really good season. ... He should be proud of how we wrestled. He gave it all he had. Wins and losses come. He’ll get ready for next year.”

Dowling (43-6) scored a takedown in the first and an escape in the second to defeat Southern Columbia’s Gavin Garcia 3-0. Dowling now owns second-, third- and fourth-place medals at states.

“I wrestled, well, not my best — but I had a tough weekend,” Dowling said. “ My goal was to win it, so I was down the whole weekend. I let myself be down for awhile because winning (a state title) is my dream. But once it’s time to wrestle, I had to refocus, get back in the zone and that’s what I did.”

Rothrock (39-10) made his first state tournament appearance a memorable one with a 3-2 win over Greenville’s Mason Karpinski for third. Rothrock recorded and escape and takedown in the second and rode out Karpinski in the third.

“My goal coming in was top three; I didn’t even make it last year,” Rothrock said. “I set a high goal for myself and I achieved it. I’m pretty proud. This year I focused on staying healthy and working hard. I kind of slacked off too much last year, but also I came here with a lot more heart. I have to work harder in the offseason.”

Witmer (33-10) dropped a 6-5 decision to Bedford’s Kaden Cassidy, and Stoltzfus (42-8) fell 2-1 to Saucon Valley’s Matthew Arciuolo for third.

“It’s very nice that all the kids are coming back. The future is bright,” Flynn said. “We have to just keep improving and little here, a little there and be ready for next season.”

Urbas (38-2), heading to the University of Pennsylvania to wrestle in college, advanced to the third-place match where he dropped a 5-1 decision to Max Shaw of Thomas Jefferson. The Little Lions senior ends his career with a 116-13 record and three state medals.

“I have nothing to be ashamed of,” Urbas said. “I had a pretty nice career and I love the sport. I have to work on some things, like getting stronger, for wrestling in college. I enjoyed my time wrestling. I have no regrets.”

Richner (37-7) lost to Carlisle’s Colton Zimmerman 11-9 in sudden victory for sixth. The Red Raiders sophomore ends his season at 37-7.

Shunk (39-8) ended his career on a high note with a 10-5 win over Biglerville’s Blake Showers for his second PIAA medal. The Rams senior also tied Curt Decker for the school record in career victories with 132.

“I’m pretty happy with the way I wrestled this weekend” Shunk said. “It’s unfortunate I couldn’t get higher but, under the circumstances, I think I wrestled well. ... I gave everything I had. I enjoyed my wrestling career at Penns Valley.”

DuVall (34-13) scored an escape in the third period to defeat Saucon Valley’s Thomas Spirk for seventh in his first tournament appearance.

“I thought I wrestled well. Me and (Joel) Brinker, my coach, were working a lot on staying in my stance getting my neutral game where it needed to be this weekend,” DuVall said. “I thought I capitalized on most of my opponent’s mistakes and wrestled hard.”

Southern Columbia won the Class 2A team title with 121 points. Ryan Vulakh, state champ at 152, won the outstanding wrestler award.

PIAA Class 2A Results

Team Key: Bedford (B), Biglerville (BIG), Bishop McDevitt (BM), Brookville (BR), Cambridge Springs (CS), Chestnut Ridge (CR), Derry Area (DA), Freedom Area (FA), Forest Hills (FH), Frazier (F), Greenville (G), Glendale (GL), Hopewell (H), Kane (K), McGuffey (M), Mount Pleasant (MP), Mount Union (MU), Notre Dame-GP (ND), Penns Valley (PV), Pequea Valley (PE), Pope John Paul II (PJP), Reynolds (R), Saegertown (S), Saucon Valley (SV), Southern Columbia (SC), St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy (SJ), Troy (T)

Team Scores: 1. Southern Columbia 121, 2. St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy 95.5, 3. Notre Dame-GP 80, 4. Reynolds 68, 5. Saucon Valley 64, 6. Chestnut Ridge 60.5, 7. Greenville 54, 8. Freedom Area 51.5, 9. Forest Hills 48.5, 10. Bishop McDevitt 47, 39. Penns Valley 18.5, 70T. Philipsburg-Osceola 7, 85T. Bald Eagle Area 4.


