Forest Hills Freshman Jackson Arrington and Erik Gibson Make State 2A Semifinals In Different Fashion


HERSHEY, PA – The Rangers are here – and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The future looks bright as rookies Jackson Arrington and Erik Gibson each found themselves sitting in the Class 2A State Semifinals on Friday night. 

The way they got there was much different.

For Arrington, ranked #3 in the state by PA Power Wrestling. he needed a come from behind win over top ranked Gable Strickland in order to advance. The freshman started out slow against Strickland who collected two takedowns in the first period to go up 4-1 on the Ranger. He added an escape in the second to make it 5-1 sending it into the last two minute stanza. Arrington got an escape to cut it down and quickly went to work on his feet. 

Arrington said being down didn’t send him into panic mode.

“I knew if I kept my pace the entire match, I could come out on top. So I just kept pushing the pace, and scoring.”

But at times it looked like his high pace might not be enough. After getting a takedown to make it 5-4, he was reversed by Strickland making it 7-4 with time running out. Still, he didn’t panic. Arrington responded with a reversal of his won and quickly cut him with 24 seconds left. Down 8-6 he connected on a head outside single leg that sent it into overtime. 

His pace would pay off as the Ranger once again scored a takedown, this time a snap down to a go behind, clinching the victory 10-8 in sudden victory. 

Being in the State semifinals was something Arrington knew he could do.

“I knew I put the work in so if I do what I do best I would be here (in the semifinals).”

He now gets a date with Chestnut Ridge junior #13 Nate Holderbaum who he has defeated this season twice by scores of 16-1 and 15-2.

His teammate and fellow freshman Erik Gibson had a less dramatic entrance into his first state semifinals. At 138 pounds Gibson, ranked #4 in the state by PA Power Wrestling, took on #2 Marckis Branford. It was lopsided win that highlighted the Gibson’s talent. 

He got right to work on a takedown and locked in on a cradle to go up 5-0 early. In the second Gibson seemed kept his pace high escaping and again gathering a takedown to go up 8-0. In the third period Branford took neutral but Gibson yet again got a takedown and added on some back points to close out an impressive performance by major decision 13-0.

On Friday night Gibson will take on a wrestler he knows well in #5 Kenny Kiser (Saegertown) for a spot in the PIAA State Finals. Gibson defeated Kiser in PA Power Wrestling pre-season tournament The Surge in November but has fell to him twice this season – both times at the King Of The Mountain.

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