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Area trio won't have it easy at PIAA states

March 09, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

To help make his point about how tough the PIAA State Wrestling Championships are, Chambersburg coach Doug Rine pointed to an even tougher tournament - the NCAA Division I championships.

Of the roughly 300 qualifiers for next weekend's NCAA tourney, 61 hail from Pennsylvania, more than twice as many as the next leading state (Ohio with 28), according to intermatwrestle.com. Maryland and West Virginia combined have seven qualifiers.

"That's how tough it is in Pennsylvania," Rine said. "This is a hotbed."

That's what makes Chambersburg senior Jonathan Rhone's story such an improbable one. Rhone is one of only three area wrestlers who qualified for the three-day state tourney - which begins today and concludes Saturday in Hershey, Pa. - and surely the only wrestler in the Class AAA 275-pound bracket who couldn't even crack his own team's varsity lineup last season.

"Last year he even lost some JV matches, and now here he is 30-5 and going to states," Rine said. "It's just an incredible story about what hard work can do for you."

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James Buchanan senior Dustin Pine (189) and Greencastle-Antrim junior Conrad Myers (152) are set to compete in Class AA.

Pine (36-6), who went 1-2 at states last year at 189, qualified by placing fourth at the Southeast Regional last weekend. In the first round he faces Sharon's Kellen Harris (34-2), the Northwest champ. Last year at states, Harris beat Pine 10-2 in a consolation match en route to fifth place.

Myers (36-2), the Southeast runner-up, begins against Port Allegany's Cody Anderson (43-6). Fortunately for Myers, Schuylkill Valley's Glenn Shober (40-0) is on the opposite side of the 16-man bracket. Shober has handed Myers both of his losses this season.

But Myers wouldn't mind facing Shober again.

"If we meet each other, it will be in the finals. They say the third time is the charm," said Myers, who failed to make weight for last year's postseason. "But I'm just trying to get there. I have to get past Cody Anderson first and just take it one step at a time.

"It's just exciting going to states for the first time. I've been waiting for this for a long time. I've made a lot of sacrifices this year, keeping my conditioning up and my weight down."

Rhone - who earned the Southcentral No. 2 spot by virtue of his District 3 second-place finish - faces Pennsbury's Jack Lee (40-6), the Southeast runner-up, in the first round.

"From JV to district runner-up," Rine said. "This is the first time I know of anything like this happening."

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