106: Sheldon Seymour, T, dec. Levi Haines, BIG, 5-4; 113: Jackson Arrington, FH, dec. Kole Biscoe, SC, 10-3; 120: Ryan Crookham, ND, dec. Beau Bayless, R, 3-0 ; 126: Brock McMillen, GL, dec. Chase Shields, BM, 3-2; 132: Josh Jones, SV, dec. Tye Varndell, CS, 7-3; 138: Jacob Ealy, H, dec. Kenny Kiser, S, 7-5; 145: Andrew Cerniglia, ND, major dec. Gabe Miller, PE, 14-0; 152: Ryan Vulakh, PJP, tech fall Trent Schulthies, FA, 20-5 (5:10); 160: Thayne Lawrence, F, dec. Alec English, K, 7-2; 170: Jared McGill, CR, dec. Christian Clutter, M, 8-2; 182: Dayton Pitzer, MP, dec. Bryson Miller, FA, 3-1; 195: Gaige Garcia, SC, dec. Kolby Franklin, SJ, 5-2; 220: Jacob McMaster, G, dec. Domenic DeLuca, DA, 6-2; 285: Colby Whitehill, BR, dec. Jake Ryan, MU, 5-2. OW: Ryan Vulakh, Pope John Paul II

Third Place

132: Kaden Cassidy, B, dec. Zack Witmer, 6-5; 145: Caleb Dowling, SJ, dec. Gavin Garcia, SC, 3-0; 152: Keegan Rothrock, SJ, dec. Mason Karpinski, G, 3-2; 160: Matthew Arciuolo, SV, dec. Tyler Stoltzfus, SJ, 2-1.

Seventh Place

120: Baylor Shunk, PV, dec. Blake Showers, B, 10-5; 138: Malachi DuVall, PV, dec. Thomas Spirk, SV, 9-8.

PIAA Class 3A Results

Team Key: Bellefonte (B), Bethlehem Catholic (BC), Canon McMillan (CM), Cedar Cliff (CC), Council Rock North (CRN), DuBois (D), Easton (E), Erie Cathedral Prep (EP), Franklin Regional (FR), Great Valley (GV), Hershey (H), Kiski Area (KA), Liberty (L), Lower Dauphin (LD), Mifflin County (MC), Mount Lebanon (ML), Nazareth (NA), Norwin (NO), Northampton (N), Northern York (NY), Owen J. Roberts (OJR), Selinsgrove (S), Seneca Valley (SV), State College (SC), Susquehanna Twp. (ST), Thomas Jefferson (TJ), Upper St. Clair (U)

Team Scores: 1. Bethlehem Catholic 93, 2. Erie Cathedral Prep 89, 3. Nazareth 81, 4. Kiski Area 76, 5. Franklin Regional 70.5, 6. Northampton 67.5, 7. Cedar Cliff 54, 8. Council Rock North 53, 10T. Council Rock South 50, 10T. Seneca Valley 50, 30. State College 19, 48T. Bellefonte 12.


152: Cam Connor, KA, dec. Ethan Richner, B, 9-3.

Consolation Quarterfinals

195: Cole Urbas, SC, dec. Ethan Seeley, GV, 7-0.

Consolation Semifinals

152: Tanner Updegraff, H, dec. Richner, B, 6-1; 195: Urbas, SC, vs. Damon Moyer, L, 6-0.


106: Carter Dibert, FR, dec. Dylan Chappell, SV, 7-2; 113: Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, SV, dec. Finn Solomon, FR, 10-5; 120: Sean Pierson, NA, dec. Kurt Phipps, NO 9-5; 126: Darren Miller, KA, dec. Colton Camacho, FR, 6-5; 132: Julian Chlebove, N, dec. Kenny Hermann, BC, 6-2; 138: Ed Scott, D, pinned Dashawn Farber, NA, 3:25; 145: Ryan Anderson, BC, dec. Cameron Robinson, CRN, 5-2; 152: Daniel Mancini, OJR, major dec. Cam Connor, KA, 10-2; 160: Trey Kibe, MC, dec. Clayton Ulrey, LD, 6-2; 170: Gerrit Nijenhuis, CM, dec. Edmond Ruth, ST, 8-3; 182: Carter Starocci EP, dec. Luke Stout, ML, 7-1; 195: Kyle Swartz, NY, dec. Donovan Ball, CC, 7-5; 220: Nate Schon, S, major dec. Andrew Balukas, E, 14-1; 285: Kawaun DeBoe, EP, dec. Jake Slinger, U, 3-1.

Third Place

195: Max Shaw, TJ, dec. Urbas, SC, 5-1.

Fifth Place

152: Colton Zimmerman, C, dec. Richner, B, 11-9 SV.