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Two-time champ

Sheffield’s Finch wins another D9 title

Photo submitted to Times Observer Ethan Finch controls 189-pound final opponent Hudson Martz of Redbank Valley on Saturday at the D9 2A Wrestling Championships at Clearfield High School.

CLEARFIELD — Two-time District 9 champion Ethan Finch.

It has a nice ring to it.

But Sheffield High School’s all-time wins leader doesn’t want his senior season to be defined at districts.

“It’s definitely a morale booster,” said Finch after winning the D9 title at 189 pounds on Saturday at Clearfield High School. “But I know I can’t be content. I have to stay hungry. My focus right now is winning gold at Hershey and to offensively dominate every match I can.”

Finch dominated every match on Saturday, and will join teammate Landon Mead at this weekend’s regional competition with Districts 9 and 10 at Sharon High School.

Photo submitted to Times Observer Ethan Finch, second from left, was 3-0 on Saturday to win the 189-pound division.

“Ethan turned in a stellar performance as usual, pinning all three opponents in under 4 minutes total,” said Sheffield head coach Jack Rice. “He’s gearing up for next week’s regional tournament. I think it might be one of the deepest weights. … He’s definitely ready.”

Finch, undefeated at 24-0, scored a 38-second pin in the quarterfinals and won by fall in 2:23 in the semifinals. In the finals, he faced off with Redbank Valley’s Hudson Martz, pinning him in 1:30.

Finch won a D9 title as a sophomore at 170 pounds and was runner-up last year at 182. He wound up sixth at the PIAA tournament for the first state medal for a Sheffield wrestler since Terry Schrader in 1992. Finch broke Schrader’s school record of 95 wins late in this regular (COVID-delayed) season and broke the 100-career wins mark a week later, currently at 105.

After his senior season, he will focus on the next level at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I always enjoy getting on the mat and wrestling the best competition I can,” said Finch, “and I just have to push the pace and go on offense the whole time.”

For the second consecutive season, Brookville captured the team title at the District 9 Class 2A Individual Championships at Clearfield. But Rice was impressed with his young group that had six top-four seeds in a tournament in which the top three in each weight class advanced to Sharon. Following regionals, there will be an unprecedented “super regionals” to cut down the state qualifiers to eight in each weight class due to COVID.

“Well, I’m super proud of how the team wrestled,” said Rice. “We are very young, but have improved exponentially during the season. I’m excited to see what next year brings. I would say today’s performance goes to Landon Mead; he really stepped it up today and wrestled to his seed. I noticed him turning on the switch about four weeks ago. He was aggressive and went after it and he earned his trip to regionals. It was a stepping stone for him. Win or lose next week, he accomplished a goal and can build from there.”

Seeded third, the Sheffield junior held on for a 4-3 decision over Brockway’s Jack Smith in the third-place match. Mead (18-11) bounced back from a pin in the semifinals to finish 3-1 on the day.

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