2019 PIAA Championship Wrestling Final Update w/ Photos (Brought to You by Spirk Brothers Inc.)

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Josh Jones stands atop the 2019 PIAA State Wrestling Championship podium.

The 2018-2019 PIAA wrestling season is over. After qualifying six wrestlers for the 2019 PIAA State Wrestling Championships, the Panthers leave Hershey with four place-winners. It is the first time ever that Saucon Valley had four medalists on the PIAA podium in the same season. Josh Jones (1st, 132), Matt Arciuolo (3rd, 160), Thomas Spirk (8th, 138) and Nick Rosengrant (8th, 145) all proudly and courageously represented Panther Nation on their 2019 journey through Hershey.

Coach Chad Shirk with his 2019 PIAA championship medalists (Nick Rosengrant, Thomas Spirk, Josh Jones and Matt Arciuolo).

You can’t help but notice how pleased Panther coach Chad Shirk seems to be with his program’s performance. And, why not? Seven consecutive Colonial League titles, four straight District XI championships and now, for the first time in school history, four individuals climbing Hershey’s Giant Center podium in the same season.

“This is great, this is what you want, this is what you work for,” Shirk said when asked about putting four wrestlers on the PIAA podium. “I am so happy for these kids. It is great to see all of their hard work pay off in arguably the toughest high school state wrestling tournament in the country. It is very fulfilling.”

Panther Flashbacks!

  • In 1976, the Saucon Valley Panthers placed three wrestlers on the PIAA podium in big-time style. Jim Zenz (105), Rick Rodriguez (145) and Jerry Rodriguez (167) were all crowned State Champs!
  • In 2011, three Saucon Valley wrestlers climbed the PIAA podium. Bryan Israel (103, 6th), Ray O’Donnell (171, 4th) and Ian Gimbar (189, 3rd).

Senior Josh Jones led the Panthers all the way through the 2018-19 season. Jones certainly qualifies as a highly-decorated wrestler and is committed to continue his athletic and academic career at George Mason University. He also received tons of interest from Rutgers, NC State and others. Many schools certainly took notice of Josh’s talent and work ethic and it is only fitting that he ends his high school career on top with a PIAA gold medal. Jones has “champion” written all over him!

Milestones: Josh Jones

  • Career Record-  154-31
  • 2016-  5th District XI, 6th Regional place-winner, PIAA State qualifier
  • 2017-  1st District XI Champion, 1st Regional Champion, 5th PIAA State tournament
  • 2018-  1st District XI Champion, 1st Regional Champion, 2nd PIAA State tournament
  • 2019-  1st District XI Champion, 1st Regional Champion, 1st PIAA State CHAMPION!

Don Rohn shares a special moment with Josh Jones. The two represent Saucon Valley’s first and latest PIAA state champions.

Saucon Valley State Wrestling Champions

  • 1970 Don Rohn (112)
  • 1971 Don Rohn (120)
  • 1972 Dan Santoro (133)
  • 1975 Gary Albright (185)
  • 1976 Jim Zenz (105)
  • 1976 Rick Rodriguez (145)
  • 1976 Jerry Rodriguez (167)
  • 1977 Jerry Rodriguez (185)
  • 1982 Bill Hershey (126)
  • 1996 Joey Killar (152)
  • 2009 Brandon Palik (215)
  • 2013 Ray O’Donnell (220)
  • 2019 Josh Jones (132)

Josh Jones has his game face on as he takes the mat in the 2019 PIAA Championship final against undefeated Tye Varndell.

Jones match summary (132)

  • 132 SE#1 Josh Jones Sr. (45-4) Saucon Valley, decision NW#1 Tye Varndell Sr. (42-0) Cambridge Springs, 7-3.
    • Pd. 1: Jones scored first with an early single-leg takedown and rode Varndell tough the remainder of the period for a 2-0 lead.
    • Pd: 2: Jones deferred and Varndell chose to start bottom. Jones got a quick turn with a bar-tilt for three near-fall points. Varndell was able to escape. Most of the remainder of the second period was wrestled from their feet, but Jones was able to counter a Varndel leg-shot and get behind him for a takedown to close the period with a 7-1 lead.
    • Pd. 3: Jones started the final period on top and controlled Varndell until about halfway through the period. Varndell was able to reverse Jones with just under a minute remaining. Varndell did come close once to locking up a cradle, but for the most part, Jones was never really in any trouble. Josh Jones is, forever, a PIAA champion!

