Erik Gibson captures The Surge title in his own backyard

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There were several young wrestlers making a name for themselves during The Surge on Sunday.

None of them had as close of a tie to the area where the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown is like Erik Gibson.

Gibson goes to Forest Hills, which is only 7.7 miles away from Pitt-Johnstown’s campus.

The freshman may have made a case to start for the Rangers’ varsity team by winning the 145-pound title as the 12th seed.

“It means a lot. It was a lot of hard work,” Gibson said of winning the title. “I’ve busted my butt for a while now and it’s paying off.”

He almost didn’t even make it to the quarterfinals and it was a teachable moment too.

Gibson opened the tournament against the No. 5 seed in Owen J. Roberts’ Cole Meredith. Meredith is a regional and state qualifier compared to Gibson’s Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling title.
Gibson snuck by with a 6-5 win.

“Don’t stop wrestling,” Gibson said of what he learned from the title run. “I almost lost my first match. I was winning 4-1 and I stopped. I ended up coming back.”

In the quarterfinals, Gibson took on the No. 4 seed in Neshaminy’s Jackson Erb, who was also a regional and state qualifier. The young wrestler advanced with a 4-2 win to face Carlisle’s Colton Zimmerman.

Zimmerman upset the top seed in Freedom’s Trent Schultheis 11-3. Gibson cruised to a 7-1 victory. In the finals, Gibson’s takedown was just enough to dispatch No. 2 seed in Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser, who is a two-time state qualifier, 3-1.

“I’m excited,” Gibson said for the prospects of the upcoming year. “Hopefully, I can win states, that’s my goal.”

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About the Author:

Nate Cobler
I'm the Penn State wrestling beat reporter for the Centre Daily Times in State College. I've also led the Centre County high school wrestling coverage too. When I'm not covering wrestling or other sports, I'm working to help people become homeowners as a mortgage loan originator.

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