Eisenhower’s Jaquay repeats as NW Region champion, breaks Fehlman’s county wins records; Sheffield’s Finch, Ike’s Black also headed to Hershey
SHARON, Pa. – Logan Jaquay checked off a lot of boxes on Saturday.
Defend his Northwest Region Class 2A title – check. Beat the opponent that gave him his first and only loss of the season at districts a week earlier – check. Become Warren County’s all-time wins leader – check.
Jaquay accomplished all those things at Sharon High School, and he will be joined at states by teammate Cael Black and Sheffield’s Ethan Finch, both of whom finished third in their respective weight classes. All three are advancing to Hershey for the second-consecutive season, and in Jaquay’s case, the third.
And the senior Jaquay was dominant in earning his repeat.
After advancing to the semifinals on Friday at 120, he squared off with talented Brookville freshman, District 9 champion Brayden Kunselman (34-6).
Jaquay tech falled Kunselman, recording his 136th career win in the process. That breaks the mark of former Warren standout and current Lock Haven senior D.J. Fehlman, who had 135 in his four years.
That set up a rematch with Cole Bayless of Reynolds, who earned an 8-6 decision over Jamestown’s Chase McLaughlin in their semifinal match. Bayless handed Jaquay a 6-1 loss in their District 10 final a week earlier.
This time was different, with Jaquay earning a third-period fall at the 4:47 mark to put another notch in the belt of his historic high school career.
“Logan was dominant on both days and saved his best for the finals,” said Eisenhower coach Kris Black. “This was a good weekend for him. To break the county record, to beat a guy that beat him in the district finals, he set himself up really well in the state tournament as far as the bracket goes. I’m excited to see what happens.
“Cole Bayless is a super good kid and has the best coach in the state in my opinion. He’s a great kid. Logan did the same thing with the Brest kid from McLane last year. He had a good game plan going in. He stuck to his game plan. Sometimes he just so offensive he just gets ahead of himself. He wrestled phenomenal and this puts him right where he wants to be.”
On Friday, Finch earned a pin in his quarterfinal match at 182 to get to the semis, where he squared off with District 10 champion Bryce McCloskey of Reynolds (39-5).
Finch and McCloskey battled for six minutes, with McCloskey claiming a hard-fought 4-1 win to advance to the finals, where he beat previously unbeaten Cameron Whisner of Kane.
Still, Finch (30-9) needed one more win to make a return trip to states. He got it against Brookville’s Elliot Park, pinning him with 1:02 left in the third period.
That sent him to the third-place match against Slippery Rock’s Vito Pilosi, the District 10 runner-up. Finch capped off his day in grand fashion, getting a 3-2 decision win to finish third.
Black, like Jaquay and Finch, also advanced to the semifinals. Like Finch, he got beat in his semifinal match, 13-3 by District 9 champion Nathan Taylor (35-5) of Brookville at 222. Taylor went on to win via major decision over Maplewood’s Joey King in the finals (12-2).
Black, like Finch, needed to win his next match to get back to states. He did just that, earning an impressive 9-4 decision over Lakeview’s Isaac DeVault.
That set him up with a familiar opponent, Reynolds’ Evan Miller, in the third-place match. Black (34-7), like he did at districts a week earlier, beat Miller, this time by a 3-2 decision.
“Cael had a really solid match on Friday,” coach Black said. ” He ran into a buzzsaw in the semis. The biggest thing at this time of year, if you lose that one, and you have to come back, you’re usually your short on time. You’re looking at probably 45 minutes to get your head right.
“He showed a lot of maturity for a sophomore. I thought he showed really good focus and dominated the next match. He was solid and in control the whole time. I’m super-proud as a coach and as a dad. That third-place match, that’s tough to do, beating the same kid three times in a row, with Reynolds nation staring down at you.”
The regional also marked the end of terrific seasons by Youngsville’s Collin Clough and Jake DeSimone, as well as Eisenhower’s Gannon Jaquay and Jesse Gourley.
After both losing their first match on Friday at 138, Jaquay (30-15) and Clough (21-19) were sent to the consolation bracket. Jaquay dropped a heartbreaker, 3-2 to Cochranton’s Justin Boozer, while Clough lost via and 11-3 major decision to Kane’s Luke Ely.
“Gannon was 0-2 but had a terrible call go against him,” coach Black said. “That put him in not an ideal situation. He wrestled a really close match with kid who dominated him earlier (Boozer). Thirty wins as a sophomore at a solid weight, you could just see him maturing throughout the year. He has a bright future.”
Like Jaquay and Clough, DeSimone (21-15) and Gourley (14-18) dropped their opening matches on Friday. Saturday morning, DeSimone lost via fall in the second period, and Gourley got pinned in the first period in his match.
“Jesse Gourley getting knocked out at sectionals, with what went on there to get all the way to regionals … just really proud of him,” Black said. “He was playing with house money as coach Johnson was saying. He was wrestling the best of his career. Just really proud of him and the effort he gave.”
Logan Jaquay will receive a first-round bye at states and will face the winner of Line Mountain’s Blake Wirt (39-10) and Saucon Valley’s Travis Riefenstahl (28-18).
Finch will square off in his first match against Patrick Cutchember (37-9) of Quaker Valley, while Black draws Wyalusing’s Jackson Chilson (30-7).
Just a sophomore, Black will be pushing the record established by his teammate.
“What else can you say?” Black said. “If you’re at the top of the list of the guys in Warren County that we’ve had, you’re doing something right. It’s funny, it’s kind of a competition with him and Cael at this point. It’s been a good thing for both of them. Logan knowing he has to stay after it an set that bar as high as he can. Basically, here it is, come get it if you can. It’s been a motivator for both of them. It’s fun as a coach and as a dad.”