The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 2, 2014

Richland wrestler rebounds


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Fresh face: Somerset’s Austin Hemminger made his first trip to the regional tournament a memorable. The third-place finisher in District 5, he wasn’t expected to do much. In fact, he said his goal coming into the tournament was to survive until the second day.

The freshman did much more than that. Hemminger scored a reversal in the closing seconds to stun Meyersdale’s Tanner Hetrick, which was good for fifth place at 132 pounds and a place in the state tournament.

“I never would have thought I’d even make it to regionals as a freshman,” Hemminger said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

So was his 5-4 victory over Hetrick. The Meyersdale senior trailed 3-2 for much of the third period, but he scored a reversal to take the lead in the final 30 seconds. Needing only to ride out Hemminger for the victory, Hetrick looked to be in control.

“I thought I was getting in trouble there,” Hemminger said. “I just wrestled to the end. You go hard to the end. That’s what we work for.”

It paid off, as Hemminger scored a reversal with about four seconds remaining for the victory.

The Golden Eagles also have a qualifier at 170, where Landon Lohr took third place. Quinn Cole finished just short, placing sixth at 106.

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Late heroics: Not all of the drama was reserved for the medal round. Westmont Hilltop’s Logan Blackburn used a headlock in the closing seconds to force overtime against Huntingdon’s Collin Glorioso, then scored a takedown in overtime to beat the sophomore, who placed third in the state last season.

Blackburn, who lost to Glorioso in the District 6 finals two weeks ago, trailed 2-0 in the closing seconds, when he came up with the desperation headlock.

“I knew he’d be ready for a shot, so I thought I’d just rush him,” Blackburn said. “What’s the worst that could happen? There wasn’t much time left. You just can never give up.

The takedown gave him the confidence to get in on a shot and score the winning takedown in the overtime period.

“I felt like I had a little edge, just because I had the momentum,” he said.

Blackburn didn’t need any drama in his third-place bout. He won via medical forfeit over Bedford’s Jon Gabriel.

Bedford coach Brian Creps didn’t say what Gabriel’s injury was, but said that with a trip to Hershey already assured, there was no sense risking further injury.

“He’s just a little banged up and it wasn’t worth wrestling this weekend,” Creps said. “If everything goes well, he should be OK for next weekend.

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