HERSHEY — The commemorative T-shirts sported by Aaron Seidel and his Northern Lebanon fans carried the nickname “Babyfaced Assassin.”
The appellation had been bestowed on the Viking freshman by Pa. Wrestling Roundup Man of the Year Dustin Hockensmith, of the PA Media Group.
It’s proven an apt moniker, at that, as Seidel took out defending 106-pound champion Louie Gill of Hickory 4-2 Saturday afternoon at the PIAA Class 2A state wrestling championships.
As the clock turned to triple zeroes on the 106-pound title bout, the Northern Lebanon corner of Hershey’s Giant Center erupted in a celebration of unbridled joy, matching that of Seidel as he high-fived his coaches — and Gill’s coaches — before leaping into the waiting arms of Vikings head coach Rusty Wallace Jr. and assistant Hunter Wallace.
“We had a sea of blue up there,” Rusty Wallace Jr. said, “a lot of fans, elementary kids, a lot of town members.”
“It’s awesome,” Seidel said. “My family, my coaches, and all my friends supporting me. They’re just amazing and it’s just a dream come true.”
“There’s not a kid on the planet that deserves it more than him,” Wallace added. “He does stuff that nobody would do. His workout regimen, his schedule, that’s what makes it even more special.”
The first period had a ton of action, and a paucity of scoring. Seidel shot in on a single leg and Gill responded by trying to funk his way out. A lengthy scramble ensued that carried the last minute of the period. A scramble that appeared to deliver control to Seidel on at least one occasion.
“That kid can scramble,” Wallace said. “We were there, hands down, beyond reaction time. In college, it’s two. Instantly. And we even had a turk in.”
Regardless, the period ended 0-0. Seidel deferred choice in the second period and Gill chose down. Mistake.
Seidel, tough on top, especially with tilts, got one on Gill.
“As soon as he had the cross wrist, I knew we were scoring it,” Wallace said. “As soon as I saw Gill’s hand disappear I knew we had the rebar (tilt). He scores that against everybody.”
“I, honestly, was just trying to ride him out. I wasn’t thinking about tilts or anything,” Seidel said. “I ended up getting a rebar tilt. That’s one of my best things on top, and I felt it coming.”
He held Gill in the tilt for almost 10 seconds before collecting three backpoints and a huge 3-0 lead.
Gill cut it to 3-2 with a reversal, a switch off a restart, late in the period and had a choice to make at the start of the third period. So did Seidel, who actually had choice.
Not as strong on bottom as other phases of a match, should he take bottom and risk getting turned? Should he take neutral? Should he take a guess at what Gill had in mind?
“I was thinking of going neutral; my coach wanted me to,” Seidel said. “But I thought I’d better go bottom, I knew he was going to let me up.”
“I said to Hunter, ‘I think if we go down, he has to let us up.’ He doesn’t want to waste that much time on top,” Wallace said.
Gill did choose to go neutral, letting Seidel, who had taken bottom, out to open the third period.
Gill twice worked stalemates off Seidel singles, with 1:13 left and with 44 seconds left, and never came close to a takedown. Seidel took a stall warning with seven seconds left and erupted with joy at the end.
Seidel and Gill had a little history prior to the state final, having met a couple times on the offseason circuit over the years and, most recently, at a tournament just before the beginning of the season.
“I think it was the NHSCAs,” Wallace said. “Gill won 2-0.”
“He took me down right away,” Seidel said. “I rode him out on top and he rode me out on bottom. It was kind of like a mindset for me to work on stuff I needed to improve.”
With the title, Seidel becomes the second Northern Lebanon wrestler to win a state title, along with Jim Collins in 2001.
SATURDAY'S PIAA CLASS 2A RESULTS
Outstanding Wrestler Award - Dayton Pitzer, Mount Pleasant.
1. Notre Dame Green Pond 116, 2. Saucon Valley 99, 3. Faith Christian 68, 4. Wyoming Area 60, 5. Bishop McDevitt 58, 6. Muncy 55.5, 7. (tie) Montoursville 49.5, Hickory 49.5, 9. Brookville 45.5, 10. (tie) Chestnut Ridge 44, Jersey Shore 44, Saegertown 44.
106 - Aaron Seidel, Northern Lebanon dec. Louie Gill, Hickory, 4-2.
113 - Gavin Bradley, Athens dec. Branden Wentzel, Montoursville, 4-3.
120 - Jaden Pepe, Wyoming major dec. Brock Weiss, Jersey Shore, 15-4.
126 - Scott Johnson, Muncy dec. Mark Palmer, Brockway, 9-2.
132 - Brandan Chletsos, Notre Dame Green Pond dec. Owen Reinsel, Brookville, 1-0.
138 - Ryan Crookham, Saucon Valley dec. Connor Pierce, Harbor Creek, 5-1.
