Eight Class 2A wrestlers move onto quarterfinals

Mar. 8—HERSHEY — Brock Rothermel was initially overwhelmed by the crowd at the Giant Center, but he realized that he needed to focus on the task-at-hand.

The Line Mountain freshman blocked out the distraction of the fans as he won his first-ever match at 114 pounds during the PIAA Class 2A wrestling tournament on Thursday.

Rothermel was one of eight 2A wrestlers who moved on to today's quarterfinal round while five more are still alive in the consolation bracket.

Mifflinburg's Bradley Wagner (121 pounds) and Ben Straub (127), Warrior Run's Reagan Milheim (145) and Cameron Milheim (152), Southern Columbia's Mason Barvitskie (145) and Garrett Garcia (189) and Midd-West's Matthew Smith (139) will join Rothermel in the quarterfinal round.

"When you're out there, you try to block it all out," Rothermel said. "When the adrenaline kicks in, you don't really notice it. But warming up here in the chute, it's something that I haven't really experienced before, so it's cool."

Rothermel defeated Bishop McDevitt's Zane Crouse in a 9-3 decision in the first round. Rothermel used an escape and four takedowns, including a pair in the opening period, in the win. Rothermel will take on Caden Judice (Bald Eagle Area) today. Rothermel is ranked second in the state while Judice sits at eighth.

All three of the Eagles' wrestlers are still alive after the first day of competition. After suffering losses in the first round, Nolan Baumert (139) and Dalton Schadel (152) bounced back with close wins during the first round of consolations. Baumert staved off Bellefonte's Ezra Swisher with a 3-2 decision while Schadel eliminated Tri Valley's Chase Stephen with a 7-5 victory in overtime.

Schadel trailed by two points until he worked a reversal with 16 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period. Schadel then picked up a takedown 47 seconds into the overtime period.

Like Line Mountain, Warrior Run also advanced three wrestlers into the second day of action. Both Milheims and Max Wirnsberger (133) are still in the tournament for the Defenders. Reagan Milheim made easy work of Brody Beck of Cambridge Springs after getting a pin in the first period. Milheim will square off against Bishop McCort's Jackson Butler in the quarterfinals today.

Cameron Milheim bested Elizabeth Forward's Damon Michaels, 3-1. Milheim will take on Sharpsville's Caullin Summers today.

After taking an ultimate-tiebreak loss in the first round, Wirnsberger avoided elimination with a 4-3 victory over Montoursville's Blaize Vogel. The match was tied at 2-2 until Wirnsberger secured a reversal with 1:13 remaining. Wirnsberger will battle it out with General McLane's Clay Kimmy in the second round of consolations today.

Defenders senior Connor Parker ended his career with two losses on Thursday. Parker was making his first appearance in the state tournament and posted a 24-10 record this season. Parker went 56-38 in three seasons in the Warrior Run program.

Barvitskie and Garcia faced little issues in advancing to the quarterfinals with both wrestlers picking up major decisions. For Garcia, it was his first win at Hershey in two years since he won the fifth-place bout in 2022.

"It feels pretty good walking onto that floor — there's no other better feeling," Garcia said. "A lot of kids get tired just from being nervous all day, and I try to keep that out of my mind. Just get ready when I need to wrestle and let the nerves disappear right before the match, and use those nerves to my advantage and go out and wrestle."

Barvitskie has a matchup with Saucon Valley's Jackson Albert while Garcia will meet General McLane's Magnus Lloyd today.

Wagner advanced to the quarterfinals with a major decision while Straub's match was much more dramatic. Competing against Delone Catholic's Gavin Green, the match was knotted up at 5-5 until Straub earned a takedown eight seconds into the overtime period. Green was ranked 10th while Straub clocked in at 23rd. Straub will look to pull off another upset today when he faces Bentworth's Chris Vargo, who's the top seed at 127. Wagner is set to take on Bishop McDevitt's Greyson Music in the quarterfinals.

Smith picked up his first-ever win at Hershey after besting Brockway's Parker Pisarchick in a 7-6 decision. Smith finished 0-2 last season. Smith is set to take on second-ranked Cooper Hornack (Burrell) in the quarterfinals. Smith is ranked eighth in the state.

"I promised myself that I wouldn't go 0-2 here again, so I'm proud of myself for that," Smith said. "But the job's not finished, and I gotta keep wrestling."

Smith's teammate, Grant Yount, was eliminated after dropping an 8-0 major decision to Milton's Alex Hoffman in the 172 consolations. Hoffman was coming off a 6-5 loss to Port Allegany's Aiden Bliss. Hoffman led Bliss 5-0 during the second period. Hoffman is slated to take on Valley's Charles Perkins in the second round of consolations today.

Upper Dauphin's lone entrant, Jonah Peterson at 127, remains in contention for a state medal after downing Cranberry's Elijah Brosius in a consolation match in a 3-2 result. Peterson clinched the victory after picking up an escape with 13 seconds left. Peterson is set to take on Central Valley's Don Lindsey in another consolation bout.

Landen Wagner, who was Lewisburg's lone state-qualifier, was knocked out of the tournament after suffering two losses on Thursday. Wagner was making his first trip to Hershey and concluded his sophomore campaign with a record of 32-13.