Nazareth's Sean Pierson Makes First State Tournament Match Count

HERSHEY: A year ago, Nazareth’s Sean Pierson had to sit on the sidelines and watch his teammates compete in the state championships at Hershey’s Giant Center.

It wasn’t that Pierson wasn’t good enough to be in the bracket. In fact, he was good enough to place on the podium at 106.

The problem was, Pierson couldn’t beat the one guy that mattered most. The one who was wearing the same color singlet: Teammate and eventual state champion, Tyson Klump.

But Pierson learned from the experience. So much so, that he made his first PIAA Class 3A Wrestling Championship count, beating Spring Grove’s Dalton Rohrbaugh 5-3 in one of the premier early matches of the tournament.

“It was pretty hard to deal with at first, but I got past it,” Pierson said of last season. “It kind of helped me focus on not letting any one situation get you down or get the best of you.

“It taught me to keep fighting through everything. It helped me regroup my head, because making weight the whole time was difficult last year.”

Pierson needed every bit of that fight against Rohrbaugh, who placed third a year ago in the 106-pound bracket.

The Blue Eagles sophomore came out firing with a takedown. He followed it up with an escape and takedown in the third period and appeared he was going to cruise.

But Rohrbaugh, the District 3 runner-up this year, had more left in the tank. He reversed with :08 showing in the second and added an escape in the third.

Pierson was in a little trouble, when Rohrbaugh was looking for cradle. It was just about secure, when the Nazareth ace shook away and earned the decision.

“I knew he was tough, that’s how every match here is going to be,” Pierson said. “You just have to go in with the same mindset every time you face guys.

“I just kept wrestling. I kept my hips away and stayed in good position. He was really close, but I just had to keep fighting it off.”

Pierson has already put his victory in the rearview mirror. He has no choice, especially with a quarterfinal toughie against DuBois’ Ed Scott.

There is no motivation needed. But if there was, all Pierson would have to do is look at the other five regional champs on his team.

“When we meet up as a team, our senior, Travis [Stefanik] gives a talk,” Pierson said. “Sometimes, it’s Sammy [Sasso].

“They say, ‘every you go out there, you can win. You’ve been there. There have been other tough matches.’ Every match you are in, you can definitely win it It’s pretty cool.”

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