HERSHEY — Despite securing his second consecutive PIAA wrestling title Saturday night at the Giant Center, Seneca Valley sophomore Alejandro Herrera-Rondon prefers to look ahead.
And he's got plenty to look forward to.
“I think we have one of the best sophomore classes in the state,” Herrera-Rondon said. “Some of our guys haven't had the chance to do a whole lot just yet, but they will.
“Our team is only going to get better.”
It's been pretty darn good so far.
Herrera-Rondon (48-1) wrapped up the Class AAA state championship at 113 pounds Saturday night with a 10-5 decision over Finn Solomon (39-8) of Franklin Regional. Sophomore teammate Dylan Chappell (42-5) took second in the state at 106, dropping a 7-2 decision in the finals to FR's Carter Dilbert (41-2).
“There is no shame in losing a state final,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said. “It's a huge accomplishment just to get to the state tournament, let alone the finals.
“Dylan wrestled a great tournament.”
Mars junior Jake Richardson placed fifth at 160 pounds in Class AAA.
Two other Raiders — senior Jason Geyer at 132 pounds and sophomore Antonio Amelio at 145 — also competed in Hershey over the weekend. Both lost both of their matches. Geyer ended his season at 36-12, Amelio at 30-15.
Herrera-Rondon never came close to losing to anybody. He is 94-9 in his first two high school seasons.
“He's got such a complete skill-set,” Wildrick said of Herrera-Rondon. “His demeanor on the mat is a big key for him as well. He never gets upset in a match, never panics.
“When his opponent hits a big move on him, Alejandro knows how to get out of it without giving up any additional back points.”
Herrera-Rondon scored a 6-0 decision over Karl Shindledecker of Chambersburg in the semifinals. He claimed a 4-1 decision over Andrew Smith of Nazareth in the quarterfinals.
He wrestled Solomon twice earlier this season, decisioning him 8-0 in the POWERADE tournament and 3-0 in the WPIAL semifinals.
“Finn came at him hard in the final and gave Alejandro a tough match,” Wildrick said.
Still, Herrera-Rondon had a 2-0 lead after the first period and led 6-0 with 20 seconds left in the second.
“I wanted to build an early lead and wrestle it out,” Herrera-Rondon said.
The final points of the match came late as Solomon ran hard at Herrera-Rondon “and I was able to side-step him and take him down.
“I want to win the Ironman championship because I haven't done that yet,” he continued. “Next year, go get another section title, WPIAL championship ... I love the creativity of this sport, the different styles you have to prepare for.
“It's helping me prepare for life. It's a fun sport, It challenges me to get tougher, meaner,” Herrera-Rondon added.
Richardson (31-5) decisioned John Crawford of Strath Haven 4-1 in the fifth-place match. He won three matches in the consolation round.