HERSHEY - Close, but not enough.
TIMES NEWS area wrestlers took it on their collective chin this morning, going 0-for-6 during the preliminary round of action in Class AA at the PIAA Championships at the Giant Center.
At press time, Northern Lehigh's Nikko Stevens (135), Craemer Hedash (152) and Colin Hedash (171), Northwestern's Dylan Long (112), Tamaqua's Kolby Mashack (130) and Jim Thorpe's Dillon Smith (145) all suffered opening losses.
The outcome for Stevens (30-8) was typical for the TN area contingent.
The No. Lehigh junior battled Westmont-Hilltop senior Trevor Kushner (33-6) all the way, but a second period takedown proved to be the difference in Kushner's 3-2 decision. Kushner added an escape while Stevens' points came from an escape and a penalty point when Kushner locked his hands.
"He (Stevens) just missed on little things, like not popping his head out or missing out on a takedown, but out here, those little things become mountains," said Northern Lehigh coach Todd Herzog.
Stevens now drops into the consolation bracket, where his first opponent will be freshman Noah Tarr (32-13) of Blairsville.
Craemer Hedash (29-8), who placed eighth at States last year, fell behind Warrior Run senior Tyler Hain (34-4) in the early going, then rallied in the third period but came up on the short end of an 8-5 verdict.
Next up for Craemer in the consolations is Schuylkill Valley junior Guliano Caloiero (36-11). Craemer defeated Caloiero 7-3 last week in the semifinals of the Southeast AA Regional.
Colin Hedash (32-4), a fourth place medalist last year, battled Burrell freshman Dakota Deslauriers (22-4) and fell behind 5-0 and never recovered, sustaining a 10-3 defeat.
Colin will take on the loser of the prelim match between Sharon's Lewendo Teague (41-1) and Dabid Kephart (35-4) of Portage in the consolations.
Long (29-8), who placed seventh last year, ran into another state placewinner in Athens senior David White (42-3), who took home a fifth place medal a year ago.
White demonstrated an edge on his feet, taking down Long three times en route to scoring a fall at 5:36.
White took a 2-0 lead on a first period takedown, adding a reversal and two back points to make it 6-0.
Long cut it to 6-2 with a late second period reversal, then escaped to start the third period to make it 6-3 before White took him down once again and rolled him on his back for the pin.
Long was scheduled to face a rematch with Milton Hershey's Nick Lamoreaux (31-4) in the first round of consolations. Lamoreaux edged Long 8-6 in the Southeast AA Regional quarterfinals.
Mashack (35-6) fell behind early against Shady Side Academy's Frank Martellotti (46-2), a State bronze medalist last year, before staging a furious third period rally that came up just short in a 9-7 loss.
Martellotti hit Mashack with a quick takedown out of the gate and tilted him to his back for two nearfall points and a 2-0 lead. Mashack escaped, but Martellotti took him down once more befor another Mashack escape cut it to 6-2 after one.
In the second period Martellotti started on the bottom and got Mashack for a three-point nearfall before the Blue Raider escaped to trail 9-3 after two.
The third period, however, was all Mashack, as he took down Martellotti to pull within 9-5. Mashack continued to press the action and was awarded two penalty points, one for Martellotti's third false start and another for stalling, only to come up just short.
Mashack was to meet Burrell junior Jeremy Landowski (22-10) as his first consolation opponent.
Jim Thorpe's Smith (34-11) surrendered a takedown and reversal to Portage's Shawn Perich (38-1), a seventh place finisher a year ago, but he was held to a lone escape in a 5-1 setback.
Smith's consolation opponent is Schuylkill Valley's Noah Horst (39-12), who beat Dillon 5-3 in the Southeast Regional quarterfinals.
TN area wrestlers still slated to wrestle in the preliminaries in AA at press time were Tamaqua's Garth Lakitsky (35-3), who was to tackle R.J. Malson (33-7) of Greenville at 189; and Lehighton's Briar Stern (25-11), who was to square off with Beth-Center's Jeff Tarley (35-1) at 285.
In Class AAA, a pair of Pleasant Valley grapplers were scheduled for preliminary matches this afternoon. The Bears' Jordan Toledo (37-4) was to face Ty Lydic (36-5) of Greater Latrobe at 130, and Jake Chamberlain (31-7) was to meet Travis Shaffer (29-3) of Derry at 135.