HERSHEY — At the PIAA Wrestling Championships, a win is a win, no matter how you go about taking it.
Chambersburg wrestlers Karl Shindledecker and Tate Nichter took much different routes, but both managed one-point decisions in Class 3A quarterfinal matches Friday afternoon at Giant Center.
Both will compete in the semifinal round, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The finals are at 7 p.m.
Both will also face returning state champions in the semis. Shindledecker (22-10), a freshman, takes on Alejandro Herrera of Seneca Valley (46-1), while Nichter (33-4), a sophomore, meets up with Ryan Anderson of Bethlehem Catholic (37-1).
Also for the Trojans, Luke Nichter won two consolation bouts Friday, so all three teammates are guaranteed to be on the medal stand. Now it’s just a matter of how high on that podium they’ll be.
Chambersburg sits in seventh place in the team standings.
“It was a pretty special day,” Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said. “The kids competed their butts off and I think we were 5-1 for the day.”
Cole Grove won one consolation bout to gain the 100th victory of his career for the Trojans, but was defeated one win short of a medal. Shippensburg’s Jeffrey Russell was eliminated in his first bout of the day.
At 145, Tate Nichter had a great second period against Nick Barnhart of Avon Grove. After a scoreless first, Nichter escaped and took Barnhart down to his back. After each got a reversal, Nichter led 7-2.
But in the third, Nichter was conservative with the lead. Barnhart got an escape, a takedown and a stalling point late to get within 7-6, but Nichter held firm to win, 7-6.
Mentzer said, “That kid was really strong and wanted to go upper body, and Tate didn’t want that situation. It’s rare for Tate to go conservative, but he finished the match.”
Shindledecker faced a returning fourth-place finisher at 113, Matt Mayer of Bethlehem Catholic, at 113. But he got the jump by catching Mayer in a funk for a takedown and nearly got back points. Mayer, however, reversed at the edge and it was 2-2 after one period.
Mayer gave up an escape in the second to give Shindledecker a 3-2 lead, and neither scored again. Both had deep shots countered in the second period, but in the third, Shindledecker carried the action and got in on Mayer’s leg several times.
Mentzer said, “I think the kid only got in to Karl’s legs once. Karl reminds me a little of Dawson Peck — he’s kind of happy-go-lucky and just goes out and wrestles. That can help you in a close match.”
Luke Nichter had a good day after suffering an upset loss Thursday. He pinned Jeff Markert of Peters Township in 1:39 in his first consolation match at 170, then came back and dominated James Lledo of Lower Merion, 12-2.
He led 5-0 after two periods, then rolled up three takedowns in the final period. Nichter, a junior, is now 39-4.
“Luke did what he was supposed to against two kids he was better than,” Mentzer said. “Now he just needs to keep going and get on the podium high where he belongs.”
Grove started the day at 99 wins and took care of business in a big way, smacking Patrick Noonan of Stroudsburg, 13-4. He led 6-1 after one, then tacked on two takedowns and a penalty point in the second and a reversal in the third.
“I don’t think any of us saw him beating Noonan that badly,” Mentzer said. “But he got the lead, Noonan had to open up and Cole just picked him apart. Very impressive.”
But in the bout to decide who got a medal, Grove couldn’t find his offense against J.J. Wilson of Cedar Cliff. Wilson’s takedown at the buzzer to end the first period made the difference. Grove, a senior, finished 27-13 this year.
“”He wrestled his butt off against Wilson, too, but J.J. just fended off everything he tried,” Mentzer said.
Shippensburg’s Russell was handed a 4-2 loss by T.J. England of William Tennent. An England reversal early in the third became the margin of victory. The junior finished his season 33-11.
PIAA Wrestling Championships
113 — Karl Shindledecker (Chbg) d Matt Mayer (Bethlehem Catholic), 3-2
145 — Tate Nichter (Chbg) d Nick Barnhart (Avon Grove), 7-6
120 — T.J. England (William Tennent) d Jeffrey Russell (Ship), 4-2
126 — Cole Grove (Chbg) md Patrick Noonan (Stroudsburg), 13-4
160 — Luke Nichter (Chbg) p Jeff Markert (Peters Twp.), 1:39
126 — J.J. Wilson (Cedar Cliff) d Grove (Chbg), 3-0
170 — L.Nichter (Chbg) md James lledo (Lower Merion), 12-2