Bermudian's Clabaugh earns regional gold medal
WEST LAWN – The awards keep piling up for Austin Clabaugh.
One week after he earned the first District 3 title of his career, the Bermudian Springs senior added a regional gold medal to his resume. Clabaugh was the lone York-Adams wrestler to reach the top of the medal stand at Saturday's PIAA Southeast Regional Class 2A championships at Wilson High School. He beat Pequea Valley's Tanner Ball, 2-1, in the 126-pound final.
Just like after the District 3 tournament, Clabaugh didn't smile as he stood on the podium. After winning just one match at last season's PIAA tournament, Clabaugh has spent all season working toward earning a state medal. The 2017 PIAA Class 2A championships begin Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey.
"It's all been a lead-up, three weeks of lead-up here of wrestling some of these same guys," Clabaugh said. "It pretty much tested me, it was about getting my seed, proving that I can dominate these guys."
Having beaten Ball in the District 3 semifinals the last two seasons, Clabaugh knew his opponent's tendencies and how to attack him. After scoring a takedown in the second period, the Eagles senior wrestled conservatively on his way to a one-point win. It was the same final score as his win over Ball at districts.
While wining a state title is far from easy, Clabaugh didn't hesitate to name that as his goal. He said he feels confident after beating highly ranked grapplers in Ball and Boiling Springs sophomore Kollin Myers the past two weeks.
"I love the fact that I get to wrestle them every week, stay comfortable and confident with the way I wrestle them," Clabaugh said. "I'm hoping to go to the state tournament and be able to dominant everyone else. I'm hoping to go straight to the finals, whether I see them or not."
Overall, 11 Class 2A wrestlers from the YAIAA finished in the top six on Saturday to qualify for the state tournament. Eight reached the semifinals on Saturday morning, while Bermudian 152-pounder Ashton West (fifth) , Bermudian 113-pounder Landon West (sixth) and Delone Catholic heavyweight Bryce Perkins (third) battled through the consolation bracket to medal. After Clabaugh, only Bermudian Springs senior Noah Fleshman and Littlestown sophomore Carl Harris earned silver medals.
Harris was easily defeated by tech fall against Susquenita's Dalton Group in the 170-pound final, but Fleshman nearly gave Bermudian a second gold medalist at 195. The senior went into overtime against Upper Dauphin's Donny Geinett, but gave up a takedown in sudden victory to lose, 4-2.
"I'm not a poor sport at all, the first thing my dad said was, 'You've got to learn from it,' " Fleshman said. "Once you make it to states, there's not much more to learn. We've been doing it for so long at that high of a level, it's just little details you've gotta fix in the room. That (takedown) I thought was there the whole time, I just couldn't get it for some reason."
Another feat that was repeated for the second straight week happened at 285 pounds, where Perkins once again went through the consolation bracket to finish in third place. The Squires senior was disqualified due to stalling in the quarterfinals on Friday, but won four consolation bouts to earn bronze.
While he said he was proud to have shown resolve after an early setback, Perkins is hoping to put himself in a better position at the state tournament.
"You've got to realize these tournaments are double-elimination, you've gotta keep grinding," Perkins said. "This week was easier than it was (at districts) because I knew I could do it. At this point, everybody's tough."
The YAIAA had one other bronze medalist in Kennard-Dale 145-pounder Andrew Barnett. The other medalists were Eastern York 182-pounder Jahshim Synder (fifth), Kennard-Dale 138-ponder Nick Bradley (sixth) and Delone Catholic 160-pounder Brian Shermeyer (sixth).