By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
HERSHEY - Athens senior David Galasso scored a pair of wins in the late-night session Friday at the PIAA, Class AA wrestling championships, and will wrestle for third place in the 170-pound bracket here Saturday afternoon at the Giant Center.
Galasso opened with a second-period pin of Littlestown senior Carl Harris in the fourth round of wrestlebacks, then edged Valley's Noah Hutchinson, 7-6, in the consolation semifinals for his 100th career victory.
"David's been that kid. We had eight or nine studs, and he was the extra one," said Athens coach Shawn Bradley. "Well, he's not the extra one, he fought with all those kids for all those years and it's paying off.
"He battled here tonight," noted Bradley. "Those were two huge wins tonight.
"We knew he could it. It was just a matter of opening up, and getting to his stuff and wrestling," added Bradley. "I knew he could medal, but top four? I'm sure not many people thought that, but we knew he had it in him."
Harris scored a takedown with 15 seconds left in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Galasso recorded an escape off the second-period whistle, and moments later locked in a cradle near the edge of the circle. He pulled Harris over in the cradle and was able to secure the fall at 1:48.
As it turns out, Harris was a familiar face to the Athens coaches.
"We have a history with (Harris)," said Athens assistant coach Jay White. "He knocked Nate Bradley out in the medal round two years ago. He cost Nate a medal and was cocky about it, we were looking for some payback.
"We were a little worried when (David) didn't move his feet in the first period, and got taken down, but then he hooked it up there on the side," added White. "That's the first time he's back-rolled a cradle in a long time. He hooked it up nice, and rolled into it nice.
"It's his first medal, and for Harris, it's his third medal," added White. "For David to step up and compete against the competition he's faced is a testament to him. He's put in a hard year, he wrestles hard in the room, and it's paid off."
In the consolation semifinals, Galasso once again fell behind early as Hutcherson scored a takedown with 26 seconds left in the first period.
Moments later, Galasso scored a reversal to tie the bout at 2-2, then registered an escape at the second period whistle for a 3-2 lead.
Hutcherson answered with a takedown with 1:07 remaining to take a 4-3 lead, but Galasso recorded a reversal 10 seconds later to take a 5-4 lead. but Hutcherson countered with an escape late in the second period, and another in the opening seconds of the third period to take a 6-5 lead.
Galasso scored the winning takedown with 1:13 remaining, and then rode Hutcherson out to secure the win.
"David is great because he's funky, but sometimes you have to stay basic - sprawls, front headlocks, that kind of stuff. That's what you have to do to beat good kids, and that's what he did," said Bradley.
Galasso will be joined by teammate Gavin Bradley on the podium tomorrow, while former teammate Kaidon Winters, a sophomore at RIT, will stand on the podium at the Division III National Championships.
"It was a great day for Athens wrestling - two state medals, 100 wins, and an All-American," said Bradley.
Galasso, now 38-6, will square off with Penn Cambria senior Derek Brown (37-5) in the third-place match.
IN PHOTOS: Athens senior David Galasso.