PIAA Class 3A wrestling: One year after heartbreak, Central York senior reaches podium
A year ago, Macon Myers shed tears when he came one win short of a state medal.
On Saturday, he walked off the mat for the final time as a high school wrestler after another loss. This time he was at peace with the goal he accomplished.
Myers took fourth place at 160 pounds at the PIAA Class 3A wrestling championships at Hershey's Giant Center. He lost to 7-3 to Nazareth’s Dominic Wheatley in the third-place match.
It was his first state medal in a career that ends with a 106-34 record. Myers went 40-5 his senior season.
"I didn't want to end my career with a loss but I'm ecstatic that I finally placed," Myers said. "At the end of the day, placing at states is an accomplishment not many people have."
Myers said the biggest difference between his junior and senior seasons was his mentality.
That was evident on Friday. After a loss in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Rocco Welsh of Waynesburg, Myers faced the same win-or-go-home scenario that ended his season last year. This time he beat Souderton's Ben Beckett, 14-6, to guarantee himself a medal.
He earned two more wins on Friday morning to reach 40 on the season.
Central York head coach Eric Albright said Myers used to get in his head when something went wrong during a match, but that he learned to control what he could this season.
"He's grown so much," Albright said. "He's a totally different person between his ears. His ability to stay cool when something doesn't go his way when maybe in the past he would've unraveled. That is why he's where he's at and won a lot of tough matches."
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Myers had a large cheering section throughout the weekend — including his older brother, former Central York standout Mason Myers, and his former Panthers coach Seth Beitz. He smiled as he took photos with the entire group after receiving his medal.
Albright said he also took fourth place his senior year at Red Lion in 2005 and was disappointed with the result. He said it's a testament to Myers' maturity that he could feel the same disappointment but still enjoy the moment.
"I trained so hard, and I knew my time was coming," Myers said. "I can't explain how it feels knowing so many people have my back."
Also a lacrosse player, Myers will wrestle in college for NCAA Division I Bloomsburg. Albright said the senior should continue to improve as he focuses more on wrestling.
"He has so much untapped talent, and we tell him that," Albright said. "He hasn't put a ton of offseason work in (because of lacrosse) so the sky is the limit. He took fourth in the state, and he has so much left in the tank."
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Shippensburg's Dominic Frontino also finished fourth in Class 3A. The senior reached the 160-pound semifinals but finished 1-2 on Saturday — with a 2-1 loss to Chartiers Valley's Dylan Evans and a 3-0 loss to Bethlehem Catholic's Andrew Harmon.
A Brown commit, Frontino finishes his senior season 35-3. He went 106-23 with two District 3 titles and two state medals in his high school career despite tearing up his knee after his sophomore season.
Lebanon' Griffin Gonzalez finished eighth at 152 pounds after a 3-1 loss to Hempfield Area's Lucas Kapusta. Gonzalez lost to Kapusta, 7-0, in the quarterfinals Friday.
Gonzalez finishes his high school career 147-21 with two state medals and a District 3 title his sophomore season. He will wrestle in college for Lehigh.
Myers' teammate, Eli Long, also made it to the podium. The Central York junior finished eighth at 139 pounds. Long lost 10-7 to Greater Latrobe's Nate Roth. He led 2-0 after the first period but couldn't sustain the early lead in a high-scoring match with a number of questionable calls.
Long finished his junior season 39-11 with a District 3 title. He went 2-3 at the state tournament.
Spring Grove junior heavyweight Michael Hershey took seventh after beating Kennett's Bailey Shindle by injury default. Hershey led 4-2 before Shindle hurt his eye. Hershey's bout was the final one of the state tournament.
A Division I football recruit, Hershey finishes his junior season 42-7.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.