Jaquay, Finch, Black bring home state medals to cap off historic wrestling season
HERSHEY, Pa. – Logan Jaquay, Ethan Finch and Cael Black are bringing home the hardware.
After Friday’s action at the PIAA Class 2A wrestling championships at the Giant Center in Hershey, all three were guaranteed of spots on the podium in their respective weight classes.
And while none of them won their final match, they did secure a season for the ages for wrestling in Warren County.
It’s the first time since 1993 that there Warren County wrestlers earned state medals in the same season. That year, Youngsville’s Jim Hoffner and Matt Kiser and Warren’s Joe Farr and Mike Rodgers all won state medals, and this group now joins them in that rare achievement.
“They had pretty high goals,” Eisenhower coach Kris Black said of his duo.
“That’s not a big secret. For them to say that and put that in the paper at the beginning of the year … they knew they were going to put in the work to get to that point. They knew what they wanted and went and got it.”
Jaquay was locked in an absolute war with Brandon Chletsos of Notre Dame-Green Pond in their 120-pound third-place match. The two battled for more than seven minutes before Chletsos, the No. 14 ranked wrestler nationally at 120, ultimately secured the win in the ultimate tie-breaker.
That was coming on the heels of Friday night, when he lost a 7-4 battle with Troy’s Sheldon Seymour, who went on to win gold.
“Being in the state semis, that is the best round of wrestling in the world, and I mean that sincerely,” coach Black said. Pennsylvania, in my opinion, is the toughest state in the country to wrestle in. Friday night, state semifinals, for a chance to be a state champ, that’s a pressure-cooked situation. He wrestled a great match against Seymour. He gave up some back points in the beginning, battled through and made it a good match.
“You see so many times, that guy loses in the semifinals and they have 45 minutes to wrestle another match. He just went out and dominated (Cole Bayless of Reynolds). He was on. His mental toughness was on display. I’m super proud of him.
“The match with Chletsos, it was one of the best matches of the entire tournament Logan just showed that he can wrestle with anybody. He got pinned at the end trying to get out in the ultimate tie-breaker … just a phenomenal tournament for him in one of the toughest weight brackets. I’m proud of him and everything he’s accomplished.”
The Eisenhower senior finishes his career as one of the most decorated wrestlers in Warren County history. His 40-3 record this season brings his career total to 140, tops all-time in the county. He is also the only Eisenhower wrestler in program history to earn multiple state medals.
Jaquay has yet to decide on a college, but whichever wrestling program gets him will be getting a good one.
“Wherever he goes, they’re going to be getting a lot,” Black said.
Seymour defeated Ryan Michaels of Elizabeth Forward 7-4 to win gold.
Finch’s road to the podium was perhaps as impressive as anything that transpired over the three days in the ‘Sweetest Place on Earth.’
After on opening-round loss via fall, Finch had to win three-straight matches to medal at 182. He did just that, the last of which came via a first-period win by fall.
For good measure, he won his fourth-straight match, 6-5 over Tamaqua’s Nate Wickersham before a 4-1 loss to Dane Csencsits of Saucon Valley sent him to the fifth-place match on Saturday against Burrell’s Richard Feroce.
Feroce earned a 4-1 decision, but Finch’s 6th place finish in Hershey not only was a thing of beauty, but it sets him up nicely going into a senior season that will be filled once again with high expectations.
He also became the first Sheffield wrestler to earn a state medal since Terry Schrader in 1992. He finishes the season with a record of 34-12.
Black, meanwhile, took sixth at 220, joining his teammate Jaquay as the only underclassmen to reach the podium for EHS.
“On the way back (from states) last year, he said he was going to medal and finish in the top six,” coach Black said. “Cael handled that first match really well. He ran into a horse in the quarters that he lost to 3-1. He’s giving up a lot of weight, and honestly, I think he probably was the better wrestler. That kid just had too much horsepower. I thought he outwrestled everyone except for the last match. Giving up that weight at the state tournament is tough. They are all 220 and Cael’s right at 205. I thought he handled it really well.”
His final match in Hershey saw him take on Mount Union’s Jake Ryan in the fifth-place bout. The match didn’t go Black’s way, as he lost via first-period fall, but there is plenty to look forward to.
In back-to-back years, in weight classes dominated by upperclassmen, the sophomore has shined. In the 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285-pound weights, Black was one of just two sophomores to medal. The other was sophomore Patrick Cutchember of Quaker Valley, who beat Finch in the Round of 16, only to watch as Finch ended up finishing one spot ahead of him.
“I thought Cael handled that pressure really well (being in the blood round). It’s nerve-wracking, to be honest. After he won (against Evan Miller of Reynolds he just shook hands, gave me a half hug and moved on. He’s a mature kid for his age. He’s low-key.
“And then against Joey King (of Maplewood), who he lost to at sectionals, in the district finals and in the regular season, you could tell he was getting closer each time. Man, he just let it rip that match. It was fun to watch. Honestly, if he would have had more time in the second period, he would have pinned him. And then he just wrestled the third period really smart.
“That last match, he just got jackhammered. But in a way, I think that’s good, because I think that will make him even more hungry.”
After a 37-10 sophomore campaign, Black now has 71 wins, the most by a wrestler in his first two seasons in Warren County history.
He will be hot on the trail of Jaquay, and, as his father and coach Kris is quick to point out, the two have already had a lot of fun with it.
Several of their teammates also made the trip, which kept things light.
“We took Easton Hedman, Gannon Jaquay and our videotaper, Cole Chapman,” coach Black said. “They did a really great job of keeping it light, making sure Cael and Logan weren’t too nervous. Sometimes maybe a little too light. Those three helped the situation. For them, it was nice to have a group of people there. Those guys kept them in check.”
And all of the wrestlers received a heroes welcome upon their return home.
“I’d like to thank the Warren County Sherrif’s department and city police,” Black said. “They got an escort through town which was really cool. Sugar Grove had their firetrucks out with a little parade. I want to thank everyone, the boys really appreciated that.”
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Logan Jaquay (4th place, 120)
Round of 16: Tech fall victory, 16-1, Blake Wirt (Line Mountain)
Quarterfinals: Decision victory, 8-2, Eric Alderfer (Faith Christian)
Semifinals: Decision loss, 7-4, Sheldon Seymour (Troy)
Consolation Semifinal: Major decision win, Cole Bayless (Reynolds) 11-1
Third-Place Match: Fall loss (ultimate tiebreaker), Brandon Chletsos (Notre Dame-Green Pond), 7:19
Cael Black (6th place, 220)
Round of 16: Major decision win, Jackson Chilson (Wyalusing), 13-4
Quarterfinals: Decision loss, Duane Knisley (Chestnut Ridge), 3-0
Consolations: Decision win, Evan Miller (Reynolds), 3-2; Decision win, Joey King (Maplewood), 4-2; Major decision loss, Nathan Taylor (Brookville), 15-2
Fifth-place match: Loss by fall, Jake Ryan (Mount Union), :25
Ethan Finch (6th place, 182)
Round of 16: Loss by fall, Patrick Cutchember (Quaker Valley, 1:21
Consolations: Decision win, Travis Colson (Hamburg), 7-0; Decision win, Myles Baney (Huntingdon), 4-2; Win by fall Jacob Feese (Line Mountain), 1:53; Decision win, Nate Wickersham (Tamaqua), 6-5; Decision loss, Dane Csencsits (Saucon Valley), 6-2
Fifth-place match: Decision loss, Ricky Feroce (Burrell), 4-1