By Eric Shultz
HERSHEY — Colin Pasone’s final PIAA wrestling tournament has ended one day earlier than expected.
Pasone was disqualified from the rest of the PIAA Wrestling Championships on Friday night and therefore will not receive a medal at the end of the tournament Saturday. The Meyers senior received his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a consolation loss Friday night, which removed Pasone from the tournament and took away the state medal he had clinched earlier in the day.
PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said in an email Saturday morning that, by rule, Pasone’s two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties result in “a removal from the tournament and forfeiture of all accumulated team points.”
“He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct toward the official…he was critical of officials’ calls,” Lombardi wrote.
Meyers head coach Anthony Mercadante said Saturday morning that Pasone received his penalties after both his losses Friday, in the semifinals to Brookville’s Gavin Park and in a consolation match to Upper Dauphin’s Bronson Garber.
Pasone fell behind in the first period against Park and Garber but nearly erased his deficit both times.
However, Park used a 9-2 lead through two periods to his advantage, running about halfway around the mat as he escaped from Pasone in the third period at one point. Pasone picked up two stalling points and scored a takedown in the closing seconds of the bout, but Park hung on for a 10-9 win.
In the match that followed against Garber, Pasone trailed 2-0 after two periods but again rallied. He escaped in the third and wrestled Garber into a stall warning, but Garber won when Pasone was not awarded a takedown as time expired.
The loss should have placed Pasone in Saturday’s fifth-place bout. After the match, Mercadante said he thought Pasone may have secured the takedown, although he noted he and Garber were in a “funky position.”
“He had the leg in, but (Garber) was also wrapped around his waist, maybe could’ve pulled him over,” Mercadante said. “To me, it looked like two (points) because he was underneath the arms.”
Mercadante said he talked to officials following the loss to Garber and Pasone’s second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“There wasn’t much we could do there,” though, Mercadante said. “The rules are the rules.”
Pasone’s third and final PIAA tournament had originally started on a positive note.
In his first round of wrestling Thursday, Pasone defeated Garber, 7-3, to avenge a 2016 quarterfinals loss to the Upper Dauphin sophomore. He looked strong again in the quarterfinals of Friday’s morning session when he defeated Northwestern’s John Wheeler, 6-4.
At the time, the victory over Wheeler meant Pasone clinched a spot on the state medal stand.
“The kid’s wrestled through 15 years of his life,” Mercadante said Saturday. “He’s had a great career, a great run, great tournament. He accomplished a lot.”
Pasone started his postseason with his fourth District 2 championship, becoming the 24th wrestling in Wyoming Valley Conference history to win four district titles. After the district finals, Pasone said the win meant even more because it gave him second place on the Mohawks’ career wins list. His brother, Vito, is the only wrestler with more wins in Meyers history.
“It’s not the way you want to end your wrestling career, but it’s the way it ended,” Mercadante said. “He accomplished a lot, and I’m proud of him. I know the coaching staff is proud of him, too.”
For more updates throught the tournament, follow staff writer Eric Shultz on Twitter at @CVEricShultz.