(Updated 1:51 p.m.) HERSHEY — Two Wyoming Valley Conference wrestling droughts ended early Friday.
With D.J. Erickson’s victory in the third round of consolations, the Hanover Area senior clinched the WVC’s first medal at the PIAA Wrestling Championships since 2017. Not only that, but he’ll be the league’s first Class 2A wrestler to receive a state medal since three placed in 2015 and the Hawkeyes’ first since 2001.
Erickson became one of the final eight wrestlers at 152 pounds with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Benton freshman Nolan Lear. His decision came not long after Montrose’s Joe Hester (132 pounds) became District 2’s only other 2A medalist this season.
Erickson didn’t allow a takedown during his rematch of last weekend’s Northeast Regional final. Tied 2-2 in the third period, Erickson escaped from bottom for the lead and blocked all of Lear’s last-minute shots.
He and Hester — a 4-2 winner in his medal-clinching match — will return to Giant Center tonight to complete the 2A consolation bracket. By the end of the evening session, they’ll know whether they’re competing for third, fifth or seventh place in Saturday’s final session.
Tunkhannock junior David Evans (120) nearly battled to a medal, too, but was pinned in the third period by Biglerville’s Blake Showers. Evans took a lead in the first and second periods during an athletic bout with reversals by both sides.
It’s the second consecutive year Evans fell in the third consolation round.
Lake-Lehman’s Bob Long (132) and Hunter Burke (145) and Tunkhannock’s Gavin D’Amato (145) were also eliminated earlier in the morning.
Here’s a brief rundown on how District 2 has performed in 2A so far today. For more live updates throughout the tournament, follow staff writer Eric Shultz on Twitter at @CVEricShultz.
David Evans (22-4), Tunkhannock junior, 120 pounds
Up next: Eliminated.
Consolation third round: Lost to Biglerville junor Blake Showers by pin (4:02).
Quarterfinals: Lost to Boiling Springs junior Caydin Wickard by 11-1 major decision.
Joe Hester (43-4), Montrose senior, 132 pounds
Hester scored a huge takedown in the third period to go ahead 8-3 against Chapman. It eventually forced Chapman to try to takedown and release Hester in an unlikely comeback effort, which Hester put an end to with one more takedown.
Up next: Tonight’s consolation fourth round vs. Everett senior Garret Cornell.
Consolation third round: Won over Philipsburg-Osceola junior Chase Chapman by 11-6 decision.
Consolation second round: Won over Quaker Valley sophomore Conner Redinger by 4-2 decision.
Bob Long (31-10), Lake-Lehman senior, 132 pounds
Long nearly moved on, but a 5-0 lead evaporated late in his final career match. Chambers reversed before the second period ended and wound up scoring the final six points of their bout. Long goes out as a 100-match winner who’s last victory was a pin at states Thursday.
Up next: Eliminated.
Consolation second round: Lost to Ellwood City senior Donavin Chambers by 6-5 decision.
Gavin D’Amato (31-11), Tunkhannock junior, 145 pounds
D’Amato’s first trip to states came to an end after a tight finish with Mooney. D’Amato looked to have scored a winning takedown with 15 seconds remaining, but Mooney got an escape plus two points in the closing seconds for a successful rally.
Up next: Eliminated
Consolation second round: Lost to Northwestern senior Caiden Mooney by 4-3 decision.
Hunter Burke (23-11), Lake-Lehman sophomore, 145 pounds
Burke’s first tournament is over, but there could be more where this one came from. He helped the Black Knights get to Hershey early this season in the state’s team tournament and had his hand raised here Thursday, too. This could be valuable experience for his next two seasons with Lehman.
Up next: Eliminated
Consolation second round: Lost to General McLane sophomore Jackson Spires by 6-3 decision.
D.J. Erickson (40-5), Hanover Area senior, 152 pounds
Down 3-1, there wasn’t much more Erickson could do against Harder. He pushed him backward and out of bounds once, then did it again to earn a stalling point. Time was on Harder’s side, though, and it seemed clear he knew it as he coasted to the semifinals.
Erickson didn’t let himself fall behind against Lear in his next match. In fact, he didn’t give up a takedown for the entire five minutes. Erickson had the only takedown and escaped in the third period for a 1-point lead that held through the buzzer.
Up next: Tonight’s consolation fourth round vs. Greenville senior Mason Karpinski.
Consolation third round: Won over Benton freshman Nolan Lear by 3-2 decision.
Quarterfinals: Lost to Bermudian Springs junior Trenton Harder by 3-2 decision.