Luke Kemerer (145) and Louis Newell (120) competed for the WPIAL All-Stars taking on Iowa, while Jack Davis (132) and Cole Matthews (138) represented team Pennsylvania against the United States All-Stars. The WPIAL fell 36-6 in a blowout. Team PA kept it close to the end, but one match was the difference as the US pulled it out 23-21.
It’s called the Rose Bowl of Wrestling for a reason: Barry Davis, Dave Schultz, Ken Chertow, Nate Carr, Kenny Monday, Kurt Angle, Cary Kolat, Cael Sanderson, Mike Zadick, Steve Mocco, Henry Cejudo, Jake Herbert, Coleman Scott, Kyle Snyder. And those are just some the Olympians. Listing the NCAA Champions/All Americans would take too long. Here, look for yourself:
Formerly known as the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic, the 44 year tradition is always one of the highlights of the wrestling season, and, always the subsequent week, helps fans ease their withdrawal after the NCAA Championships.
Luke Kemerer was the first Pitt commit to wrestle, taking on Ryan Steffen from Cresco, Iowa. He won a solid 8-2 decision, one of just two WPIAL wrestlers to walk away victorious. “I took him down a couple times, I got two near fall, I feel like I controlled the match, I feel like I wrestled pretty well.” Aside from wrestling well and winning, competing in front of thousands of fans in an All Star match may be intimidating to some high school athletes. Not Luke though. “It was awesome… It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to competing here in the future.”
Closing out the dual for the WPIAL was Seneca Valley native Louis Newell. With the dual already out of reach, Newell looked to end the match on a high note for the hometown fans. Unable to get much offense going, and surrendering multiple takedowns, Newell fell 9-5 to Drew Bennett, a Fort Dodge native and Northern Iowa commit.
In the Main Event, the US took the first two matches, including a major decision by Gable Steveson. A four time state champ with a perfect 171-0 record, Steveson heads to Minnesota next year as one of the best heavyweight, if not overall recruits of all time. There are many in the wrestling community already projecting him to win the NCAA title next year, especially with Kyle Snyder and Adam Coon gone.
In the third match, Jaret Lane, who will be wrestling for Pat Santoro next year, got team PA back in it, and brought the crowd to its feet when he hipped over Kyle Biscoglia, pinning him in the third period. Looking to continue the momentum, Canon-Mac Big Mac Logan Macri got an early takedown on Patrick McKee, another Golden Gopher commit. However with McKee’s prowess on top (a theme in his family), Macri came up just short 6-4. One could argue this was the deciding bout, as all the other matches Team USA won were by larger margin.
Up next was Jack Davis, another member of Keith Gavin’s first recruiting class with the honor of representing his State. After giving up several takedowns and three back points, Davis was on the wrong end of a 9-2 decision. He wrestled tough though, one of the key traits for transitioning to the next level.
Following Davis, the last future Panther to compete, Cole Matthews, found himself in a barn burner with Quinn Kinner of Mullica, New Jersey. Both two time state champs, these young men left it all on the line for their teams. A takedown followed by two quick back points ended up clinching it for Matthews, but not without a late third period escape and a last second scare.
“Match awareness” was key for Matthews at the end: knowing the time and his position on the mat. “Staying on the edge, fighting hands, and not giving up a takedown.”
Like Kemerer, Cole is very eager for the future. “It’s incredible and I can’t wait to have many more exciting moments here and become a Panther.” Continuing, “I’m just honored to be a part of the Classic and thankful for everybody that’s put it together. I can’t wait to see what I can do at the next level.”
Sammy Sasso had arguable the most exciting match of the dual with four timer Brock Hardy from Utah. Losing 8-7 with 14 seconds left, right as Hardy looked to start earning nearfall, Sasso was able to come around for the reversal.
Match of the night!
Sammy Sasso with a reversal in the final 20 seconds to take out Brock Hardy, 9-8. Team USA leads, 13-12. pic.twitter.com/CqwYCNVxRb
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) March 25, 2018
After Cody Mulligan (Saegertown) and Gavin Hoffamn (Montoursville) won at 182 and 195 respectively, team USA had a 23-18 lead, meaning Gavin Teasdale needed to pin his opponent to win. This has happened before. For example, in 2007 it was 22-18 USA, in 2016 it was 23-20. In both instances, the Pennsylvania rep (Troy Dolan and Austin Bell) were not able to get the fall.
Likewise this year, Teasdale did not secure the pin, but wrestled a fantastic match nonetheless. Taking on No. 1 Patrick Glory, a New Jersey native and Princeton commit, Teasdale needed a late takedown to win. He used this sweet low single to get it done.
Gavin Teasdale gets it done in the final 10 seconds to get revenge on Pat Glory. pic.twitter.com/ZJkFc82aQ2
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) March 25, 2018
Team Pennsylvania has not won since 2011, but has come very close multiple times. As always, it was a great event.