HERSHEY, Pa. - In his first two trips, Jordan Wood cried at the Giant Center.
He tagged along with his teammates for dinner at Applebee's to celebrate their final weigh-in, but he came home starving for the state championship he had been dreaming about since he was five years old.
On Saturday at the PIAA Wrestling Championships, Wood was five seconds away from the 220-pound state title that had evaded him the last two years. He started to look for his family in the stands, and he smiled. When it finally was over, his championship secure, Wood sprinted up the stands to celebrate with his mother.
With five state medalists, Wood and Boyertown have a lot to celebrate.
"We're going to Applebee's again," Wood said after his 4-0 victory against South Western sophomore Seth Janney. "I went [there] upset the past two years, and now I get to go be happy there, and eat everything in my sight."
"[Winning] is definitely a lot better than crying at the end of the day," Wood added. "My goal was to get the monkey off my back. . . . I had my sights set on gold this year, and I wasn't letting it go."
After tearing his labrum in offseason training, Wood's return was not guaranteed at the beginning of the year. After strenuous rehabilitation, he was able to return.
"He's got an incredible work ethic," Boyertown coach Pete Ventresca said. "He suffered a major injury, but he was able to fight his way back from that, and he applied the same work ethic he has on the mat to his rehab and the results are showing. . . . In the past his biggest opponent was himself. This time nobody was holding him back, Jordan was able to wrestle like Jordan."
Council Rock South sophomore Zack Trampe took second in the 126-pound division following a loss in the finals to Bethlehem Catholic's Luke Karam by a score of 5-2.
Trampe said he'd use the experience as an opportunity to improve his technique in anticipation for his next two seasons.
"I can take some technical things away from this that I can go over with my coaches," Trampe said. "I can just take it and use it as a motivation for next season. As next season rolls around, I'll be thinking in the practice room about how I didn't finish on top."
The day for Owen J. Roberts' Derek Gulotta ended early after he suffered a concussion in the semifinals. It resulted in a sixth-place finish for the four-time medal earner. Wildcats' senior Demetri D'Orsaneo also placed in his final go-round, finishing fifth after beating Bethlehem Catholic's Stephen Maloney.
Boyertown's other medalists were: Jakob Campbell (106), Lucas Miller (126), Gregg Harvey (182) and Tommy Killoran (285), who placed sixth after losing to Neshaminy's Bruce Graeber by a score of 8-3.