By Payton Brooks, social media editor
Following the PIAA Team State Championships, the journey for individuals began with section qualifiers at Union City High School on Feb. 17-18.
Throughout the two-day event, eight panthers advanced to districts. Sophomore Dawson Bartholomew and seniors Brent Elizon and Daytona English got fourth, senior Jarrott Ruhl placed third, senior Tyler Brooks placed second, and freshman Kenny Kiser, junior Cody Mulligan, and senior Jude Mattocks all won the section title for their weights. Districts was held the following week on Feb. 24-25 at Sharon High School. Of the eight that competed, five placed in the highest six of the bracket to continue. Ruhl and Brooks placed sixth, Mattocks got third, Kiser got second, and Mulligan again took first.
Regions were held at Sharon as well. It was the final tournament in the process of qualifying for the state tournament. In order punch their ticket to Hershey, wrestlers had to place in the top four.
On March 3, Kiser at 120, Mattocks at 145, and Mulligan at 182 all had byes for the first round because of their placings from the weekend prior. Ruhl won by fall in the second period for his first matchup at 170, and at 195, Brooks won due to a forfeit. Kiser then won 9-2, Mattocks lost 8-6, Ruhl won 8-4, and Brooks lost 7-5. The following day began with the consolation bracket, where Mattocks had another bye and Brooks won with a pin. Kiser and Ruhl then dropped to the consolations following a narrow 12-9 loss at 120 and a 7-5 decision at 170. Mattocks won by fall, Brooks won 3-2, and Mulligan stayed in the winner’s bracket with a 20-4 technical fall.
Besides Mulligan, everyone was about to wrestle in the consolation quarterfinals. In that round, wrestlers were either competing for third and guaranteed to move on or they were eliminated. Kiser won by a speedy :49 fall time, and Mattocks won 15-5, tallying his 100th career win. Ruhl unfortunately ended his outstanding career after a 8-2 loss. Brooks was down 3-2 before making a comeback in the last period to pin his opponent.
“I was really surprised that I won. It didn’t feel real because I had never won that match against him, and he just kind of rolled over,” Brooks said. Kiser and Mattocks then went on to win 8-4 and 12-6, respectively, for third, while Brooks lost 9-4 for fourth. In the 182 finals, Mulligan won with a 13-3 major decision.
This morning, the four state qualifiers were sent off with drum rolls and cheers from their classmates who lined the Panther Hallway. The action at the Giant Center in Hershey begins tomorrow morning and will run through the finals on Saturday. For complete coverage of the event, follow the action @PantherPressSHS.