Parker and Galasso finish one win short of mat titles

Father Judge's Joe Galasso (left) grapples with Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca in a 145-pound quarterfinal win. In the final, Galasso fell to Canon-McMillan's Solomon Chishko, 7-2. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Father Judge's Joe Galasso (left) grapples with Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca in a 145-pound quarterfinal win. In the final, Galasso fell to Canon-McMillan's Solomon Chishko, 7-2. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Posted: March 11, 2014

While Saturday was Mike Boykin's night to cherish, other wrestlers did not enjoy a storybook ending once the PIAA Class AAA tournament drew to a close.

Three Southeastern Pennsylvania seniors made it three-fourths of the way in their final state-title quests by Saturday night: Coatesville's Boykin (220 pounds), Pennridge's Scott Parker (120), and Father Judge's Joe Galasso (145).

Each rolled through three winner's-bracket matches and stood one match away from the top spot on the podium.

Boykin had his day with a gold medal at 220, but the others were not as fortunate.

After a third-place finish in the 2013 tournament at 113, Parker steamrolled his opposition through his first three matches at 120 and avenged a quarterfinal loss last year to Parkland's Ethan Lezak in a 7-2 decision to make the final.

"That was the highlight of his weekend, winning that semifinal," Pennridge coach Dan Goetter said. "Lezak knocked him out of the winner's bracket last year, so to beat him this year for a spot in the final meant a lot to him."

With Parker facing last year's state champion at 106 in Greater Latrobe sophomore Luke Pletcher, neither wrestler hit the floor until the second period as the two locked into a defensive battle that needed a deciding overtime.

One quick takedown on Pletcher's part in the extra period put an abrupt end to Parker's title bid in a sudden-death loss.

"He was very disappointed," Goetter said. "His whole goal since he was a little kid was to win states. Not being able to accomplish that really hurt him."

Though Parker fell short of his ultimate goal, Goetter said the Lehigh-bound wrestler's three state medals and 147 career wins should produce significant pride for the senior as he moves onto the collegiate stage.

"He should be very proud of himself," the coach said. "He's the best wrestler to ever come out of Pennridge. He has three state medals, and that's an amazing career for anybody in high school. We're going to miss him big time."

Galasso's end was not so sudden. The 2013 state champion at 138 gradually saw his title hopes fade with every shot he took from Canon-McMillan's Solomon Chishko in a grueling third period of an eventual 7-2 loss. The Father Judge senior hung tight for two periods but was outscored, 5-1, in the final frame.

"I was very confident going into it and I was maybe a little overconfident," Galasso said. "I just couldn't get my shots in like I wanted to and I was slow on my feet. It wasn't good enough."

Galasso impressed those in attendance in his path to the final, solidifying his spot in the championship bout with a 10-0 major decision of Central Bucks East's Francesco Fabozzi, building his confidence that he could grab a second consecutive state title.

"Chishko's a really tough wrestler, and it was his night tonight," Father Judge coach Jim Savage said. "Galasso went out to get another state title and came up a little bit short, but he had a great run and a great career with us. He's disappointed, but he'll come back from this and have a great career" at Cornell University.

Tough draw. Pottsgrove junior Pat Finn met three-time state champion Thomas Haines (Solanco) in the 285-pound final Saturday and lost a 6-1 decision as Haines became the second wrestler of the night to secure his fourth state title.

Before running into one of the state's finest wrestlers, Finn (16-4) put together an impressive state run as the No. 2 seed from the Southeast that culminated with a 6-2 defeat of Dallas junior Ryan Monk.

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