HERSHEY, Pa.: Franklin Regional’s Carter Dibert knew everything he needed to about Seneca Valley’s Dylan Chappell.
Not only are the two wrestlers friends, they are practice partners. That’s both good and bad when you are staring across the mat at each other with a state championship on the line at Hershey’s Giant Center.
A week ago, Chappell came out on top in the WPIAL finals. This time around, Dibert wanted a little redemption, and he got it.
Dibert was more in control of this meeting than he was in the loss, and that led to a decisive victory — and maybe some friendly bragging rights — over Chappell via a 7-2 decision in the 106-pound final of the PIAA Championships.
“This match, it was more wrestling my match and getting to my stuff,” said Dibert, who entered the match ranked No. 2 in the state. “Last week, I wasn’t wrestling his match, but I just wasn’t wrestling mine. Coming into this match, I was just letting it fly.
“It’s hard. We know exactly what each other is going to do. We are friends, we train together, so today was just my day.”
Dibert wasted little time asserting himself in this one. He had his first takedown 15 seconds in and worked hard on top to get three near-fall points with just over 30 seconds gone in the match.
That was a huge change from last week. It not only gave Dibert confidence, it put the No. 1-ranked Chappell in a deep hole he couldn’t get out of over the six-minute match.
“It’s the match, really,” Dibert said of the opening takedown. “From the confidence standpoint, getting the lead, hand-fighting, and just wrestling hard.”
Dibert held a 5-1 lead after one period, and even though he was ridden out the entire second period, Chappell couldn’t close the gap. That put the Franklin Regional sophomore in good shape.
But, Chappell didn’t give up. He escaped to make it 5-2 and went looking for a big move to put Dibert on his back.
It was a near miss. Chappell attempted a late headlock but slipped off, and Dibert got around for the takedown at the buzzer to wrap up his run to state gold.
“I wasn’t going to go over,” Dibert said. “I was just excited. I lost last week in the WPIAL finals, but right after that, we just said, ‘let’s meet this week,’ and we did that. I just came out on top.
“Words can’t describe it. It’s unreal, just coming from last year … I don’t even know what’s going through my head. I’m just so happy.”