HERSHEY — Though coming up short in their quest for gold at the 2018 PIAA Class AA Championships, senior Steven McClure and junior Blake Passarelli of Curwensville will return to the Giant Center Saturday afternoon to wrestle in the consolation finals.
McClure (34-4), who won the Northwest Region crown after losing in the District 9 finals, will end his career against Southwest Region runner-up Josiah Jones (34-3) of Johnstown Bishop McCort in a bronze medal match.
The third time in the state tourney proved to be the charm for Passarelli (30-7) as the Golden Tide’s three-time state qualifier, a district champion and region runner-up, will be wrestling for seventh place against Southeast Region champion Nate Smith (30-3) of Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt.
Both were 2-1 Friday after beginning the day with title aspirations in the morning quarterfinals.
McClure enhanced his hopes by defeating Jaron Renn of Line Mountain but couldn’t get past South Side Beaver’s Bishop McCoy, who had beaten him 2-1 in the Fred Bell Tournament finals at Grove City in January.
The once-beaten SW Region king won another squeaker, 4-3, to drop McClure into the consy semifinals, where he received a forfeit from NE champ Connor Fulmer of Southern Columbia.
After a scoreless first period against Renn, McClure selected the bottom, escaped immediately and took down the taller but thin and undersized Northeast Region third-placer twice, both times snapping him down and spinning behind him.
Having had several shots blocked or stopped for going out bounds for almost four minutes, McClure finally finished off the first two-pointer with 14 seconds left in period two for a 3-0 lead.
He turned Renn loose 16 seconds into the third period and worked the clinching takedown with 1:13 remaining.
Against McCoy, McClure managed only three escapes while surrendering takedowns in each of the first two periods. McCoy (42-1) opted to go neutral for the final two minutes, and McClure was unable to crack his defense.
Passarelli suffered an emotionally-draining 3-1 overtime loss to Northwest Region champ and Off The Mat’s No. 1-ranked Wyatt of Montoursville in the quarterfinals, but he bounced back to fulfill his season’s goal of wearing a medal by outclassing NE runner-up Noah Hunt of Warrior Run 17-6.
However, his bid to climb higher on the medal stand was denied by Southern Columbia’s Patrick Edmondson, who prevailed 5-4 in their consy quarterfinal.
Passarelli’s bout with Lutz was 1-1 after six minutes, both choosing the bottom position and escaping after 15 seconds.
Lutz earned the sudden victory with a counter takedown 33 seconds into the overtime period.
“Blake shot in and got his feet underneath to lift him, and the kid went over his head and through his leg for a cradle. They called it a takedown, but I did not think he had control.
“Blake was more aggressive most of the match. He wrestled a really good match.”
The consolation quarterfinals are considered the “blood round” with the winner assured of that coveted medal and the loser eliminated.
Many wrestlers find it difficult re-focusing for the quick turnaround, but Passarelli was up to the challenge.
After surrendering the initial takedown to Hunt, Passarelli limited Hunt to four escapes while dominating on his feet.
He racked up four takedowns, two in the third period when he took Hunt right to his back for five-point moves that made it a major decision. He also started the second period with a reversal.
Edmondson jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Passarelli via an escape, a penalty point and a takedown in the first minute of the second period.
Passarelli reversed late and then again with 1:26 remaining in the third period to tie the bout. He then elected to cut Edmondson loose for what proved to be the deciding point when he was unable to secure a takedown over the final 1:14.
District 9 will wind up with six placewinners, with Port Allegany 160-pounder Jacob Kallenborn the lone finalist.
Brookville 145-pounder Caleb Hetrick will be in a bronze medal match, while Ridgway 138-pounder Lukas McClain is going for fifth place and Brookville heavyweight Colby Whitehill will be wrestling for seventh place.
District 10 will have 18 medalists to give the NW Region an even two dozen.
The four bidding for gold medals are 106-pounder Gary Steen and 138-pounder Cole Matthews of Reynolds, which has a lock on the team title with 104 points and six medalists, and 182-pounders Cody Mulligan of Saegertown and Julian Gorring of Fort LeBoeuf.
Complete results can be found here courtesy PA-Wrestling