HERSHEY — Jimmy Hoffman is back in the state wrestling finals.

The Hazleton Area senior won his 132-pound semifinal over Altoona senior Cole Manley to advance to tonight’s championship round of the PIAA Class 3A Wrestling Championships here at Hershey’s Giant Center. Hoffman, last year’s runner-up, will try to end his Cougars career with a state championship when the Class 3A finals begin at 7 p.m. The finals will be aired live on PCN.

Scranton’s Willie Evanitsky (145) will also wrestle for fifth place during the medal rounds.

“It’s unreal. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I still have one more match to go, and it’s the most important match of the year,” Hoffman said. “It’s what you work for leading up to high school and all throughout high school. I’m just happy I’m getting the opportunity to do it here again with Hazleton.”

Hoffman will wrestle Council Rock South senior Zack Trampe in his final. Hoffman, ranked No. 18 in the country by Intermat, has beaten No. 19 Trampe the last two times they’ve met — by a 5-3 decision in last year’s PIAA semifinals, and in a 43-second pin during this season’s Bethlehem Holiday Classic. Trampe won two decisions over Hoffman at the Bethlehem tournament during their freshmen and sophomore seasons.

Hoffman returns to the state final following a 2-1 semifinal victory that needed to be determined in via ultimate tiebreaker.

“That was just a really fun match to wrestle,” Hoffman said. “I couldn’t get much. I was having trouble getting to his legs. I knew if I kept trying to circle him and maybe get him out of position, I might be able to get a takedown.

“But he stayed in good position the whole time. It was hard for me to get in on his legs.”

Manley, ranked No. 11 in the country and a Virginia Tech commit, kept Hoffman from getting completely around him for a takedown in the first period. He escaped for a 1-0 lead in the second and then had two minutes to ride Hoffman out for a win.

But Hoffman got out from under Manley for the tie, and they held their ground until the UTB period.

Hoffman held Manley down to win. Manley got to his feet, but Hoffman kicked Manley’s leg out from under him and they rolled out of bounds with one second to go.

The victory meant Hoffman has tied his all-time series with Manley, which he noted yesterday goes way back to elementary school days (read more here), at 2-2.

It also means he gets to add one more chapter to his series with Trampe with PIAA gold on the line. Hoffman has made it back to the finals, which is where coach Keith Maurer told him to carry the memory of his late grandfather to back in January (read more here).

“I know their styles. I know what they’re going to do. They know what I do,” Hoffman said of his rematches today. “It’s just a matter of who’s got more heart and who’s more prepared to go.”

Before Class 3A returns to the Giant Center floor, the Class 2A medal rounds will be decided. Those start at 2 p.m., and Valley View’s Brett Uhrin (138) and Scranton Prep’s Ivan Balavage (195) will try to win seventh place (read more here). Meyers’ Colin Pasone (120), meanwhile, was disqualified from the tournament Friday night and won’t wrestle for fifth place (read more here).

Check out how District 2’s wrestlers have done all week below. For updates throughout today’s tournament finales, follow this blog as well as staff writer Eric Shultz on Twitter at @CVEricShultz.

 

132 pounds

Jimmy Hoffman, Hazleton Area

Up next: Championship Match vs. Council Rock South’s Zack Trampe.

Semifinals: Won by decision over Altoona’s Cole Manley, 2-1 (UTB).

Quarterfinals: Won by decision over Cumberland Valley’s Wyatt Long, 4-1.

First Round: Won by decision over Waynesburg’s Caleb Morris, 5-0.

Preliminaries: Did not wrestle (bye).

 

145 pounds

Willie Evanitsky, Scranton

Up next: Fifth Place Match vs. Big Spring’s Tucker Brough.

Consolation Fifth Round: Lost by decision to North Allegheny’s Jake Hinkson, 3-2.

Consolation Fourth Round: Won by decision over Bald Eagle Area’s Gage McClenahan, 4-2.

Consolation Third Round: Won by decision over Coatesville’s Brent Wendle, 3-2.

Consolation Second Round: Won by decision over Muhlenburg’s Stefahn Mayo, 3-2.

Consolation First Round: Won by decision over Northampton’s Devon Britton, 3-1 (SV).

First Round: Lost by major decision to North Allegheny’s Jake Hinkson, 12-4.

Preliminaries: Did not wrestle (bye).

 

 

PREVIOUSLY ELIMINATED

132 pounds

Tom Traver, Tunkhannock:

Consolation Second Round: Lost by decision to North Allegheny’s Luke Landefeld, 5-0.

Consolation First Round: Won by fallover Waynesburg’s Caleb Morris, 2:27.

Preliminaries: Lost by decision to Penn Trafford’s Job Chishko, 6-4.

 

152 pounds

Jacob Burgette, Scranton

Consolation Second Round: Lost by tech fall to Coatesville’s Chase Stephens, 20-4 (4:19).

Consolation First Round: Won by decision over Chambersburg’s Drake Brenize, 3-1.

First Round: Lost by major decision to Cumberland Valley’s Will Kaldes, 19-7.

Preliminaries: Did not wrestle (bye).

 

170 pounds

Xavier Barber, Dallas

Consolation First Round: Lost by decision to Altoona’s Brinton Simington, 3-2.

First Round: Lost by decision to Pottsgrove’s Ryan Finn, 5-4.

Preliminaries: Did not wrestle (bye).

 

182 pounds

Tyler Neglia, Wallenpaupack

Consolation First Round: Lost by decision to Bethlehem Freedom’s Ryan Deloach, 4-1.

Preliminaries: Lost by decision to Central Mountain’s Caleb Turner, 5-1.

 

195 pounds

Carson Kinney, Hazleton Area

Consolation Third Round: Lost by fall to Upper St. Clair’s Eli Grape, 0:49.

Quarterfinals: Lost by tech fall to North Allegheny’s Jake Woodley, 25-10 (5:44).

First round: Won by major decision over DuBois’ Dave Henninger, 11-3.

Preliminaries: Did not wrestle (bye).