Pleasant Valley's start to the PIAA 3A wrestling championships may have gotten off to a rough start, but the Bears ended day one in sweet fashion keeping both of their grapplers alive heading into Friday's action.
Kenny Yanovich (103) and Michael Dahlstrom (130) may have waited until the third period to secure their victories in the first round of consolations, but both controlled their bouts en route to impressive victories.
Both wrestlers defeated Clearfield opponents in the wrestle backs after suffering preliminary round losses at their respective weights. Yanovich topped Shane Peters 3-1, avenging a early season 8-2 loss to the Northwest regional champion.
Dahlstrom topped Shane Barger 6-4 in the consy's, scoring a crucial reversal, followed by three back points to transform a 3-1 third period deficit into a two-point win.
Head coach Mark Getz knows that with both wrestlers making their first trip to Hershey that listening was going to be key.
"We told the guys coming into this tournament that they needed to listen to us (coaches) and that they would be fine," said Getz. "I was really happy with how the guys wrestled in both of their bouts, but coming out here, we just needed them to listen to us because we're thinking ahead of them on the mat and we know what's going on out here."
Yanovich trailed 1-0 heading into the final period, but scored a takedown with 45 seconds left in the bout to pull ahead 2-1. His lead was improved after an awarded stall point to cling to his first state victory, as well as keep him alive after a 7-2 preliminary round loss to Governor Mifflin's Colin Ochs.
"I really just wanted to win a match at states and I just got it," said Yanovich, who as a freshman took on a junior and senior in his first two bouts Thursday. "In my first match out here, I had a little jitters but now I'm fine.
"I knew that if I continued to press the action (in his consolation bout) that he was going to tire. That's how I eventually got the takedown."
Dahlstrom lost to Canon-McMillan's Solomon Chishko 5-0 in his preliminary bout and looked on the brink of possible elimination after Barger scored a second period takedown to take a 3-1 lead into the final period, but wrestling at the Clearfield Duals in the opening weekend of the season helped prep both wrestlers for what they encountered Thursday evening.
Dahlstrom didn't face Barger that day, but teammate Alex Yanovich did, to help with a scouting report that propelled Dahlstrom to victory.
"Alex talked to me about how he was a good scrambler and I tried to avoid that," Dahlstrom said, "but when I scored the reversal and back points we were in a scramble and I somehow got him on his back. I don't even remember what move I used. I was just happy to get the points and the win."
Getz also was happy with the late heroics of his grapplers, but wants to keep his Bears moving on past tomorrow to guarantee a medal.
"One thing we understand is that Friday is even going to be tougher, but they're going to have an opportunity," he said. "They're going to be taking on guys who are fresh off a loss and they need to take advantage of them while they're vulnerable."