HERSHEY — Two losses Saturday morning in the semifinals of the PIAA Class 3A Championships meant the Wyoming Valley Conference would be left without a state champion for a sixth straight season since Hazleton Area’s Nate Eachus and Lake-Lehman’s Scott Davis walked away with golds in 2007.
But that didn’t mean Wyoming Valley West’s Kyle Krasavage and Coughlin’s Brad Emerick were going to conclude their careers that easily.
Both seniors rebounded from those devastating losses nicely as they each won their consolation match later in the morning to solidify themselves a better state medal. They were joined by Crestwood’s Matt Hammerstone as the three state medalists from the WVC.
Emerick and Krasavage brought home fourth-place medals while Hammerstone took eighth place.
Krasavage, a 126-pounder, fell to Tyler Walker from North Hills 8-4 in the third-place match. He still ends his stellar career with a record of 41-2 on the season and with 134 career wins, the most in school history. His state performance comes after just one other appearance in the tournament as a freshman when he didn’t medal. So not many in the state expected this type of performance.
But the final loss was still hard to take because his goal this season was to finish in thew top three in the state, and even brought emotions out of head coach Drew Feldman.
“He wanted top three at states for four years now. I wanted him to achieve every goal, and to be four points away, it’s hard to accept right now,” Feldman said. “It’s (the emotions are) a combination (of joy and sorrow). I’m a little disappointed he leaves. It was such a great ride … but I really wanted him to get top three for his sake.
“I’m so proud of him. He set every record in our school, so no complaints.”
Emerick also wrestled in the third-place bout going against Kiski Area’s Shane Kuhn in a rematch of a bout held in the consolation round last season. The Crusaders 285-pounder, who would have loved becoming the first state champion in school history, settled for fourth place. He concludes his season with a record of 39-3 and 108 career wins after the 3-0 loss to Kuhn.
“It’s been a good (career). I’ve been wrestling well throughout my high school career. Can’t ask for anything else,” Emerick said. “I wish I placed a little higher. But you can’t dwell on that that’s water under the bridge right now. Now I’m just looking forward to taking a little break and get back lifting to make sure I get stronger and definitely look forward to college.”
Krasavage was hit with his first loss of the season Saturday morning dropping a 7-3 decision to two-time champion and three-time state finalist Connor Schram from Canon-McMillan in the semis. But losing to the state champion softened the blow. Krasavage couldn’t get anything going in the loss trailing 5-0 in the second period before getting an escape. He also got an escape point in the third period to go along with a point for a stalling called on Schram.
“My experience of losing in the semis and going out, I wasn’t going to let that happen to him since third was so close within reach,” Feldman said.
Emerick couldn’t overcome Erie Central Tech’s Andrew Welton in the semis, losing 3-0. He was in the down position in the second period, was held to the mat the entire period and wasn’t the same after that. The match was scoreless after two periods and in the third Welton managed an escape and a takedown for the win.
Hammerstone, Crestwood’s 145-pounder, dropped his third-round consolation match Saturday morning to fall into the seventh-place match. In that bout, he lost 3-2 to Mason Bentzel from Spring Grove and took eighth.
The senior almost pulled off another dramatic victory with a takedown at the end of the match, but it wasn’t awarded. He became the first medalist at Crestwood since Jake O’Hara in 2009. Hammerstone’s season concludes with a mark of 34-9 and 108 career wins.
“I was on the wrong end of that one finally,” Hammerstone said about the near victory. “I gave it my last shot at the end. I thought it was close. But I’ve always been taught not to let it come down to that. Not to let it in the ref’s hands. It’s only my fault that happened, but what are you gonna do?
“It was a great experience. Eighth place isn’t exactly where I wanted to be here, but I’ll take it and I’ll take it in stride and move on and try to reach bigger and better things in college.”