The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 2, 2014

Richland wrestler rebounds


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Milestones and medals: Taylor Cahill and Bryce Fochtman made sure Saturday was memorable for Berlin Brothersvalley fans.

The juniors each picked up their 100th career victory and clinched a second consecutive trip to Hershey.

Cahill did it in the consolation semifinal round, when he pinned Highlands’ Nolan Wise. Cahill ended up losing his consolation final match to South Fayette’s Grant Fetchet – who also beat him on Friday night – but earned the PIAA appearance with a fourth-place finish at 152 pounds.

Fochtman, who was the second seed, lost back-to-back matches and was in danger of not getting the milestone or a medal on Saturday. He lost 5-2 to Cambria Heights’ Levi Niebauer in the semifinal round on Saturday morning, then was pinned by Jefferson-Morgan’s Ryan Zalar.

“Getting knocked off, it’s like an ego check,” Fochtman said. “You have to bounce back. I didn’t get it that first round of consys, but that fifth-place match is a gut-check. You win, you go on, you lose you go home.”

Fochtman made sure he wasn’t going home as he beat Mount Union’s Dylan Smith 6-3. While Fochtman hit the century mark with the win, it was the PIAA berth that really was important to him.

“I’d much rather be headed down to Hershey than getting my 100th win,” he said. “Getting to Hershey is much more important to me.”

Berlin’s Joe Swank also qualified for the state tournament by placing fifth at 120 pounds.

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Talented trios: Cambria Heights is one of four local teams that is sending three wrestlers to the state tournament. In addition to Niebauer, who placed second at 160 pounds, the Highlanders have heavyweight Aaron Gill, who placed fourth, and 126-pounder Joe Davis, who beat Richland’s George for fifth place.

“Three guys going is awesome,” Cambria Heights coach Mike Eckenrode said. “The places – you always want one better. I’m delighted to have all three of them going. The match for Levi to get into the finals was big, but the match for Davis to go for fifth? That just made my day.”

In addition to Cambria Heights and Berlin, Chestnut Ridge and Bedford each had three qualifiers.

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