145 - Conner Harer, Montgomery dec. Eric Alderfer, Faith Christian, 3-0.
152 - Jackson Arrington, Forest Hills pinned Andrew Christie, Bishop McDevitt, 1:45.
160 - Holden Garcia, Notre Dame Green Pond dec. Grant MacKay, Laurel, 2-1.
172 - Rune Lawrence, Frazier pinned Jake Jones, Saucon Valley, 4:43.
189 - Isaac Cory, Montoursville dec. Cole Karpinski, Greenville, 5-1.
215 - Dayton Pitzer, Mount Pleasant pinned Brad Morrison, West Perry, 1:07.
285 - Riley Robell, Bishop McDevitt dec. Austin Johnson, Muncy, 5-0.
106 - Ayden Smith, Notre Dame Green Pond dec. Cole Hubert, Saucon Valley, 5-3 SV.
113 - Gauge Botero, Faith Christian dec. Deven Jackson, West Perry, 7-2.
120 - Coen Bainey, Bald Eagle dec. Cooper Hornack, Burrell, 1-0.
126 - Kaden Milheim, Warrior Run major dec. JoJo Przybycien, Fort LeBoeuf, 9-1.
132 - Conner Heckman, Midd-West dec. Mason Barvitskie, Southern Columbia, 1-0.
138 - Anthony Evanitsky, Wyoming dec. Cade Wirnsberger, Meadowbrook Christian, 3-1 SV.
145 - Kaiden Wagner, Lewisburg major dec. Carter Gill, Hickory, 8-0.
152 - Michael Duggan, Boiling Springs dec. Cooper Price, Wyoming, 2-0.
160 - Gannon Smith, Newport dec. Zeke Dubler, Glendale, 3-2.
172 - Nolan Lear, Benton dec. Suds Dubler, Glendale, 2-1.
189 - Haydn Packer, Jersey Shore dec. Patrick Cutchember, Quaker Valley, 3-1 SV.
215 - Nick Woodruff, Wyalusing Valley dec. Abraham Keep, Girard, 4-2 SV.
285 - Emmanuel Ulrich, Mifflinburg pinned Kade Sottolano, Williamson, 1:52.
106 - Parker Sentipal, Burgettstown dec. Carter Beck, Saegertown, 3-1.
113 - Lucas Fye, Bald Eagle dec. Landon Bainey, West Branch, 5-2.
120 - Chris Vargo, Bentworth major dec. Hunter Gould, Conneaut, 12-0.
126 - Dylan Granahan, Benton dec. Charlie Robson, Conwell-Egan, 6-4.
132 - Calan Bollman, Chestnut Ridge dec. Max Stein, Faith Christian, 1-0.
138 - Connor Saylor, Hickory dec. Ambrose Boni, Central Valley, 5-2.
145 - Evan Maag, Notre Dame Green Pond pinned Ty Watson, Penns Valley, 3:15.
152 - Devon Deem, Montgomery dec. Justin Richey, Quaker Valley, 3-0.
160 - Robbie Schneider, Lackawanna Trail major dec. Aiden Zimmerman, Johnsonburg, 12-3.
172 - Garrett Garcia, Southern Columbia pinned Riley Parker, Canton, 2:36.
189 - Landon Caldwell, Saegertown pinned Seth Stewart, Brockway, 1:43.
215 - Hayden Linkerhof, Corry dec. Bryce Rafferty, Brookville, 5-3 SV.
285 - Leo Muzika, Faith Christian pinned Josh Perrine, Saegertown, 2:35.
106 - Major Lewis, Trinity (D-3) dec. Elijah Brosius, Cranberry, 2-0.
113 - Hunter Robison, Saegertown pinned Jack Kazalas, Quaker Valley, 1:55.
120 - Cole Householder, Brookville dec. Logan Richey, Quaker Valley, 3-2.
126 - Eli Bounds, Boiling Springs dec. Gaven Suica, Burgettstown, 5-4.
132 - Jack Martinec, Cochranton dec. Kyle McCollum, Beth-Center, 7-2.
138 - Cameron Milheim, Warrior Run dec. Easton Toth, Forest Hills, 5-4.
145 - Trevor Weyandt, Chestnut Ridge major dec. Cael Markle, Saucon Valley, 11-3.
152 - Hunter Hohman, Grove City dec. Tyler Berish, Beth-Center, 1-0.
160 - Bryant Green, Towanda pinned Christian Hirak, Derry, 4:45.
172 - Garrett Tettemer, Notre Dame Green Pond dec. Caleb Close, Bald Eagle, 3-1 SV.
189 - Jacob Scheib, Tri-Valley major dec. Ty Csencsits, Saucon Valley, 9-0.
215 - Cael Black, Eisenhower dec. Dante Mahaffey, Saucon Valley, 10-7.
285 - Xavier Reyda, Corry pinned Charles Sheppard, Hamburg, 1:52.