The wrestling season came to an end for the Tunkhannock Tigers on Friday, Mar. 8, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Juniors David Evans, 120, and Gavin D’Amato, 145, were both eliminated on Friday at the Giant Center after a long and hard fought season. Evans battled back from a broken arm and D’Amato wrestled through districts with the flu.
Nevertheless, both Tigers put up a massive showing in the postseason, gaining major mat experience for their senior seasons.
Evans won his first round with a last second reversal for a 5-4 decision over Alec Kightlinger of Saegertown on Thursday.
Time was ticking away for Tunkhannock’s regional champion.
Evans entered his latest PIAA Wrestling Championships as the Northeast Regional’s top seed, but that didn’t mean much once his state opener began. He trailed as the third-period horn approached in tense first-round bouts.
“I know everybody here is really tough. They definitely deserve to be here,” Evans said on Thursday. “I’m just taking it one match at a time. Staying focused, not taking anybody lightly.”
Evans didn’t fade in crunch time. Instead of falling into the consolation bracket like the rest of District 2 on Thursday morning, a buzzer-beating reversal by Evans got him out of a tough situation and into Friday’s Class 2A state quarterfinals at Hershey’s Giant Center.
Evans was in a tough position, down 4-2 in the third period to Kightlinger.
A stalling point got Evans closer with 17 seconds remaining, and he said he pressured back into Kightlinger from there. He got his leg free and hit a winning reversal with two seconds to go.
“I just went for it all at the end,” Evans said.
Evans then wrestled Caydin Wickard of Boiling Springs, for a semifinal berth. Evans lost that match by an 11-1 decision.
In his final match of the season, Evans, a two-time PIAA quarterfinalist, lost by fall late in a back-and-forth match with a medal on the line to Blake Showers of Biglerville.
Next year, Evans will be a senior looking to defend a regional title and get back to Hershey a third time. His classmate Gavin D’Amato will also be a senior, and wrestling for a second PIAA tournament appearance.
In his first round, D’Amato lost by 8-2 decision to Berlin Brothersvalley’s Tristan Pugh but came back in the consolation round to win by major decision, 16-5.
D’Amato finished his run in Hershey with a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Caiden Mooney (Northwestern) in the second round of consolations.
D’Amato won a WVC championship in January and helped lead the Tigers into a District 2 duals championship match even after their two former state qualifiers were sidelined with long-term injuries. A pair of one-point victories capped his return to the top of the district medal stand.
Even with the flu scare the previous week and a 3-1 upset in his regional opener, D’Amato persisted. He said coaches helped get his mind right before Day 2’s action, where he started with a one-point victory and then qualified for states with a comeback victory in overtime.
To top it all off, D’Amato won third place with a two-point decision over Lake-Lehman’s Hunter Burke — a rematch of their closely contested D2 and WVC title bouts.
Evans finished 22-4 his junior season and D’Amato finished his season at 31-11.