Penns Valley’s Darren Yearick and Jared Hurd were making their first trip to the Giant Center as competitors.
The Rams started with a duo, but Yearick was alone after day one of wrestling was finished in the PIAA Class AA tournament.
“You never know how kids are going to react to the state tournament,” Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker said Thursday. “You can prep all you want but you just don’t know how they are going to respond being here.”
Hurd started the day for the Rams with a 145-pound preliminary match against Commodore Perry’s John Mott. Mott used a takedown and three near-fall points to hold a 5-0 lead after one period. Mott added another takedown in the second for the 7-0 lead to open the third period.
With 1:01 remaining in the match, Mott turned Hurd to his back and collected the pin.
Yearick’s day didn’t start any better at 113 pounds.
He opened with Williams Valley’s Willy Girard. Yearick lost 6-0 to Girard previously this year. Girard again came out on top with a pin in 1:51.
“Both of them were a little flat in the first round,” Brinker said. “It doesn’t take away from their year. You’re in the top 20 in the state getting here, that’s a heck of an accomplishment in itself.”
In the first round of the consolations, Yearick got Church Farm School’s Sebastian Corrales. The pair had a scoreless first period.
Yearick started the second in the bottom position. He got a sitting switch and earned the reversal points. He had those reversal points hold up for the 2-0 victory.
He will face Brockway’s Mitchell Overbeck to open day two on Friday morning.
“A win is a win for Darren,” Brinker said. “I’ll take 2-0 wins the rest of the tournament. I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty. We’re happy he is moving on tomorrow.”
Hurd didn’t have the same result in his consolation match with Lehighton’s Tegan Durishin.
Trailing 5-0, Hurd got an optional start from Durishin to start the third. Durishin went into takedown mode tacking on three in the period for the 11-3 win.
“You got to look at the positives,” Brinker said. “Jared had a very successful season. We really congratulate Jared.”
Weight class of death
For the first time in tournament history, there are three former champions in one weight class.
Each proved his pedigree on day one of the championships, which run Thursday through Saturday at the Giant Center. This year’s 126-pound bracket stacks up as the tournament’s best in terms of past titles and finishes, with Reynolds’ Cole Matthews, Bedford’s Jonathan Gabriel and Central Cambria’s Max Murin all advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals. The 126-pound weight class also features Athens’ Brian Courtney, a runner-up last year at 120 pounds.
Matthews, who defeated Courtney in last year’s 120-pound title bout, breezed through his first round match against Tamaqua’s Tanner McHugh with a 19-4 technical fall at the 5:55 mark. The Reynolds sophomore will face Pequea Valley’s Gabe Miller on Friday.
Gabriel, the defending champion at 126, recorded a 4-1 decision over Archbishop Carroll’s Nick Poulos. The senior will meet Courtney, who pinned Jamestown’s Hunter Goodlin in 3:23 in the quarterfinals.
In the lower half of the bracket, Murin, who won last year’s 113-pound title, scored an 18-5 major decision over Northwest Lehigh’s Quentin Bernhard. Murin is set to face Redbank Valley’s Tanner Altobelli.