HERSHEY — Even though he was making his third appearance at the PIAA championships, Austin Harry admitted to still getting those pre-match jitters prior to his first bout.
If the Lake-Lehman junior was nervous on Thursday morning, he sure didn’t show it. Harry made quick work of his opponent, Chase Schaeffer from Tri Valley, with a pin in 2:44 to advance to the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class 2A Championships for the second straight year.
“Getting on and off the mat as quick as possible is always nice,” said Harry, who was the only preliminary round winner of the four Wyoming Valley Conference state qualifiers in 2A Thursday morning. “Later on in the tournament you’re not as sore, not as fatigued so getting that first pin is definitely big.”
The 132-pound Harry will need his rest and energy because Friday he has a rematch with Keystone Oaks’ Nick Zanetta, who knocked off the Black Knight last year in the same round by two points en route to taking second in the state. Last year’s match was close as Harry trailed by one point late while on top. He let Zanetta up to try to tie with a takedown but was unsuccessful.
“Zanetta’s tough, but at least I know what he does now and I’ll be a little more prepared for him this year,” Harry said. “Hopefully it will come my way this year. I know I’m close with him and he was in the finals last year, so that’s how close I am. I’ve been working hard and hopefully this year I can get past that.”
GAR’s A.J. Luton (113 pounds), Wyoming Area’s Andy Schutz (126) and Nick Heck (138) dropped their preliminary round bouts Thursday morning.
Schutz drew a tough opponent in Bethlehem Catholic’s Zeke Moisey, who placed second in the state last year. But that didn’t faze the Warriors senior in a 2-1 loss. Schutz appeared to have a takedown in the first period and possible back points, but the referee didn’t award the points signaling out of bounds.
After Moisey got a reversal in the second period for a 2-0 lead, Schutz quickly got an escape in the third period to cut the lead in half. He had about 1:45 to get a takedown as Moisey moved around the mat but wasn’t called for stalling. Schutz almost had a takedown midway through the period, but a stalemate was called instead.
In his consolation bout Schutz remained in contention for a medal winning via tech fall over Collin Day from Meyersdale piling up 12 back points en route to a 16-0 win in 3:15.
In today’s second round of consolations, which will guarantee the winner a medal, the Warriors senior will face the loser of the quarterfinal bout between defending state champion Ryan Diehl (38-3) from Trinity and Conneaut Area’s Kyle Lukowich (34-9).
Heck rebounded in his first match of the loser’s bracket holding a 5-4 lead in the second period against Biglerville’s Jasper Hankey. But the match eventually went to overtime when Hankey got back points in the third overtime for the 7-5 victory.
The match was similar to Schutz’s preliminary match as Hankey slowed the pace down but was hit with just one stalling call as Heck’s high school career came to an end. It was Heck’s first appearance at states after taking third at regionals and winning a district title.
Luton, a junior who lost his opening-round bout 9-0, lost his second match of the day 11-0 to Caleb Bordner from Tri Valley, who placed eighth last year, and was eliminated. He ends his season with a record of 29-8 as the Grenadiers’ first state qualifier since 2004. He had a solid season as regional runner-up and district champion.