Upper Perk junior Dustin Steffenino was a late addition to states as the fourth-place regional finisher couldn’t compete due to injury.
There wasn’t one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s 10 entries who was particularly pleased immediately after the close of the 2012 AAA PIAA Tournament.
Owen J. Roberts’ Derek Gulotta (113), a freshman, was the league’s lone medal winner as he grabbed eighth place. And even he said afterwards he expected to finish a little higher on the podium.
The league’s nine other participants, including three from Upper Perkiomen, didn’t fare as well. But when you’re on as big of a stage, in front of as many fans at the Giant Center, sometimes there’s a lot lost on the hard work, sacrifice and just plain guts it takes to even make it to states.
Take, for instance, Indian senior Dalton Fleming (182). All but written out of the postseason discussion after he underwent knee surgery, Fleming came back in dominant fashion during the second season. His path to states was one of sheer determination, and he represented himself well in Hershey, winning by fall in his first consolation match, but eventually succumbing to fourth-place finisher Josh Thomson (Mechanicsburg).
Junior Wolfgang McStravick, a state qualifier a year ago when he dropped his first two matches, did better this time around. McStravick took a 2-2 count late into his opening match, but couldn’t come up with the decisive points down the stretch as he dropped a 9-3 decision to Greater Johnstown’s Malcolm Harris.
Wolfgang McStravick and Dalton Fleming made the trip as qualifiers from the AAA Southeast Regional Tournament.
He rebounded in the first round of consolations as he held on for a 3-2 nod against Easton’s Robbie Rizzolino. In the second round, McStravick took a hard-luck 2-1 loss in an elimination match against Connellsville’s Ethan Kenney. McStravick overcame a 2-0 deficit with an escape, but couldn’t cash in on a winning takedown later in the match against Kenney, who went on to take 7th.
Dylan Steffenino took the road less traveled to Hershey. A fifth-place finisher at the AAA Southeast Regional Tournament nearly two weeks ago, Steffenino was a late addition to states as fourth-place regional finisher Fred Alderman couldn’t compete due to injury. A state qualifier as a sophomore, Steffenino drew a tough opener and was set back, 21-8, against eventual champ Corey Keener (Blue Mountain). He battled back in the first round of consolations, but fell 5-2 to Altoona’s T.J. Brandt to finish the year with a 37-7 record.
While there’s never any guarantees as far as next season, the good news for the Tribe is that two of its three entries in states will be back as seniors. And with two years of the state tournament under their collective belts, they know what it takes to get to Hershey and can spread the word.
Team-wise, Canon McMillan won the team championship trophy as they racked up eight medals, one each in the eight places, with 102 points. OJR, behind Gulotta’s medal, finished as the top PAC-10 entry tied for 45th with 10 points, as Upper Perk was tied for 64th with 4. Boyertown (2.5) was 73rd, and Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford were 92nd in the 115-school field.