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Class AA wrestling: Reynolds wins team crown; Boiling Springs' Wright named coach of the year

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HERSHEY, Pennsylvania — It took 51 years for Bedford Area High School to go from its second PIAA wrestling champion to its third.

It took South Park High School 25 minutes to go from its first state wrestling champion to its second.

It took six minutes for George Phillippi of Derry Area to become the outstanding wrestler of the 2014-2015 PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships on Saturday at the Giant Center.

And it took a six-second Vine to turn the spotlight on an anonymous Giant Center usher.

Phillippi's 1-0 decision over returning PIAA champion Korbin Myers of Boiling Springs in the 132-pound championship match was his second state title, a win impressive enough for the Derry Area junior to be named the meet's outstanding wrestler by a media vote.

Phillippi, who won the 2013 Class AA championship at 113 pounds, managed a second-period escape and rode out Myers for the entire third period, hanging on to a desperately rolling Myers over the final eight seconds.

"He kept rolling and rolling," Phillippi said. "You have to hold tight like a leech when that happens."

Phillippi's victory over Myers, the 120-pound Class AA state champion in 2014, was the clear highlight of a quality Class AA session. That's unless one counts the bizarre post-match moment at 160 pounds when a Giant Center usher tried to prevent Mifflinburg's Cole Walter from going into the stands to greet his family.

Walter, who defeated Boiling Springs' John Vaughn 9-4 to win his first PIAA title, joyously jumped over Giant Center dashboards to celebrate with family when an usher tried to tackle him in the aisle. Arena staff is trained to prevent people from leaping over the boards to reach the seating area.

Walter escaped the usher's grasp and continued up some arena stairs while fans looked on in disbelief. The moment was caught on the live statewide television broadcast of the state finals and was soon posted as a Vine, a Twitter service that allows users to capture and share videos of up to six seconds that play on a loop.

That moment might be the talk of this year's tournament, but there were plenty of other Class AA highlights.

At 126 pounds, Bedford's Jonathan Gabriel hit a five-point move in the final 16 seconds of the match to defeat Reynolds junior Seth Hogue 8-4. Gabriel's victory gave Bedford its first PIAA wrestling champion since Ron Hamilton won the 133-pound title in 1964.

"I tried not to think about that (51-year drought)," Gabriel said. "But now that I ended that streak — that curse — it's just an unbelievable feeling. I'm sure the (celebration in Bedford) will be crazy."

South Park, which has had wrestling for several decades but had not produced a state champion, finally broke through when Jake Wentzel scored two late near fall points to defeat Huntington's Jacob Oliver 4-2.

It took 25 minutes for South Park to claim its second title when Greg Bulsak defeated Troy's Nick Stephani 2-0 to win the 170-pound title.

Among the Class AA champions were Jefferson-Morgan freshman Gavin Teasdale at 106 pounds, Max Murin of Central Cambria at 113, Mike Carr of South Fayette at 138, and Kent Lane of Southern Columbia at 145.

Also winning titles were Dakota Geer of Franklin at 182, Dylan Reynolds of Saegertown at 195, Reynold "Buzzy" Maines of West Branch at 220 and Burrell's Al Beattie at 285. All were first-time champions.

Reynolds won the Class AA team championship with 87 points. Boiling Springs head coach Rod Wright was named Class AA Coach of the Year by his peers.

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