Upper Perkiomen senior Wolfgang McStravick wrestled his last bout as a high school wrestler last week when he traveled to Hershey to compete in the PIAA Championships for the third time in his career. McStravick was knocked out the competition after suffering two defeats in the opening rounds.
Few people, if any, can argue the finality of wrestling’s PIAA Championships.
The event is the culmination of an arduous postseason of wrestling that starts out at the league level, and then starts to broaden at the district and regional stage. Each week, the competition gets tougher as the number of qualifiers starts to pare down to the very best.
At the regional level across Pennsylvania, the very best are separated into the top 16 grapplers at each weight class who earn, emphasis on earn, a spot in Hershey at the state tournament.
The spectacle that is the state tourney, held at the Giant Center, is hard to describe. Each match is do-or-die, no matter what the circumstance, as the drive to advance deeper into the affair is evident on every mat.
It all culminates into the AAA final on Saturday night. It’s a bittersweet time for most, and when it’s all over, from the silver medalist on down, the questions of what if and if only start to fuel the competitive juices for next season.
Locally, Upper Perkiomen senior Wolfgang McStravick got to experience all of the above emotions. A previous two-time state qualifier, this, his third state tournament was especially poignant as a senior.
In his opening bout at 132 on Thursday, McStravick matched up against returning state medalist and the south central regional champion Patrick Duggan. Duggan, a sophomore who came into states with a 35-2 record, held off McStravick, 8-4 as he went on to grab a silver medal.
In McStravick’s consolation match, he paired up against Delaware Valley junior Jalen Palmer. The two, interestingly enough, met a month ago at the same location in the second round of consolations in the PIAA AAA Duals. McStravick lost the initial meeting, 3-2. This time around, Palmer also gained the advantage, by virtue of a 5-3 decision, as he went on to snag an eighth-place medal.
While states may not have gone exactly the way McStravick anticipated, he still has a lot to look back on as part of a successful season. His year ended 46-8, which was the third best winning percentage of any Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestler this year. And his 46 wins was second best in the league, second only to Owen J. Roberts’ Gordon Bolig’s 47. Half of McStravick’s wins this season came by fall and he ended a stellar career with 152 victories (including 74 pins), which is tied for ninth best on the area’s all-time win list.
McStravick’s teammates Dante and Dustin Steffenino were fourth and fifth, respectively, behind him in the league’s best individual winning percentage. Dante finished 43-6 and Dustin was 41-8.
League-wise, Boyertown freshman phenom Jordan Wood took home the PAC-10’s top finish as he grabbed silver at 220. Undersized Methacton heavyweight Tracey Green, a junior, capped off an impressive year of improvement as he grabbed sixth. OJR’s trio of qualifiers in Derek Gulotta, Colby Frank and Gordon Bolig all came home with eighth-place medals.
In the overall team standings, Canon McMillan won the title with 99 points, ahead of Central Dauphin with 75. Boyertown placed highest among league teams in 31st place as OJR was tied for 39th.