Here's why a second District 3 title is 'sweeter' for this Shippensburg wrestling star
Shippensburg senior Dominic Frontino didn't hesitate when asked the question.
How does this District 3 title compare to your last one?
"100% this one is sweeter," Frontino said with a big smile Saturday. "I'm just taking it all in. It means a lot.
"But I'll be prepared in two weeks."
Frontino won the 160-pound District 3 Class 3A title at Spring Grove Saturday with a dominant performance. He beat Manheim Central's Brett Barbrush, 16-0, in a tech fall that ended midway through the second period. Barbrush entered the tournament 40-3 with 108 career wins but was no match for the Shippensburg senior.
However, nobody was a match for Frontino this weekend. The senior won his first two bouts by pin and tech fall and beat Central Dauphin's Michael Beers, 8-2, in the semifinals.
First round to final bouts:Complete results from the District 3 wrestling championships
More:They weren't close to gold last year. Now these YAIAA friends are District 3 wrestling champions
Frontino's dominance wasn't exactly surprising. The Brown commit is 34-1 this season and 105-21 over his career.
But the path of his career has been far from easy.
He won a District 3 title at 138 pounds as a freshman. He took third the next season and reached "Super Regionals" during the COVID-affected 2021 campaign. Then he tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee at a tournament in Virginia Beach that May. He didn't return until January of his junior season — which still beat the expectations of his doctor.
He still went 21-4 with a second-place district medal and eighth-place state medal at 152 pounds last season. That would be an excellent season for most wrestlers, but Frontino knew he was capable of more.
That's why Saturday's win meant so much to him.
"Coming home from Virginia Beach, my dad told me: 'You've got your work cut out for you, but the only way is forward,'" Frontino said. "You're never satisfied with getting second but I was thankful for being on the mat. I 100% thought I'd get back to where I was. All my coaches always tell me that every time I've stepped on the mat since I was a little kid, I've gotten better. That's the goal. To keep getting better."
Frontino will have huge expectations at the state tournament in Hershey in two weeks, but he said he's embraced that. He said he's learned to move past the "butterflies" he had as a freshman.
And he has a clear goal for his final trip to the state tournament.
"State champion," he said with the smile never leaving his face.
Frontino's Shippensburg teammate, Diesel Koser, took third at 215 pounds to qualify for states.
It was also a big weekend for the Chambersburg wrestling program, which took fourth in the team race in the same season it won a match at the team state tournament. Four Chambersburg wrestlers qualified for states — Luke Mentzer (127 pounds, third place), Aiden Hight (189 pounds, fourth place), Zach Evans (215 pounds, second place) and Avery Kuhns (285 pounds, fourth).
In the 215-pound finals, Evans led J.P. McCaskey star Jose Garcia, 5-0, after the first period but was eventually pinned and took silver.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.