North Xtra: North Hills twins match bronze medals

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When watching the Class AAA lower middleweights at the PIAA tournament last weekend in Hershey, it often looked like one North Hills wrestler was competing in two different weight classes.

Of course that is impossible, because a wrestler can only participate in one bracket. The reason it looked that way was because North Hills has identical twins who both qualified for the state tournament.

Seniors Tyler and Drew Walker both finished third at the WPIAL Class AAA tournament March 2, earning a trip to Hershey.

The two were not just satisfied with "making the trip," however. Both found there way to the medal stand, as Tyler Walker (39-3) took third at 126 pounds and Drew Walker (35-6) finished seventh at 132 pounds.

"We click with each other," Tyler Walker said. "Once I win, he wins; we just 'vibe' off each other. I love it."

Drew said he gets motivated by seeing his brother win right before he takes the mat.

"He starts the momentum off," Drew said. "He gets the win, so then I want to win even more. That's usually how it goes."

It's not surprising the two placed high despite finishing third at WPIALs.

Both wrestlers were part of weight classes dominated by WPIAL wrestlers. The only two wrestlers to finish ahead of Tyler at 126 pounds were Canon-McMillan's Connor Schram and Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer. Walker lost to Kemerer in the semifinals, 8-3.

The other two WPIAL wrestlers in Drew's bracket, Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith and Connellsville's Ethan Kenney, took first and third, respectively.

"The WPIAL is very strong," Tyler Walker said. "I think it's probably the hardest out of all of [the districts]."

Curry rebounds from loss

A lot was expected of North Hills freshman Gage Curry at the PIAA Class AAA tournament last weekend.

Curry, a Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling champion the two previous years, entered the tournament with a 34-3 record and was coming off a second-place finish at 106 pounds at the WPIAL championship.

His loss at the district tournament was a 4-1 setback to Greater Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher, a heavy favorite to win a state title.

Many prognosticators expected a rematch in the PIAA finals, but Curry got pinned in his first match by Dylan Chatterton of Central York.

"I just had to go back and regroup," Curry said. "Just had to get ready for the next match."

Curry pinned Jason Rinaldi in nine seconds in his next match and went on to win his next two matches to set up a rematch with Chatterton in the consolation semifinals.

"I thought I could redeem myself," Curry said.

He did, pinning Chatterton in the third period to advance to the third-place match. Curry (38-5) lost to Tyrone Klump, 3-1 in the tie-breaking periods, to finish in fourth place.

Rodgers reaches milestone

North Allegheny junior Jesse Rodgers did a lot at the PIAA Class AAA tournament this past weekend.

He avenged his WPIAL Class AAA championship match loss to Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca, he won his 100th match and he placed for the first time at the PIAA tournament, taking fourth place.

"I wrestled probably the best I've wrestled all season," Rodgers said.

The 100th win came with a 12-0 victory against Manheim Central junior Ben Metzler Friday night in the second round of the consolation bracket.

"It was nice to get it here, but 100 wins is 100 wins," Rodgers said.

Rodgers (40-7) won his following match as well to set up a rematch with Maruca in the consolation semifinals.

After losing to Maruca, 4-3 in a tiebreaker, the week before, Rodgers won on Saturday, 2-1 in the ultimate tiebreaker, to advance to the third-place match.



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