HERSHEY – Ridgway wrestler Corey Bush has guaranteed himself a state medal after action Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships while Johnsonburg’s Jesse Wolfe goes home with a 1-2 finish.
Bush faces off against Nate Giorgio of Schulykill Valley in the seventh-place bout Saturday as that round begins at 12:30 p.m.
Bush opened in the second round of consolations against James Dodson of Claysburg-Kimmel and had a strong showing in an 8-1 decision to guarantee himself a state medal. After a scoreless first period, Dodson won the flip to start the second period and chose the down position. Bush was able to earn a set of back points to take a 2-0 lead at the 1:20 mark, then Dodson was called for his third caution and Bush had a 3-0 lead with one second left. Bush chose the top position in the third period to extend the lead to 5-0. A fourth caution from Dodson upped the lead to 6-0 before a second stalling call on Bush put Dodson on the board. A late takedown from Bush rounded out the scoring.
“[Bush] was on his game there,” Ridgway coach Gary Gerber said. "He was sharp and making no mistakes. The other kid was and he frustrated the other kid I think into making some of those mistakes. Technically, it was an outstanding match, I’m really proud of the job he did. [It was] a chance to get a medal. [Bush] knew it and he wrestled that way so great job by him.”
Bush then took on Aaron Roberts of Jamestown, the Northwest Regional Champion in the third round of consolation. The turning point of the bout came in the second period with the match tied at 2-all. With both wrestler sideways, Roberts was able to gain just enough control to be awarded a takedown, he subsequently added a set of two back points to take a 6-2 lead. A reversal from Bush put the Elker wrestler within 6-4. Roberts went on and added an escape at the end of the second period and at the start of the third period to take an 8-4 lead. A 4-point move ensued and Roberts took the 12-4 victory.
“[Bush] threw everything he had at him,” Gerber said. “It came down to that one big move when it was tied up. He gave everything he had and that’s all we ask of every kid when they come down here.”
Wolfe took on Jaydon Rice of Bethlehem Catholic in the second round of consolations. After a scoreless first period, Rice escaped to open the second period and take a 1-0 lead. With Wolfe on the bottom to start the third period, Wolfe was hit with his second stalling violation and Rice led 2-0. Wolfe was able to tie the bout with 38 seconds left on a reversal and force a one-minute sudden victory period. In the period, Rice secured a takedown and two back points for the 6-2 decision in overtime.
Wolfe had to use blood time multiple times during the bout, something Launer felt gave Rice some breaks. Rice was visibly ill during his quarterfinal loss.
“That’s the type of match he wanted to wrestle,” Johnsonburg coach Tom Launer said. “We had the stall call, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone into overtime. I think what hurt him most in that match was the blood time. [Wolfe] kept giving the other kid a break. We watched the other kid wrestle his first match this morning. He was in the bucket twice throwing up. We thought if we really pushed him, we could wear him down. Jesse’s lip kept bleeding and giving him breaks. When we went into overtime, you don’t expect Jesse to get taken down, he doesn’t get taken down very often. It’s a different level down here [at Hershey], everybody’s good.”
Wolfe finishes this season with a 32-5 record. In his career, he finishes with a record of 119-18.
“I thought Jesse wrestled a real good tournament. In three matches and he gave up, before he went into the overtime, just five points,” Launer said. “He had an outstanding season, he had an outstanding career. He’s going to be missed for Johnsonburg wrestling. He’s going to be hard to replace. We only had the two seniors, him and Max Zimmerman (both 100-match winners). I’ve really enjoyed coaching them, they’re good kids.”
In other District 9 wrestling action, Chet Tanner (130) of Port Allegany and Tanner Hannold (145) of Keystone were ousted in the second round of consolations. Jacob Shields (189) of Brookville can finish no worse than fifth, same goes for Joel Yahner (285) of Brockway.