HERSHEY – Continuing his quest to become Clearfield’s 41st State Champion, Bison senior Luke McGonigal has again found himself wrestling in Saturday morning’s PIAA AAA State Wrestling Championship semi-final round at 195 pounds.
McGonigal (33-1) won his quarterfinal bout against Boyertown senior Elijah Jones (41-4) by securing a thrilling statement victory.
McGonigal got on the board early, turning a low ankle pick into a takedown. Jones got a quick escape to make the match 2-1. Then at the end of the first period, McGonigal converted a high crotch for a second takedown to lead 4-2.
Going down in the second period, McGonigal immediately hit a switch to reverse Jones and then he flowed directly into a front-headlock cement job. The move was ruled potentially dangerous, but not before McGonigal would secure three near fall points to have a 9-1 lead.
Shortly thereafter, Jones would get an escape, and the match would be 9-2 heading into the third period, where Jones chose bottom and got another escape. After getting into a scramble, McGonigal converted one final takedown and on a restart, he used a standing two-on-one tilt to put Jones on his back for two more near fall points. The final score of the match was 13-3.
With that victory, McGonigal will now face Erie Cathedral Prep sophomore Dorian Crosby (40-7) in a Northwest Regional showdown. Crosby placed third at the Northwest Regional tournament last Saturday, but McGonigal and him have never wrestled.
In the other semi-final bout at 195, Northwest Regional champion Cole Urbas (28-1), a junior from State College who bested McGonigal last Saturday, and Southwest Regional champion Nate Ansell, a senior out of Connellsville (24-3) will square off at the same time.
District IX has one more wrestler in the semi-finals: senior Koby Ho (34-4) of DuBois at 145 pounds.
Nazareth is currently in the lead over Erie Cathedral Prep for the AAA state title with 49 points to Cathedral Prep’s 45 points. Both teams have three wrestlers in the semi-finals, but Nazareth has two wrestlers alive in the consolation rounds, while Prep has just one.
The semifinals and fourth round of consolation begin at 9:00 AM on Saturday. The final round of wrestling is set to follow the parade of champions at 6:45 PM.
Full results, courtesy of the PIAA, can be found here.