Bears guaranteed medals at states
bob ford/times news Jacob Chamberlain of Pleasant Valley (top) works to turn Easton's Joey Rizzolino in their 135-pound Class AAA consolation round bout. Chamberlain recorded a pin.
Pleasant Valley wrestling coach Mark Getz can't remember the last time his program had multiple wrestlers walk away from Hershey with medals around their necks.
Fortunately for Getz, this weekend's jaunt to Hershey for the PIAA 3A championships will be a memorable one.
Both Jordan Toledo (130) and Jacob Chamberlain (135) each solidified a spot on the medal stand Saturday night after posting their second wins of the tournament Friday afternoon.
Toledo advanced to the semifinals after knocking off Solanco's Dan Neff 9-8 in the quarterfinals.
Chamberlain survived the second round of consolations by pinning Easton's Joey Rizzolino in 4:15 to guarantee him action in Saturday evening's consolation medal rounds.
It was a perfect day for the Bears, who will now bring home their first medalists from the Giant Center since Chris Servian took seventh in 2008.
"It's definitely been a good day for us," said Getz about the performance of his two grapplers on the second day of wrestling. "When you get to this point of the tournament, it's about not making mistakes and our guys did a good job of not making mistakes that would cost them."
Toledo jumped out to a 6-2 lead on Neff in the first period, scoring three quick takedowns using an inside trip, which Neff eventually caught on to. After gaining a second period escape, Neff then took an 8-7 lead midway through the second period after scoring a takedown to make a once certain victory for Toledo, suddenly become cloudy.
Toledo would escape before the second period concluded to send the bout tied at 8 heading into the third. The final point of the bout came from Neff choosing the neutral position to start the third, giving Toledo an escape and the final point towards a 9-8 triumph.
The victory for Toledo, who was 1-6 overall in his previous three outings in Hershey, supplied him with the gratifying feeling of success.
"It just shows that all the hard work pays off," said Toledo of finally guaranteeing himself a medal at states after coming up empty his freshman, sophomore and junior years. "Ever since I was little, I always dreamt about being able to walk away from Hershey with a medal. Now I'm going to do it."
Toledo (39-4) will face McDowell's Steve Spearman (40-0) in this morning's semifinals. Spearman, a sophomore Northwest Regional champion, ousted Unionville's Mason Popham 9-3 to advance to the semis.
Getz and company have plenty of information on Spearman and his style and hope that can help push Toledo through to the finals.
"People don't know how much work we do with getting film on some of our opponents," said Getz. "Spearman is a pretty quick kid who wrestles on one knee. They're actually mirror images of each other. Two fast kids that are going to put points on the board. We got the film and we're going to break everything down."
Chamberlain (33-8) earned some revenge on Rizzolino by pinning the Rover junior in the consolation round.
Rizzolino (32-13) controlled Chamberlain by an 8-2 margin in the district finals two weeks ago, but Chamberlain broke open a 4-4 third period draw Friday with a reversal, which led to a quick pin.
"Jordan kept telling me to put the pressure on him [Rizzolino], because he lost in the quarters about 45 minutes before this bout," said Chamberlain. "I could definitely tell that he was different on the mat. I knew he was vulnerable and took advantage of it.
"Jordan wrestled him eight times in his career and pinned him five of those times. I knew that if I could get him on his back, that I could pin him."
No matter how good Friday felt for Pleasant Valley, Saturday night will certainly have a glistening feel.
"It's just an amazing feeling to know we're both going to leave here with medals," Chamberlain said. "This is what we work for all year and it's great to accomplish that goal."