PIAA Class AA Wrestling Tournament: Rose falls short in semis

Freedom senior loses on referee's call in OT

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John Heller, Post-Gazette
West Greene's Justin Blumer, bottom, escapes from Mount Pleasant's Zach Holt to win a 1-0 decision is a PIAA Class AA semifinal match at 112 pounds.
Click photo for larger image.

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Freedom senior Damian Rose lost his bid to win a second consecutive PIAA Class AA wrestling title. The manner in which he lost made it especially heartbreaking last night at the Giant Center.

Rose lost a controversial 2-1 decision in the 140-pound semifinals to sophomore Aaron Nestor of Reynolds, 43 seconds into the overtime. A stalling point was charged against Rose after he stepped out of bounds.

"Damian wasn't backing up intentionally. He was pushed," Freedom Coach John Rosa said. "The ref made the call and we've got to live with it. I'm disappointed. I don't agree with the call. Let the kids decide it, but there was no controversy. Our guy lost."

Less than two hours after the semifinal, Rose lost a fourth-round consolation to Jaryd Steinbacher of Montgomery, 4-1.

"[Nestor] just pushed into me the whole time," Rose said. "He wasn't taking any shots. I wasn't thinking that they would call me for a stall. He kept bull-rushing into me and I couldn't get out of it."

There will be matchups of WPIAL wrestlers today in the finals at 112 and 171 pounds.

Derry sophomore Troy Dolan and West Greene senior Justin Blumer will square off in the 112 title match. Blumer, an Oklahoma state champion last year, edged Zach Holt of Mount Pleasant, 1-0, in the state semifinals. Dolan routed Steve Waite of Fort LeBoeuf by a 17-1 technical fall in the second period.

Blumer has lost twice to Dolan this season, including the Southwest regional finals in Johnstown last week.

"I'm not going to try a different strategy or anything [against Dolan]," Blumer said. "You just go out there and wrestle."

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At 171, Jeannette's A.J. Graves (40-0) is the only unbeaten wrestler remaining from the WPIAL. Graves decisioned Patrick Walsh of Schuykill Valley, 5-2. Valley senior Logan Downes (44-4) won by a 4-2 decision in the 171 semifinals against Simon Fowler of Central Cambria. Downes lost to Fowler last week at the regional.

Downes, a third-place finisher at the PIAA in Class AAA last year, has lost three times to Graves this season, which includes the WPIAL final two weeks ago at Charleroi.

Other WPIAL wrestlers reaching the PIAA Class AA finals were Jason Weslager of Belle Vernon at 119, Mount Pleasant junior Donnie Ament at 145 and senior Elliot Bates of Chartiers-Houston at 275.

Ament (48-3) tied the WPIAL single-season record of 47 wins by edging previously unbeaten Jeff Becker of Slippery Rock, 4-3.

Ament is tied with Kiski Area 130-pounder Tylar Oravec for most wins in a season by a WPIAL wrestler. Oravec (48-4) broke the record earlier in the day in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

At 189, Burgettstown senior Rich Froats lost his first match of the season, by fall in 3:20 to Pat Bradshaw of Saegertown in the morning quarterfinals. Froats rebounded with consolation victories against Phil Henderson of Chartiers-Houston, Matt Panasevich of Mountain View and Blaine Kosack of Loyalsock.


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