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Beatty punches ticket to Hershey

INDIANA–Bryce Beatty put in the work to make it to Chocolate Town. Now he’ll find out how sweet of a trip it will be.

The Mount Union senior placed second at the PIAA Class 2A West Super Regional, assuring himself of a spot in the final eight in Hershey – and the state medal that goes with it.

“It was a big goal,” Beatty said on Saturday inside the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. “I aimed for a medal. Now that we’re there, we’ll see what color I can get.”

As the runner-up in the West, Beatty will face South Williamsport junior Robert Gardner, the third-place finisher from the East, in the 113-pound quarterfinals on Friday.

“His first goal was to get to Hershey and medal,” Trojans coach Corey Wertz said. “He did that. We’re going to give it our best shot next week.”

A third-place finisher in District 6, Beatty reached the regional final then duplicated the feat on Saturday at the super regional.

“We looked at the bracket going in and thought we had a good chance of winning our first two if he wrestled like he did the first weekend, and he did,” Wertz said. “He was locked in again this morning.”

Beatty pinned Fort LeBeouf’s Jacob Bennett in the quarterfinal round, then picked up another fall over Northwest champion Justin O’Neill of Hickory in the semifinal. He had outscored his opponents by a combined 15-1 before the falls.

“I wrestled pretty amazing,” Beatty said of his performance in the morning rounds. “I had a game plan going into my matches and just kept to my game plan and went with it from there.”

District 6 champion Coen Bainey of Bald Eagle Area beat Beatty 12-2 in the final. After giving up the opening takedown, Beatty reversed Bainey to tie the bout at 2, but Bainey scored reversals in the first and second along with a point for locking hands. Trailing by five in the final minute, Beatty tried a throw that resulted in five points for Bainey to make the match look more lopsided than it was.

“The other kid wrestled a good match,” Wertz said. “We had to try something at the end in the finals, and got put on our back. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Bainey had a similar outlook on the result, saying that a rematch with Beatty could go differently.

“It could have been a 2-1 match,” the Bald Eagle Area wrestler said. “Next week, if we meet up again, it could be 3-2. It’s just how the match goes sometimes. There’s nothing you can do about it. You do your best and how it goes is how it goes.”

Wertz didn’t want the final result to ruin what has been a phenomenal run by Beatty, and he told him as much.

“‘Keep your head up. You made it to next week. We’ll watch some film, we’ll make some adjustments and we’ll work on what color that medal is,’ “ Wertz said of what he said to his wrestler. “It’s gravy from here on out.”

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