HERSHEY – If a wrestler wins the last match of his career, he will have lasting good memories.
So even though Andy Schutz didn’t reach the ultimate goal of a state gold over the weekend at the PIAA Class 2A Championships, he left with a very good consolation prize: a victory in his final encounter.
The Wyoming Area 126-pounder won his seventh-place match on Saturday afternoon at the Giant Center defeating Saegertown’s Nick Monico, 3-0 in the final bout of his career.
“That was the objective,” said Schutz, who plans on wrestling in college but hasn’t made any commitments yet. “It’s hard to wrestleback, but I definitely didn’t want to go out with a loss so figured I might as well finish while I’m here.”
Schutz had a rivalry over the last few years with Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry, who was the only other District 2 wrestler in Class 2A to claim a state medal. Harry, a 132-pounder, placed fourth, losing to Hanover’s Ian Brown 5-0 in the third-place match.
Schutz got his points working the tilt in the second period and getting three for the nearfall. He rode out Monico the rest of the period. And in the third period he ended in the bottom position not being able to escape, but didn’t get turned either. He became the first state medalist at Wyoming Area since 1996 when Don Morgan also won the final match of his career taking third. Schutz also ends his career with the most wins in school history with 125.
“I guess the hard work is just paying off,” Schutz said. “I know that’s my answer for everything but that’s all I can really say about it.”
Harry meanwhile, dropped the final match of his junior season. But he did improve on last year’s eighth-place showing after not medaling as a freshman. He was hampered by an ankle injury he reaggrevated during his match with Brown after being taken down in the first period. He couldn’t escape from the bottom position in the second period, then allowed an escape and another takedown in the third period.
“Definitely not what I wanted, but fourth place is definitely better than eighth and definitely better than not placing at all,” said Harry, who is Lehman’s first consecutive state medalist since Matt Dragon in 2004 and 2005. “So I’m improving each year and hopefully next year it will be even better.”
Working in Harry’s favor for next season is that Keystone Oaks’ Nick Zanetta, who has been Harry’s nemesis over the last two seasons with victories in the quarters, will have graduated. Zanetta finished second on Saturday, losing to now two-time state champ Jason Nolf from Kittaning. Nolf and Brown, though, are underclassmen and will be back next season.
“I just have to work harder than them over the summer to improve,” the Black Knight said. “The goal is to finish odd (first, third, fifth, seventh) but I’m top four in the state and I can’t really complain about that. A lot of people can’t say they’ve ever done that. I still have another year and fourth place is pretty good.”