HERSHEY — Thor Balavage had one goal in mind when he began the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A Championships: become the first state medalist in Scranton Prep history.
Unfortunately for the Avoca resident, he fell just short of accomplishing that goal.
The 220-pound Balavage finished with one win and two losses at Giant Center on Thursday and Friday and came up one win shy of earning a medal.
The senior won his first match of the tournament on Thursday defeating Lehighton’s Wyatt Clements, 2-1 in the first round of the event. But he lost his second bout, 8-1 to Port Allegheny’s Ethan Budd to fall into the loser’s bracket.
There was only about two hours for Balavage to regroup from that loss and get ready for his next bout. He then dropped a 5-2 decision to Gage Gladysz from Greenville to get eliminated.
Balavage, who won the Northeast Regional Tournament last weekend and was also an All-State football player this season for the Cavaliers, never got in a good rhythm against Gladysz.
After a scoreless first period, Gladysz escaped in the second and worked a takedown. He also got a takedown in the third period after Balavage chose neutral trying to score points.
Balavage ends his career with two District 2 championships, two appearances in the state tournament and a school record 119 victories. Scranton Prep remains without a state medalist in its program’s history. He ends his season with a record of 35-4.
“I guess someone else will have to get prep’s first state medal. @IvanBalavage thanks to everyone for everything. <3,” Balavage posted on Twitter after his loss.
He was referring to his brother, Ivan, who is a sophomore and finished this season with 28 wins and was district runner-up at 182-pounds.
Wyoming Area had four wrestlers in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A Northeast Regional March 4-5, but no grappler was able to place in the top 4 to move on to Hershey. The Warriors did have one fifth-place finisher as senior Zachary Briggs went 3-2 in the regional. He defeated Danville’s Jay Brennan, 12-7, in his final bout.
Benton won the team title with 98 points. Wyalusing, Southern Columbia, Montoursville and Lewisburg rounded out the top 5. Meyers was the top team placer from the Wyoming Valley Conference with 31 points. Wyoming Area finished with 15.
Facing off with Benton’s Jeremy Walsh in his 170-pound opener, Wyoming Area’s Briggs found himself down 2-1 after the second period and 5-1 in the third. He scored three late points, but was edged out 6-4.
Briggs bounced back Saturday morning with a 14-2 major decision of Hanover’s JJ Hooper, but lost his second match of the tournament, a one-point decision to Sullivan County’s Dylan Ammerman, a Lehigh recruit.
Kendrick Beyer, the No. 2 seed at 126, ran into Hughesville’s Trevor Sones, who used two early takedowns en route to a 9-2 victory. The junior won his first match on Saturday, dominating Meyers’ Kevin Huertero, 5-0, before losing to Warrior Run’s Jeremy Hanford.
Patrick Heck, seeded third at 133, couldn’t overcome the surge of Benton junior Mike Stuart as the Warrior was pinned in the third period. He was eliminated by Milton’s talented sophomore Noah Stamm in his first-round consolation bout.
Adam Buczynski had the toughest road, and it showed — pinned by Lewisburg’s Andrew Shedleski in just 61 seconds in his 182-pound opener. The junior, though, picked up a nice win over District 2 champ Tom Williams of Lake-Lehman in the consolations before bowing out to Troy’s Zach Zimmerman.
Reach Dave Rosengrant at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @tldrosengrant. Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at [email protected]