Halfway to having his named etched among Berks County’s top wrestlers of the last quarter-century, Daniel Boone’s Gavin Richard had his shot at history pulled out from under him.
Richard won titles as a freshman and sophomore at the BCIAA Individual Wrestling Tournament and was closing in on becoming the fifth wrestler to win four individual titles in an event that started in 1999. But last year’s tournament was canceled due to limitations on indoor gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was definitely disappointed,” said Richard. “This is a great tournament. Every team in Berks County is here. There’s a lot of great kids. I was just bummed out I didn’t get a chance to do it four times, to be a four-time champion. It would be pretty cool to get to do that.”
Richard and the rest of the Berks wrestlers who missed last year’s tournament returned to Reading High’s Geigle Complex Friday night for the opening night of the 23rd tournament. Now a senior 120-pounder, Richard scored a fall in his only bout to reach the semifinals as he looks to join a much larger group of wrestlers who have won three Berks titles.
Richard wasn’t the only wrestler prevented from becoming a four-time champion. Hamburg twin brothers Bailey and Dalton Gimbor each had won three county championships before being unable complete the grand slam during their senior years.
And several promising wrestlers from the Class of 2024, such as Wilson teammates James Garcia and Ryan McMillan and Daniel Boone’s Tucker Hogan, had their dreams of four county championships dashed before they could even get started as freshmen.
“At the end of the day it’s about states,” said Richard, who qualified for the PIAA Wrestling Championships as a freshman. “I’d much rather place at states. I’m really looking forward to making a run a states this year and hopefully being on the podium.”
Garcia has the same mentality. He is pursuing the 113-pound title this weekend but has his sights set farther down the road.
“I feel like I didn’t really miss out on much, maybe becoming a four-time county champion but I don’t pay too much mind to that,” Garcia said. “I think what happens in March says it all. Everything leading up to it is just to prepare me for states.”
Garcia also scored a fall in his only bout.
Hogan scored two falls at 172 but was on the mat for just 39 seconds. He fell just short of making the state tournament last year as a freshman and admitted he pondered the lost opportunity after last year’s BCIAA cancellation.
“I was looking forward to being a four-timer,” Hogan said. “When they said it was shut down I was pretty disappointed. I wanted to prove I was the best in the county at that time.”
McMillan also lost his shot at proving in the county tournament how good he was last year. He gave fans a glimpse of his talent this year, if they didn’t blink.
McMillan opened with a 12-second fall before taking just seven seconds in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals at 215.
But no matter how much they try, the chance for four county titles is out reach for McMillan, Richard, Garcia, Hogan and anyone else until at least 2025.
“Last year was an interesting year,” Hogan said. “We’ve got to move forward from last year.”
Source: Berkshire mont