Boiling Springs’ Kollin Myers executes five-point move late to earn a spot in the state finals

HERSHEY: He’s back.

Boiling Springs junior Kollin Myers hasn’t been at his best the last two weeks. He was coughing pretty bad, dealt with congestion, fatigue, and struggled with breathing in the third period.

But Myers doesn’t use that as an excuse. He didn’t wrestle well at Districts — he still won the tournament — and wasn’t his best during regionals and finished second.

All that is behind him now. According to Myers, he is 100 percent, and he looked it in Friday’s PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Championship semifinal, outlasting Brookville’s Caleb Hetrick 8-2 to earn a spot in Saturday’s 145-pound final.

His opponent in the championship bout: Palisades junior Nathan Haubert, who defeated Myers a week ago in regionals.

“I’m not going to make excuses for my illness,” said Myers, who entered Giant Center ranked second in the state according to PA Power Wrestling. “It happens. It’s sports. It’s life. You get sick, sometimes, and you have to battle through it.

“This week, I’m feeling healthy, and hopefully, I can go after him with a different mindset and the results will change.”

Myers has grown accustomed to scrambling in the postseason, especially during the District 3 final against Pequea Valley’s Gabe Miller.

It came as no surprise that Myers’ match with Hetrick featured a few tussles. Both wrestlers had chances to score in the first, but neither could finish a takedown or put points on the board.

Myers struck in the second off bottom, escaping with relative ease to go up 1-0. Another scramble ensued, but a stalemate was called and no points were awarded.

“I wasn’t finding the ankle,” Myers said. “Coach Byers kept telling me to ‘find the ankle, find the ankle.’ I had it the first shot, and when I was starting to bring it up, he just hit me. I just lost it.

“I tried again, and the stalemate happened. I just have to work on finishing my shots, and I should be fine.”

Hetrick took bottom to start the third. Myers was able to ride for the first 50 seconds before giving up a reverse to fall behind. Hetrick was hit with a penalty point for a full nelson a few seconds later, and the match was even.

Before the restart, Hetrick decided to cut Myers and give up the lead. The Raiders senior shot and was able to get a single along the edge, but the Bubblers ace was able to fight off the takedown.

“When he decided to cut me, I was like, ‘I don’t know why he cut me,’” Myers said. “I watched other matches, and he was riding kids out left and right.

“In the second period when I got out, I felt pretty good. So, I don’t know? That’s strategy. Anything goes in the state tournament. It’s unreal.”

Hetrick made a critical mistake while trying to finish his single and score the winning takedown. He allowed Myers to paste him over and not only get the takedown, but also score three near-fall points.

“I looked at the clock when he let me out, and it said 50 seconds,” Myers said. “I was like, ‘I need to get in on the leg and get a takedown to seal the deal, or I need to defend some shots here.’

“It was another shot, and I was defending it at the edge of the mat. That helped me out a bit, because I got that real estate. He exposed himself when he picked it [my leg] up, and I took advantage of it and leveled him over.

“I looked at coach, and he said, ‘Stay there, stay there.’ I was on the edge of the mat … it was pretty crazy.”

That put Myers (43-2) back in the finals for the second time in his career. He placed second as a freshman and was fifth a year ago.

“Just the atmosphere, I get pumped every year,” Myers said. “Even if you’re not in the Parade of Champions, just watching it, it’s a crazy atmosphere and gets your blood pumping.

“To be in the finals again, it’s great. Getting another shot at a state title, hopefully, I get it tomorrow.”

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