- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - Spencer Lee’s quest for a fourth state wrestling championship continued in typical Lee fashion on Friday.

The Franklin Regional 126-pounder was perfect - and spectacular - as he advanced to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals inside Giant Center. Lee, who vowed silence for the first two days of action, let his wrestling speak for him.

A day after pinning his first opponent in just 57 seconds, Lee rolled to a 15-0 technical fall over Harry S. Truman’s Gunnar Fuss in just 2:44 in the quarterfinals. Lee used two takedowns and flipped himself vertically on his head to tilt Fuss to his back for the clinching points.

“He was doing that headstand during that match to get back points there,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “He’s special. He kind of makes things up on the fly and he works hard at his craft. He’s just like anybody that’s great out there at any sport.”

Only 12 wrestlers have achieved the kind of greatness Lee is chasing. Bethlehem Catholic’s Ryan Anderson is the next wrestler in his way. They’ll meet in the semifinals when wrestling resumes Saturday at 9 a.m.

“He respects everybody,” Lebe said. “I think that the expectations he does have for himself is what drives him. Winning the Pennsylvania state title, winning the WPIAL title, winning international titles, they’re all goals of his and I think that’s why he works so hard and why he competes.”

Four others are looking to add to their championship medal cases.

Northampton’s Julian Chlebove (120 pounds), Penn-Trafford’s Cameron Coy (152), Bethlehem Catholic’s Mike Labriola (170) and North Allegheny’s Jake Woodley (195) are all returning champions still alive in their respective weight classes.

Save for a controversial 1-0 loss in the 2015 finals, Coy could be vying for the same distinction as Lee.

Instead, the Penn-Trafford star is competing for his third individual title in as many weight classes after conquering the 132- and 145-pound fields in 2014 and 2016, respectively. After pinning his first two opponents in a total of 3:30, Coy will face North Penn’s Colin Shannon in Saturday’s semis.

“There are a lot of mental aspects to this time of year and you see a lot of upsets because people aren’t in place mentally,” Coy said. “So you’ve just got to stay sharp in between the eyes and you’ve got to be as strong as your head is.”

Labriola, who picked up a 34-second pin in his first bout, advanced to the semis with 14-8 win over Greensburg Salem’s Alec Shaw. It was a particularly violent match with both wrestlers coming away with cuts and bruises on their faces and Labriola had to take injury time midway through.

“I like being physical when I wrestle,” Labriola said. “I like to break guys mentally and as the tournament goes on, I get more physical I would say but so do these kids out here. You’ve just got to match that and keep attacking them.”

Although he failed to get bonus points in his second match, Labriola’s seven takedowns were enough to help the Golden Hawks stay ahead in the team race after two sessions. They lead Nazareth 60-56.

“We want a team state title too,” Labriola said.

Meanwhile, Woodley did all he could to keep North Allegheny in the hunt for a Top 3 finish. He followed up a 19-7 major decision in Thursday’s opening round with a 25-10 thumping of Hazleton’s Carson Kinney in 5:44. Woodley set a frenetic pace with five first-period takedowns and added seven more in the next 3:44 to post the technical fall.

“I’m definitely trying to get the bonus points every match so our team does well,” Woodley said.

Both Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth have six wrestlers still alive but the second-place Eagles have four still wrestling in their respective championship brackets to the Golden Hawks’ six.

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