By Willie Saylor – Editor – The Open Mat
After two rounds Friday night, and ten more hours of wrestling inside a sweltering Heiges Field House Saturday, Spencer Myers and Nate Gaffney gave perhaps the best show of the freestyle competition in the last junior final of the night.
Three months after they had battled in PIAAâ€™s AAA folkstyle finals, Myers and Gaffney reprised their title match, this time with a state freestyle championship on the line. In March, in Hershey, Myers had staked an early lead only to sprain his ankle during the match and eventually fall to Gaffney, 5-4.
What they gave us on Saturday was a three-period epic.
Myers, (Selinsgrove, Jr.) with redemption on his mind, stormed out to a 6-0 first-period technical fall and seemed poised to take the title in two periods. Up 1-0 in the second via his patented low-single, Myers found himself in a scramble position with just seconds remaining. With a brilliant, if desperate measure, Gaffney (Connelsville, Jr.) converted a turn to score a hand-to-hand exposure and win the match 1-1 (last point criteria).
In the final stanza, Gaffney used Myersâ€™ aggressive low-singles to his advantage. Twice Gaffney scored on lifts while Myers was in on shots. With under a minute to go, Gaffney led the third and decisive period, 6-3. After two successful Myersâ€™ takedowns cut the lead to 6-5, Myersâ€™ applied a gut wrench with just seconds remaining. Gaffney wobbled. Myers squeezed. Gaffney posted. Myers twisted. And, as the buzzer sounded, with one hand on the mat and one in the air, Gaffneyâ€™s shoulders remained just outside of scoring criteria.
Gaffney had backed-up his folkstyle title, with a freestyle championship, both coming in close matches at Myersâ€™ expense.
While maybe the most suspenseful, Gaffney and Myers werenâ€™t the only familiar foes in the finals. Evan Craig (Abington Heights, Jr.) downed Tyler DeMott 3-0, 6-4 in the 285lb. finals with a 3 point score in the closing seconds of period 2. DeMott (Benton, Jr.) defeated Craig in last yearâ€™s Cadet National Championship final.
2009 Pennsylvania Junior Freestyle Finals Results
98 Robert Dâ€™Annuzio
105 Corey Keener WBF over Cody Wheeler
112 Greg Rinker WBF over Colton Keck
119 Mike Rhone 4-0, 1-0(clinch) over Nico Megaludis
125 Cameron Throckmorton 0-1, 2-0, 4-1 over Patrick Myers
130 Sam Sherlock 7-1, 7-0 over Garth Mahosky
135 Josh Kindig 6-0, 6-0 over Matt Martoccio
140 Andrew Alton 6-0, 7-2 over Mark Hartenstine
145 Dylan Alton 6-0, 5-0 over Jake Oâ€™Hara
152 Eric Hess WBF over Craemer Hedash
160 Corey Lear 2-0, 1-0 over Mark Havers
171 Mike Evans 8-0, 6-0 over PJ Tasser
189 Ed Ruth 6-0, 6-1 over Andrei Petroski
215 Nate Gaffney 0-6, 1-1, 6-5 over Spencer Myers
285 Evan Craig 3-0, 6-4 over Tyler DeMott