HERSHEY — There’s one match remaining in Scranton senior William Evanitsky’s career, and it’s the most important one he’ll ever wrestle as a Knight.
Evanitsky pulled off a 5-4 (TB2) overtime decision over Lower Dauphin sophomore Clayton Ulrey in their 152-pound semifinal Saturday morning at the Giant Center in Hershey. When Evanitsky returns to the arena tonight, he’ll wrestle for a Class 3A title at the PIAA wrestling championships.
Evanitsky (44-1) will go for gold against Bald Eagle Area sophomore Gage McClenahan (35-4). They’ll take part in the parade of champions at 6:45 before the Class 3A finals begin at 7.
Jacob Burgette (160 pounds), Evanitsky’s classmate, will wrestle one match later for either third or fifth place. Burgette won Saturday morning by major decision over North Penn junior Patrick O’Neill, 12-3, and has one more match in the early session to determine his medal round.
When Class 2A holds its medal rounds at 2 p.m., Scranton Prep senior Ivan Balavage (195) will wrestle for third place, while Lackawanna Trail senior Owen Hivner (170) and Western Wayne senior Cole Fuller (220) will shoot for a seventh place finish in the state.
Evanitsky said Thursday he has been wrestling sick since last weekend’s Northeast Regional tournament, and he was visibly fatigued in his semifinal win. He led Ulrey 4-2 but gave up a takedown in the final 30 seconds to send his bout to overtime for the second time in three matches this tournament.
In the one-minute sudden victory period that followed, Ulrey gained control of one of Evanitsky’s legs. But Evanitsky used the mat boundary to help prevent Ulrey from completing the winning takedown before the buzzer.
Evanitsky failed to escape from bottom in the first tiebreaker period and even received a stalling warning as he made his way back to center mat for a restart.
Yet Ulrey ended the period without any back points — and then fell behind 5-4 due to a caution point to start the second tiebreaker period. He had 30 seconds to escape and force a tie, but Evanitsky held on for the win.
Evanitsky laid back and collected himself for a moment once the final horn sounded. He has more than eight hours to rest up and take on McClenahan, last year’s seventh-place finisher at 145 pounds.
This is the second time Evanitsky and McClenahan will clash at the state tournament.
Evanitsky ended his 2017 season in fifth place at 145 pounds. In the process, he defeated McClenahan, 4-2, in the fourth consolation round.
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