HERSHEY: Canon-McMillan’s Logan Macri doesn’t have many fond memories of being on the big stage at the PIAA Wrestling Championships.
At least not as a competitor.
Macri remembers watching his brother Dalton win a state title … the intensity, the excitement, the celebration afterward. But the last three seasons haven’t been that way for Logan … not even close.
There have been tough losses against some really good opponents. Two losses to Luke Warner in the blood round slowed him down as a freshman and sophomore. A year ago, he settled for fifth after losing to Northampton’s Julian Chlebove and then to Pennridge hammer Matt Parker.
But this was Macri’s year. And he wasn’t about to have anyone derail his trip to the top of the podium.
It was evident that Macri had some nerves in his 120-pound final against Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf. He wasn’t as active on his feet, but it didn’t stop him from completing his Saturday gold-medal march in a 3-2 decision.
“That was my goal,” said Macri of winning a state title. “This is amazing, there are no other words. I remember coming here four years ago and watching my brother win a state title, and I feel the exact same way when he won.
“I mean, just amazing. I will never get this moment again in front of all of these people … just amazing.”
The fifth-place medal a year ago served as senior motivation. No way was Macri going to accept anything less than a win.
Macri was really never challenged in his first three bouts. He scored a 10-4 decision over Spring Ford’s Brandon Meredith, downed Carlisle’s Rafael Portilla via tech fall, and got revenge on Nazareth’s Sean Pierson 5-2.
“It was a good thing to get a medal [last year] to get me ready for this,” Macri (39-2) said. “After WPIAL’s, I had four more matches. That’s what my coaches said to me.
“I was just letting it all fly the first three matches and went out and beat some really good competition. Meredith is a tough draw … he’s a good guy. I was nervous about that. It was a little easier in the second one, and the third was Pierson, who I lost to earlier this year. I felt I dominated that match.”
The championship match wasn’t as easy.
Zaph is a good scrambler and can be tough to score on, as he only gave up two points coming into the match. Macri shot early and had a takedown chance off a single, but the first period ran out.
Macri escaped in the first five seconds of the second period to go up 1-0. He worked on Zaph for the rest of the period before finally turning another single into a takedown with 15 seconds left.
“Every time I went to my knee, he went to his knee to cut down my offense,” Macri said. “He was always controlling the wrist, so I used that wrist and grabbed that elbow and grabbed the single.”
It proved to be the deciding points.
Zaph was on the bottom to start the third and took 40 seconds to escape. Macri shut things down a bit from there and drew two stalling calls, which made things a little anxious in the closing moments.
But Macri wasn’t giving this one up. He circled and won the hand-fighting battle to preserve the satisfuying victory.
“This match, nervous,” Macri said. “I shut down a little bit and was cautious that third period and didn’t want to give anything up.
“I was fine with giving up the stalling calls. It’s a state final, and I’m going to do what it takes to win within legal parameters, but I should have fired a shot. There were plenty of opportunities.”
As soon as the final buzzer went off, you could see the relief on Macri’s face. The smile was wide and got even bigger as he waited to climb to the top of the podium.
“I feel 100 percent better now,” Macri said. “I get to go stand on the top of the podium and look down on my family.”
“They would be proud of me either way, but I’m happier going out with a victory and having that gold medal instead of silver.”