Saucon Valley senior Josh Jones in a very familiar place during the 2019 PIAA championship final.

Panther junior Matt Arciuolo gets in deep on a shot in the PIAA 3rd Place consolation final.

Arciuolo match summary (160)

  • 160 SE#1 Matt Arciuolo Jr. (40-5) Saucon Valley decision SW#2 Tyler Stotzfus Jr. (40-8) St. Joseph’s Academy, 2-1.
    • Pd. 1: Thirty seconds in, from his feet, Arciuolo cleared Stoltzfus’ hands, shot in on a single-leg and converted for a 2-0 lead. Almost immediately, Arciuolo cut Stoltzfus to close out the first period with a 2-1 score.
    • Pd. 2: Arciuolo deferred his choice and Stoltzfus chose the top position. Stoltzfus was able to get legs in and aggressively ride Arciuolo. It was very close, but Arciuolo fought off the attacks and refused to be turned. After a little blood-time and injury-time ticked away, Arciuolo held on to his 2-1 lead.
    • Pd. 3: With his choice, Arciuolo chose to go neutral and compete on his feet. Almost one minute into the 3rd, Arciuolo got in deep on a shot that led to a scramble. Panther fans held their breath. But, when the dust cleared the wrestlers were back on their feet and neutral. With about thirty seconds remaining, Arciuolo gave a little too much ground and was given a stalling warning. After a little injury-time for what appeared to be an Arciuolo ankle injury, the wrestlers restarted with about 25 seconds left. The two hand-fought, faked and battled. With about four seconds left, Stoltzfus looked secure a head-lock. However, Arciuolo fought it off just long enough. As time expired, Arciuolo was thrown to his back, but it was too late. Arciuolo held on for his 2-1 victory to finish in 3rd Place.

Stoltzfus was very physical on top, but Arciuolo was a warrior with his defense.

Saucon junior Thomas Spirk battled bravely in the 2019 PIAA medal round.

Spirk match summary (138)

  • 138 SW#3 Mulachi Duvall So. (33-13) Penn’s Valley, decision SE#5 Thomas Spirk Jr. (39-10) Saucon Valley, 9-8.
    • Pd. 1: Halfway through the opening period, Spirk was able to convert a single-leg takedown at the edge of the mat. After the restart, Spirk used a bar-tilt to turn Duvall as time ran off the clock, but there just wasn’t enough time. Spirk led 2-0.
    • Pd. 2: Duvall won the toss and opted to go down. After an early escape, Duvall high-crotched Spirk for a takedown to take a 3-2 advantage. After a restart, Duvall was able to turn Spirk with a ball-and-chain for three near-fall points. At the end of the second period Duvall led 6-2.
    • Pd. 3: Spirk chose neutral and went on the attack. Spirk shot immediately and both wrestlers crashed to the mat. After a 30-second scramble Spirk was able to get his two and close the deficit to 6-4. With one minute remaining, Spirk cut Duvall to make it 7-4. Once again, Spirk attacked and was able to take Duvall down. With about 30 seconds left in the match Spirk trailed 7-6. With a fresh restart, Spirk cut Duvall loose and then trailed 8-6. With 20 seconds remaining, Spirk was able to get behind Duvall and tie the score 8-8. However, Duvall slipped out of Spirk’s grasp with five ticks left on the clock to win 9-8.

Spirk converted the late takedown to tie the score, but could not hold on for the win.

Saucon senior Nick Rosengrant went toe-to-toe with Palisades’ Nathan Haubert in the PIAA 2019 medal round.

Rosengrant match summary (145)

  • 145 SE#3 Nathan Haubert Sr. (16-4) Palisades, decision SE#4 Nick Rosengrant Sr. (39-13) Saucon Valley, 2-1.
    • Pd. 1: Rosengrant and Haubert spent the entire opening period on their feet hand-fighting and feeling each other out. The score was 0-0 at the end of the first period.
    • Pd. 2: Rosengrant had choice and opted to go under Haubert and only five seconds in was awarded an escape point. About 30 seconds later while the wrestlers were tied-up, Haubert was able to scoop Rosengrant’s left leg and convert the takedown. Haubert held on the rest of the way with a 2-1 lead.
    • Pd. 3: With his choice, Haubert opted to go down. Rosengrant rode Haubert tough, but was not able to get a turn. It was a 2-1 final in favor of Haubert. Haubert was the 2018 State Champ at 145.

Rosengrant needed a turn, but Haubert wouldn’t go.

 

Great job Panthers, the Source is with you!

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