HERSHEY - Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog used the experience from last year's trip to Hershey in his preliminary round bout against South Fayette's Grant Fetchet. Palmerton sophomore Zachary Graver learned what he needed to do to compete at the PIAA Class 2A Championships here at the Giant Center in his prelim match against Boe Bonzo of Freedom (District 12).
Herzog jumped out to an early lead in his 152 pound bout and picked up a 12-7 decision to move into Friday's quarterfinal round against Southern Columbia's Blake Marks (35-5).
Graver fell behind early in his 152-pound prelim and dropped a 9-4 decision. He faced Hughesville's Kye Barnes (35-5) in this afternoon's first round consi.
Herzog used a takedown and two back points for a 4-0 advantage over Fetchet. He used two reversals in the second period to tak a 8-5 lead into the final period and capped it off with a reversal and takedown in between a Fetchet escape.
"It's always nice to get the first one out of the way," said Northern Lehigh head coach Todd Herzog. "You never know. The kids bring their A game and work hard in that first match You just want to get those nerves out and score some points and get the rust out a little bit.
"We get out of here today, evaluate a little bit and come back tomorrow."
Ty also thought the quick start gave him a boost.
"Right off the whistle I wanted to take control of the match right away," he said. "I wanted to let him know I wanted to be intense. I wanted it to be my match, making my moves. I didn't want to have to wrestle from behind.
"He got those two reversals on me, I just got a little sloppy on top a little bit. It didn't get me worried. I just knew I had to keep wrestling through it."
Graver gave up a takedown in the first period to Bonzo and an escape and takedown in the second period before he got on the scoreboard.
He managed a pair of escapes in the second period and a third period takedown, but it wasn't enough.
"He just made a couple of sophomore mistakes early," said Palmerton head coach Dave Lavin. "He gave up that first takedown with Bonso barely hanging on to his ankle and turned into him and gave him an opportunity on the edge.
"Giving up two at the end of the second period put him in position to have to take him down four times instead of two.
"He showed he could compete because he took him down easy twice pushing the action. You just can't put yourself in that big of a hole out here."
Other District 11 wrestlers to advance to Friday's quarterfinals were Luke Karam of Bethlehem Catholic (15-0 technical fall, 3:51) and Jacob Wasser (10-4 decision) at 106 pounds; Darian Cruz of Bethlehem Catholic (1:43 fall) at 120 pounds; Zeke Moisey (2-1 decision) of Bethlehem Catholic at 126 pounds; Michael Comunale (6-5 decision) of Pius X at 132 pounds;
Karam (30-2) will wrestle Brian Friery (33-9) of Lewisburg in the quarterfinals on Friday morning, while Wasser (37-6) will take on Austin Griffiths (33-4) of Cruz (42-1) draws Zach Fry (32-13) of Hughesville. Moisey (24-2) meets Jarray Norris (36-2) of Sharon. Comunale (38-6) draws unberaten Karl Lightner (32-0) of Smethport.