HERSHEY — If there was any concern about how Brad Emerick would rebound from his first loss of the season, the Coughlin senior put that to rest on Thursday.
The 285-pounder won his first match of the PIAA Class 3A Championships in convincing fashion, defeating Canon-McMillan’s Angelo Broglia 5-2.
Emerick was one of three Wyoming Valley Conference seniors to win their first match in the 3A brackets on Thursday at the Giant Center to remain in contention for state gold and advance to today’s quarterfinals. Wyoming Valley West’s Kyle Krasavage and Crestwood’s Matt Hammerstone also stayed in contention for gold.
Emerick got a takedown on Broglia with 40 seconds in the first period for a 2-0 lead. After the lead was cut to 2-1 after two periods on an escape, Emerick put the match away in the third. He got an escape of his own to start the third period then answered with another takedown for a 5-1 lead.
Emerick let up Broglia later in the period for the 5-2 win and the third six-minute match for the Crusader in less than a week after not going the distance all season. Canon-McMillan won the PIAA Team Championships last month, which gives Emerick confidence as well.
“I’m feeling great right now. I feel like my conditioning is all the way up and I feel like right now I can go another match,” said Emerick, who didn’t get a chance to wrestle again on Thursday, but will today in the quarters against Methacton junior Tracey Green, a 5-1 winner in the preliminaries.
“Getting that first match out of the way is huge. That match sets the tempo for the rest of the tournament. If you come off a win, you’re feeling good. Your confidence is up and you’re just looking forward to the next match.”
Hammerstone, Crestwood’s 145-pounder, won in overtime 3-2 against Norristown junior Mikey Springer, who entered the event ranked fourth in the state according to PA Power Wrestling, while Hammerstone was picked last out the 16 state qualifiers.
“I look at them a little, but the real rankings are the end of the year when the top eight place and that’s what counts,” Hammerstone said. “Those rankings pretty much mean nothing until the final day here at Hershey.”
Springer went ahead 1-0 in the second period and Hammerstone quickly tied it up at 1-1 in the third period to force overtime. It marked the third time in less than a week that the Comet went to extra periods.
After a scoreless sudden-victory period, Hammerstone scored two points in the first of two mandatory 30-second periods getting a point for stalling and one for an escape to go ahead 3-1. Springer got an escape point in the next period, but that’s all he would get, sending Hammerstone into the quarters to take on Chris Vassar from Cedar Cliff.
“You know you’ve been in those matches before where both guys are tired,” Hammerstone said. “And that’s where I like to break my opponent and I try to go out and get points early and eventually hold onto the win.”
Krasavage, the Spartans 126-pounder, remained unbeaten this season, pushing his record to 39-0 with a fall in 1:48 over Clearfield’s Dylan Graham. Krasavage pulled Graham down with a bear hug, stepped into and turned his hip over to get him on his back. He hung onto it for the pin as time was winding down in the first period. It looked at first as if the referee wasn’t going to call the fall before time expired, but he did.
“I was hoping he was going to call it. I didn’t want to wrestle a second period. I wanted to get out of here as fast as I could. I want to hit the chocolate ride (at the Hershey chocolate factory tour),” said Krasavage who got his first win at states in his career after qualifying as a freshman. “I don’t think I’ll be nervous (today). I will come out and try to get another pin.
“My goal is to win, by pin. I don’t care if I pin my kid in the first period. I’m going out there and I’m gonna take it to him, whatever I have.”
Krasavage’s teammate, Travis Roper, didn’t fare as well. The junior was pinned in his first career match in Hershey by Central Bucks East junior Francesco Fabozzi in 5:28.
The 132-pound Roper dropped to the consolations where he went against Alex Smith from Manheim Township in an attempt to stay in contention for a medal. In a match with 25 points scored, Roper was down 11-4 entering the fourth period when he got Smith on his back and appeared to have a fall but was only awarded points.
It wasn’t enough, as his season concluded with a 14-11 loss.
“I was down there. It looked like one (a pin to me),” Valley West coach Drew Feldman. “He knows he’s right there. Hopefully this is motivation, takes a look around the arena and realizes this is where he wants to be. Come back next year and make a run at the state title.”