HERSHEY — Ridgway’s McClain twins — Lukas and Logen — experienced a thrilling opening day Thursday at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships as senior duo each pulled out one-point victories in the their first-round bouts to reach today’s quarterfinals.
Both are making their second straight trip to Hershey, with Logen coming away with a seventh-place medal at 138 a year ago. The each moved up a weight class this year, with Lukas competing at 138 and Logen at 145.
Lukas McClain (33-5) hit the mat first Thursday against Notre Dame-Green Pond junior Nicholas Vonelli (37-5).
The pair wrestled a scoreless first period before Vonelli grabbed the lead with an escape from the bottom position just six seconds into the second period. The two them battled on their feet the remainder of the period.
McClain chose bottom in the third and wasted little time taking the lead as he needed just nine seconds to reverse Vonelli to go up 2-1. Vonelli worked free for an escape to knot things at 2-2, but the Elker notched a key takedown with 1:17 remaining to take the lead for good a 4-2.
Vonelli escaped with 49 seconds left, but McClain was able to hold him off on his feet to come away with the one-point victory.
With the victory, Lukas McClain set up a quarterfinal matchup with Northeast Region champion Matthew Milbrand (36-3), a senior from Bloomsburg. Milbrand upended Berlin-Brothersvalley’s Tristan Pugh, 6-3, in their first-round contest.
Logen McClain (34-8) then stepped on the same mat as his brother and battled his way to a 3-2 victory against South Fayette senior Mike Cusick (37-7).
The bout started very similar to the preceding one, only Logen McClain was the one who scored an early escape in the second period to take a 1-0 lead. The two battled on their feet the rest of the period, but Cusick managed to pull even when McClain was hit twice for stalling in the period — the second coming with four seconds left.
Cusick chose bottom in the third and escaped 20 seconds in to grab a 2-1. It looked like Cusick might hold of McClain, but the Elker got in deep for a takedown with 28 seconds remaining to come away with the 3-2 win.
Next up for Logen McClain in today’s quarterfinals is Palisades junior Nathan Haubert (28-3), the Southeast champ who placed fourth at states a year ago. Haubert notched an 11-1 major decision against Westmont-Hilltop’s Clayton Dorian (29-11) in his first-round bout Thursday.