All Central Dauphin junior Ryan Garvick could do was tip his cap to his opponent in the 152-pound finals at the PIAA Class 3A Wrestling Championships.
Garvick threw everything he had at West Allegheny’s Ty Watters, but was beaten by an 11-3 major decision by a rare foe who could match and defeat Garvick’s funky style. While it might not have been a perfect match that Garvick wrestled, it was likely plenty good enough to beat most other wrestlers in Pennsylvania.
But Watters was a little quicker transitioning from one unconventional position to another to rattle off five takedowns, including at least one late in all three periods of the match. When the final buzzer sounded, Garvick was quick to accept a loss to an opponent who simply bested him. And he’ll do so with one more reason to believe he’ll eventually win state gold.
“It is what it is,” Garvick said. “There’s no point hanging my head down to take second in probably the hardest state of wrestling. There’s nothing to be sad about.”
In fact, Garvick has even more reason to be a better, more confident wrestler coming out of his experience at Giant Center. For the second year in a row, he peaked in the postseason, won another District 3 title, and advanced to the state finals. And where the first run to the PIAA championship match might be written off or scrutinized, there’s no doubts remaining that Garvick is among the best in the state.
He entered the week ranked No. 2 in the state and beat No. 9 Bode Marlow of Thomas Jefferson, No. 6 Jake Dailey of Bethlehem Catholic and No. 4 Lucas Kapusta of Hempfield Area to back up that ranking. In the end, Garvick met his match in Watters, who finished off a perfect 39-0 season and won his second straight state title before he heads to West Virginia for the next stop in his wrestling career.
“I thought I wrestled the best that I could, and he was just better,” Garvick said.
The same might be said for Northern’s Cole Bartram who wrestled Daniel Boone’s Tucker Hogan in a repeat of the 189-pound finals at the District 3 tournament. Though Bartram declined to speak with reporters after the final on Saturday, he did say previously that he came out of the first matchup with Hogan confident he could turn a 5-3 loss into a win in the state finals.
Instead, Hogan appeared to have learned the right lessons from the district tournament and pitched a 4-0 shutout to win his first state title.
Hogan pushed back Bartram’s powerful neutral game after Bartram scored the first takedown in the District 3 final. He also delivered a key reversal to get on the board in the second period. Bartram chose neutral down 2-0 in the third, but Hogan put the match on ice with a takedown and 1:25 of riding time.
After placing eighth as a sophomore at the state tournament a year ago, Bartram emerged as one of the toughest, most physical upper weights in the state. He wrapped up his junior season with a 39-3 record and career-highs in wins, falls (21) and tech falls (5).
Schmick wins bronze in a thriller: Carlisle 285-pounder Layton Schmick closed out his career on the highest note possible, winning a bronze medal as the first state medal in his career.
He did it in exciting fashion, too, with a 3-1 victory in sudden victory over Penn Trafford’s Joe Enick, where he left little doubt about the effectiveness of the last shot in his high school career. Schmick started and finished the decisive score with authority.
Schmick, who will continue his wrestling career at East Stroudsburg, wrapped up his career on a winning note after suffered the only loss of his postseason to talented State College junior Nick Pavlechko in the state semifinals. Schmick also won his first District 3 title and finished with a 123-23 record and 83 pins, including 61 in his final two seasons.
Frontino finishes 4th: Shippensburg senior Dominic Frontino reached the 160-pound semifinals and got the matchup he wanted against returning state champ Dylan Evans of Chartiers Valley. Evans managed to tie up Frontino’s offense and won the showdown — the third in the series between the two wrestlers — by a 2-1 decision on the strength of a stalling call midway through the third period. Frontino slipped to the consolation bracket, where he handled Franklin Regional’s Gavyn Beck by a 10-1 major decision before falling to a Bethlehem Catholic’s Andrew Harmon by a 3-0 decision in the bronze medal match.
Frontino had his sights set on a state title, but still left Hershey with his second state medal — he finished eighth as a junior — and wrapped up an outstanding career with a 106-23 record with two sectional and two district titles in addition to his two appearances on the state podium. He’ll take his talents to the Ivy League with a commitment to Brown.
“I’m blessed to be where I am and thankful for my coaches, my family, and glorifying God in everything that I do,” Frontino said. “My wrestling career isn’t over. I’m pretty excited about what’s what’s coming next and, you know, just winning in life.”
Gonzalez earns 2nd medal: Lebanon senior Griffin Gonzalez was the talk of the state tournament on Day 1 with a win in the preliminary round, followed by a nice 3-1 victory over Altoona sophomore Luke Sipes, who was ranked No. 5 in the state, in the first round. Gonzalez made a similar splash as a junior to pick up his first state medal, a seventh-place finish at 152 pounds, then returned to the same weight and made his presence felt once again to place eighth after Sipes returned the favor with a 3-1 victory in their medal match. Gonzalez, who will wrestle at Lehigh next season, wrapped his prep career with a 147-21 record, a District 3 title and two PIAA medals.