Wrestling Notebook: Stillings Strikes Gold/9 SOL Wrestlers Earn Medals

Pennridge senior Josh Stillings captured gold at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships on Saturday. Glenn Kaiser recaps his journey to the top and features all of the SOL’s top finishers. Photos provided courtesy of Sharon Shipe. Check back for a gallery.

PENNRIDGE’S JOSH STILLINGS GARNERS GOLD

PIAA Individual Championships Recap

By Glenn Kaiser

Josh Stillings had set the bar high back as a freshman, and after four years, he obtained his ultimate goal by reaching the top of the podium at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA, at the 2018 PIAA Individual Championships.  Stillings, a senior from Pennridge, won the 182-pound weight class Saturday night to cap a brilliant wrestling career for the Rams.  Stillings becomes just the second Pennridge wrestling state champion.  The Rams’ Dan Goetter accomplished the same feat at 215-pounds in 2015.

Josh Stillings brilliantly mapped out his scholastic career four years ago and reached his final goal this season by winning a state championship.  Stillings was denied a title a year ago, losing in the finals at 160-pounds to Mifflin County’s Trent Hidlay, who won again this year at 170-pounds.  Stillings made the jump to 182-pounds this season with an emphasis on improving his game on his feet, as he has always been a superior mat wrestler from the top position.  All the hard work paid off, as he cruised through the 182-pound bracket in his senior campaign as the #1 seed.  Stillings was only seriously challenged at 182lbs in the finals versus Albert Gallatin’s Tim Walllace.

Stillings used an escape and takedown to secure the 3-1 victory.  Stillings rode tough on top, only allowing an escape to Wallace.  However, Wallace did come close to a reversal, with Stillings in a bit of trouble while attempting to turn Wallace with his patent claw tilt, but time expired in the second period as Stillings did not panic and remained in control.  Stillings efforts, particularly his off-season wrestling regiment, were rewarded with gold at the Giant Center.

Thursday evening in Hershey was a disappointing night for many SOL wrestlers, as they were sent to the consolations with early round losses. A few rebounded to come back and medal, but for others the road was blocked.

Finishing fifth was Council Rock South’s lightweight Kyle Waterman, who was a 2-0 winner over Cumberland Valley’s Ben Monn at 106-pounds.  Waterman, a semifinalist, was beat by Alejandro Herrera (Seneca Valley) 4-1 there.  Cam Robinson from CR North, South’s sister school, finished 5th with his 9-2 win over Nazareth’s Nathan Stefanik at 138-pounds.  Robinson’s open style of wrestling was clearly displayed over the weekend, and he will be around two more years for a chance to climb the podium.  Ben Radner (CRS) returned to the Giant Center after a one-year layoff and was impressive at 132-pounds, finishing in 7th place and recording two falls in the wrestle backs.  Joining Radner one spot above him on the podium at 132lbs was Souderton’s Tyler Williams in 6th place.  Williams was on a roll reaching the semis, but after an 8-4 loss there to Colton Camacho (Franklin Regional)m Williams had to settle for 6th dropping three straight matches.

All in all, the SOL returned home with nine medals in total.  Other place winners from the SOL included Harry S Truman’s Gunnar Fuss (126) and North Penn’s 160-pounder Patrick O’Neill.   Fuss finished in 8th place losing to Waynesburg Central’s Caleb Morris in overtime by sudden

victory 5-3.  Fuss lost in the quarterfinals but rebounded, winning two wrestle backs before stalling out in the consis and had to settle for the seventh-place medal bout.  O’Neill had to wrestle all the way back after dropping his first-round match, winning three matches in a row to medal.  He downed South Western’s Ethan Baney by fall (1:14) in the 7th place match.

Yusuf Aladinov (William Tennent) was a beast at 195-pounds, pinning his way around for a 7th place finish.  Aladinov was a blood stoppage away from a semifinal spot, as he was on his way over Nate Ansell (Connellsville) when the official stopped the action, Aladinov lost 8-7.  Aladinov finished his career with a fall over CD’s Mitchell Talbott for his medal.

Ryan Cody (North Penn) completed his second straight trip to Chocolate Town, USA, with a top eight finish.  Cody was determined to place at the start of the season and accomplished this at the 285-pound division.  Cody had to win two straight matches in the wrestle backs with a 3-1 SV victory over Lee Holbert (Strath Haven) and a 3-2 win over SOL foe Nick Cooper (Bensalem).  Cody defeated Cooper for the third time this postseason, denying Cooper of a medal.

Unfortunately, for Hatboro-Horsham’s 220-pounder Nick Chapman, who finished the season at 36-4, Chapman failed to place after dropping a first round decision to Altoona’s Parker McClellan, the runner-up, 6-2.  Two of Chapman’s four losses on the season were to state champion Hunter Catka (Sun Valley).  Nonetheless, Chapman finished the season with 35 falls (24 straight until losing to Catka in a regular season dual) and the new H-H career fall mark with 84 career pins.  Chapman is a candidate to win the 2018 Wade Schalles PA Pinner Award.

I picked 10 of 14 state champions, not to shabby for a guy who was only .500 with his District and SE Regional picks.

Several SOL wrestlers wil compete in the 2018 SE PA vs. New Jersey All-Star Challenge mee at Neshaminy High School this Wednesday night, March 14, 2018, 7 p.m. The Delaware Valley Wrestling Officials along with Neshaminy Wrestling Boosters are proud to be sponsoring the 29th Annual All-Star Challenge.