Patrick Gould Takes One Step Closer to Gold With Win Over Top-Ranked J.J. Wilson


HERSHEY, Pa.: East Stroudsburg South’s Patrick Gould was well aware of what he was facing in Friday’s PIAA Championship quarterfinal round.

All eyes were on him as he approached the mat. That’s what happens when you are one of the better wrestlers in the state and you are facing the top-ranked wrestler in your weight class.

It’s the type of moment high-caliber wrestlers live for in such an event. And Gould, definitely, didn’t shrink at the task in front of him.

Gould battled Cedar Cliff standout and three-time state qualifier and 2018 fourth-place finisher, J.J. Wilson, move for move. But, the Cavaliers senior had one more answer and earned a 4-1 decision to punch his ticket to Saturday’s Class 3A semifinal round.

“It was probably the hardest quarterfinal in my bracket, so it was nice to win it,” the 126-pound Gould said. “J.J. is No. 1 in the state, and it feels good to get the accolade over him.

“I wouldn’t say it gives me much more confidence. It gets me further in the bracket, and I got my top-six medal now. It’s the highest I’ve ever placed, so now it’s about having fun and knocking these next two kids off.”

Continued Gould, “They aren’t ranked as high as J.J., but they are very good opponents, so we will see what happens.”

If Gould performs like he did against Wilson, he will have a good crack at moving up the podium in this tough class.

The two wrestlers spent most of the first period hand-fighting and feeling each other out. Neither wrestler could get an advantage, and the two-minute stanza ended scoreless.

Gould made the decision to cut Wilson to start the second. It turned out to be the right call, albeit, barely.

Both Gould and Wilson are physical wrestlers, so getting an advantage was difficult. Gould, finally, broke through in the closing moments, hitting a dump that put Wilson on his back for a four-point move with two seconds left in the period.

“The whole match, I knew he was going to do the same thing,” Gould said. “He kept hanging on to my arm, hoping he could get me close enough to grab a leg.

“I weathered his storm, saw my opportunity, took it, and it came out better than I thought it would. I didn’t think I would get backs out of it, but it put me in a better position in the third period.”

Leading 4-1, Gould took down. Wilson was in urgency mode and went to work on top, trying to cross-face hard and ratchet the arm.

Wilson yanked the arm hard multiple times trying to turn Gould. He tried the move multiple times, but the referee called potentially dangerous in each case, much to the displeasure of the Cedar Cliff corner.

“He started ripping up on the face and the arm, doing a bunch of stuff,” Gould said. “All it was doing was wasting time. There was no way he was scoring on me or turning me. There was no way it was happening.

“There wasn’t much he could do. I knew he couldn’t turn me, so he only had one choice and that was to turn me. It didn’t go his way, which you could tell by the way he was acting, but it was still a great match.”

One that Gould banked.

The Cavaliers ace didn’t give up a point in the final period and secured the decision and put himself one step closer to state gold.

“I probably beat the hardest kid in the bracket,” Gould said. “He was No. 1. It gives me confidence, but I also need to be humble to beat the next two kids.”

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