GHS sends 5 boys to states

The Gettysburg HIgh School wrestling program continues to flex its muscle in District 3 as one of the premier programs. The season began with the Warriors rejoining the Mid-Penn Conference after spending the previous 8 seasons in the York-Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association. The squad found the tougher competition challenging, going 3-3 in conference duals to factor into their overall 13-5 record. But, as the old adage states, “iron sharpens iron,” and the Warriors turned heads in this weekend’s District 3 championships, held in Spring Grove.

For the first time in school history, Coach Chris Haines’ team qualified five wrestlers for the upcoming PIAA Class AAA State Championship to be held in Hershey on Thursday, March 9 through Saturday, March 11. In doing so, the team finished second to district powerhouse Central Dauphin and ahead of three teams that defeated them in the dual meet season. The team showed its balance by accomplishing this feat without an individual champion, and surviving the difficult path that the consolation bracket presents.

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Gabe Pecaitis, junior 139 pounds, was the lone finalist, where he dropped a major decision 11-1 against Elias Long of Central York in the championship bout. Pecaitis, 25-6 on the season, will be making his second straight trip to Hershey in pursuit of his first medal. HIs first match is scheduled in the round of 16, when he takes on Austin McMIllan, 28-4, of Oxford Area, who is the Southeast regional runner-up.

At 189 pounds, senior grappler Tyler Withers advanced to the state championship round after finishing third during the District 3 tournament. Withers, who had a sterling campaign at 38-3, will square off against sophomore Carter Euker, 34-10, of Perkiomen Valley, the Southeast Region 5th place medalist. This bout will take place in the opening round of 32.

Other Warriors making their first trip to State include two freshmen in Will Yordy at 107 pounds, Isaiah Jackson, 114 pounds, and junior Jaxon Townsend, at 160. Yordy finished a strong third place at Districts with a 39-11 overall record, and he faces Dorian Hoffman, 43-5, from Wyoming Valley West, the Northeast Regions 4th place finisher. Jackson, 29-17 on the season, finished fourth and will take on Cole Coffin of Pennridge, 38-6 and Southeast Region 3rd placer. Townsend, 35-10, also finished fourth in District 3, earning a bout against Connor Wetzel of Shikellamy, 34-8, who claimed third place in the Northeast Region. All three of these Warriors will compete in the opening round of 32, as well.

District 3- AAA is large enough to compete as the Southcentral Region, and the competition is fierce, serving as a challenging build-up to the State tournament. The Warriors are hoping to find a spot on the podium for at least one wrestler, and the first since Dylan Reinert ended his high school career in third place at the 2020 event. 

For wrestling fans,  great resources are available, but the two best include FloWrestling for live & up-to-the-minute results at:  https://arena.flowrestling.org/event/11952f7a-ee43-4710-8d7a-74e10d18ce68 and  http://live.pa-wrestling.com/2022-2023/piaa-class-aaa for a comprehensive review of all the competitors.

On the AA side of the tournament, local grapplers include Hayden Yacoviello-Andrus of Bermudian Springs at 127, third place at Southeast Regionals, Cameron Mingee of Littlestown, fifth place at 139 and Joey Ney of Biglerville, sixth place at 145 pounds.

Four Gettysburg Lady Warriors also qualified for the state tournament, to be held next weekend at Central Dauphin High School: Zoey Haines, Zalika Roberts, Kylie Monroe, and Kiera Henry.

The Pennsylvania wrestling community looks forward to this time of year, and one of the nation’s finest tournaments always provides excitement & highlights. 

Scott Woods is a Gettysburg native, Carlisle HS graduate, and a Penn State University alumnus. After receiving his degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, Scott spent thirty years working in the hospitality industry, managing properties for restaurant companies and retirement communities in the Baltimore/DC area. He returned to the family farm in 2017, and along with his spouse Blythe, established Maggie's Farm Gettysburg. Scott enjoys sports and the great outdoors, getting there as often as possible.

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