Owen Hivner’s dreams of winning a gold medal were dashed after his first match at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 2A Wrestling Championships March 8-10 in Hershey.
That didn’t stop the Lackawanna Trail senior from battling back to earn a state medal.
Hivner (38-6) pinned Littlestown junior Carl Harris (33-7) in 49 seconds to secure seventh place.
“He got a shot off on me and kind of took me down,” Hivner said. “I hipped over, put him in a cradle, and then put him to his back. I’m definitely happy. My goal was to be on the state podium, first through eighth, I didn’t really care where it was.”
Harris defeated Hivner by an 8-7 decision in his opening bout.
“My coaches were telling me before I wrestled him not to tie up and I made that mistake,” Hivner said.
Although dropping the first match was disappointing, Hivner was able to regroup and win his next two to guarantee a spot on the medal stand.
He defeated Harbor Creek senior Shane Watkins (37-12), by a 4-1 decision, in his first consolation match to stay alive in the tournament.
“My coaches were stressing for me to win my first two (matches) and I’d automatically be in the top six,” Hivner said. “It was a little tough losing that first match. I knew, after that, if I lost one more time my high school season would be over and I wouldn’t be on the state podium. I knew I just had to work a little harder.”
Hivner faced a familiar opponent, Mahanoy junior Colin Fegley (34-3), in a must-win match if he was going to medal.
“I left it all out there,” Hivner said. “That could have dictated my season…it would have been the last match of my entire high school career. He beat me twice prior to the state tournament (the Kiwanis and Coal Cracker finals), so to beat him in the blood round was pretty exciting.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.