When Ty Herzog made his first trip to Hershey as a sophomore for the PIAA Championships, he learned a lot.
Last year as as junior, the Northern Lehigh wrestler shrugged off the flu bug for an 8th place finish.
This year, there was no doubt in his mind he was coming home with a medal.
Herzog battled back after a tough loss in Friday night's consis for a 11-6 decision on Saturday over District 12's Boe Bonzo of Freedom earning a fifth place medal.
The win, combined with a 32-6 record and a list of other achievements, earned him the 2012-13 TIMES NEWS Wrestler of the Year honors.
"Training throughout the whole year, it's the only thing on your mind," Herzog said when asked about his third trip in a row to Hershey. "You have to stay motivated because you want to get back to states to place higher."
Herzog, who is going to continue his wrestling career and education at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island studying Mechanical Engineering, put together a career record of 121-37, bettering his won-loss record in each of his four varsity seasons.
As a freshman, he was 28-12 and was a second team Colonial League All-Star. In his sophomore season, Ty finished with a 30-9 record, was a PIAA state qualifier after finishing third in districts and fifth at regionals, and was Colonial League first-team.
In his junior year, he compiled a 31-10 record, was a District 11 and SE Regionals runnerup and placed eighth at states.
This year, his career and senior season accomplishments, capped off an outstanding high school career.
He was a District 11 and Southeast Regional Champion, finished second at the Brandywine Invitational and sixth at the Bethlehem Holiday Classic.
Ty joined the prestigious Northern Lehigh 100 Win Club and 150-point Club, finished with 331 career points and 49 falls. He was also Colonial League first team, a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team.
Herzog's toughest match was definitely his consolation bout at states against Hughesville's Kyle Barnes when he took a knee to the nose and eventually lost a 13-6 decision.
There are other matches that stand out as matches he'll always remember.
"I had a revenge match against Southern Lehigh's Matthew Mirth," Herzog said. "He was a tough wrestler and I was able to defeat him this year after losing to him last year.
"My district final against Saucon Valley's Travis Buddock (a 6-3 decision) was a hectic match and tiring match."
It also meant a lot that his last match was also the final time his dad and coach Todd Herzog went off the mat together with a win.
"It was something special that we could walk off the mat with a win together," Ty said.
When talking about favorite moves, Ty chuckled that all of them don't have names, but mentioned the funk roll, the granby roll and the fake single are at the top of the list.
As a coach and parent, Todd didn't want Ty to get started in the sport too early because over the years, he's witness numerous kids that are successful at a young age, burn out before they hit the scholastic level.
"I didn't want him to start too early because I knew the commitment you'd need to be successful," he said. "I wanted him to grow to love it for him and not because of our family backround and because of me coaching. He came to me around kindergarten and said he wanted to sign up. At that level they just get use to rolling around on the mat and getting twisted up a bit. If there was any day he didn't want to go, he didn't have to.
"The first match he went to was a novice tournament in Northampton. He's out there rolling around, laughing, head gear is too big, the singlet, the whole bit. He came over to me after the match and asked me how he did. I told him great, he wanted to know how many points he scored and I said nine. He asked how the other kid did, I said he scored 13. His reply was 'wow, he did good too' And that's how it all started."
It was in third grade, when things started to click and by sixth grade, he wanted to be youth league champ.
"One of the things I always preached to him was he would get out of it what he put into it," Todd noted. "It was nice to see all of his dividends pay off. The journey was a pleasure of mine and that was the beauty of it. I watched his enjoyment of competing and succeeding for him, what more could I want."
To say that Ty saved his best for last would be an understatement.
"He's extremely goal oriented," Todd added. "He's very competitive and not a voicestrous oud mouth type of competitor. It burns within.
"Even out at states battling through that loss Friday night, I just sat back and knew he'd bounce back looking to go one step higher on the medal stand because I could see his character coming through."
And it did.