Mason Gibson never lacks confidence, so it’s no surprise that Catholic star Bishop McCort didn’t worry when he found himself at a point of losing by a technical fall in the Greek National Wrestling Championships. Roman 16U of the US Marine Corps.
Gibson, a first-year PIAA finalist, kept his cool and scored 12 straight points as he beat Kamdyn Williams for the 126-pound title Thursday in Fargo, North Dakota.
“Honestly, nothing has changed,” said Gibson, who became the region’s first Fargo National Champion since Nick Roberts in 2009. “I knew I was going to beat him. I’ve seen him in previous matches. It would break so easily, like in the Greco states. I knew if I pushed that pace it was going to break and I would get the win.
Williams, who was a favorite to win a PIAA title in Class 3A at 113 pounds but did not make any weight for the state tournament, took the 1-0 advantage over Gibson thanks to a passivity call.
It also put Gibson in the ground floor position, and Williams capitalized with a pair of tight turns for a 5-0 lead.
Gibson went for a header, but Williams blocked for four points and a 9-0 lead.
That’s when Gibson got down to business. He scored a rotating arm takedown, then turned Williams with an adjustable wrench to bring the score to 9-4 at the break.
Gibson got a run out in the second and a failed challenge from Williams made it 9-6. Another arm rotation allowed Gibson to score a point.
Williams had a big advantage in size, but Gibson said it worked in his favor.
“Those arms are turning, I got under him a lot easier,” he said.
“But he couldn’t handle my strength.”
It looked like Gibson was able to throw Williams, but the Manheim Township wrestler blocked the swing with his leg, which is illegal in Greco-Roman wrestling and gave Gibson two runs. A foul in the second leg gave the victory to Gibson, who was surprised to see the game end so quickly.
“I didn’t know I won. They were like, ‘Shake hands,’ ”Gibson said. “I didn’t even know they had penalized a foul in the second leg.”
Gibson survived close matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals. He beat Californian Daniel Zepeda 4-4 on criteria in a game that saw Gibson score four points early on a header, then hang on for the win.
He beat Aliaksandr Kikiniou of New York 3-3 on criteria in the quarterfinals.
Gibson placed third in freestyle earlier in the week, but the Greco-Roman title won’t make up for the pain of not winning a second grand prize in the octagon shape.
“Nothing is going to make up for that,” he said. “I really wanted that high level sign in freestyle, but it will fuel my fire for the rest of the tournaments this year.”
Pennsylvania won the tag team title with 197 points, easily overtaking second place Minnesota, who had 128 points. Keystone State also won the tag team title in freestyle.
“It’s amazing,” Gibson said.
“It’s a triple lap for freestyle. Winning in freestyle and Greco was pretty cool. It shows what Pa is. “
Two other local wrestlers won All-American honors in Greco-Roman. United’s Josef Garshnick went 3-3 and placed sixth at 94 pounds.
Sam Herring, a freestyle finalist, was a double All-American after finishing eighth in the Greco-Roman at 113 pounds.
Bishop McCort’s Devon Magro went 3-2 at 126 pounds.