- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - Three was the magic number at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday.

Three of Pennsylvania’s top wrestlers each won their third PIAA wrestling title, the first time that has occurred in 22 years in the same tournament and only the second time in the 79-year history of the PIAA Wrestling Championships.

Franklin Regional junior Spencer Lee, Bethlehem Catholic senior Luke Karam and Greater Latrobe senior Luke Pletcher all scored state titles to raise their personal totals to three apiece.

Lee only wrestled 12 scholastic bouts this year after suffering a shoulder injury in the offseason that forced him to sit out the entire regular season, returning only in time for the postseason tournaments.

But he had no trouble gaining his third straight championship, posting three first-period pins and a technical fall in the 120-pound finals against Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto. DeSanto entered the state championship match with a 50-0 record.

Lee, 109-0 in his high school career, dominated DeSanto in the final, leading 6-0 after one period and rolling up nine more unanswered points in the second period to win by technical fall 15-0 in 3:32. Usually stoic, Lee celebrated briefly after the win.

“I think I celebrated there because of the adversity I went through like having six months off and not wrestling, coming back with my team, training hard with the Franklin room and coaches pushing me,” Lee said. “I knew winning a state title would mean the most to me just because of those reasons. It didn’t matter who I wrestled for that reason.”

Karam (39-3) had considerably more difficulty winning his title, a 1-0 win over Tyshawn White of Central Dauphin at 126. One of Karam’s three losses this year was to White (49-1) in the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships in February.

Karam received a point for a let-up escape at the start of the second period. When White had the choice to start the third period, he chose the neutral position, eschewing the match-tying escape. Karam is good on top and White is comfortable on his feet. But was unable to secure a winning takedown.

“I wasn’t happy with the way I wrestled on my feet,” said Karam, 156-10 in his career. “But I never let him get in for the takedown.”

Pletcher, who won titles in 2013 and 2014 before finishing second last year, executed a workmanlike 3-1 triumph over Easton’s Evan Fidelibus at 138 pounds. Pletcher finished the season 43-1 and his career at 166-5.

Nazareth’s Tyson Klump (41-9) and Penn Trafford’s Cameron Coy (37-0) also became multiple gold medalists, winning at 106 and 145 pounds respectively.

Four wrestlers won their school’s first wrestling titles: Hayden Hidlay (40-1) of Mifflin County at 152, Kaleb Young (37-0) of Punxsutawney at 160, Jake Jakobsen (39-1) of Stroudsburg at 195 and Jacob Robb (34-1) of Armstrong at 220.

Other Class AAA champions were Northampton freshman Julian Chlebove at 113, Bethlehem Catholic’s Joey Gould at 132 and Mike Labriola at 170, North Allegheny’s Jake Woodley at 182 and Bethlehem Liberty’s Andrew Gunning at 285.

Bethlehem Catholic won the team title with 126.5 points.


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