Last year, Notre Dame’s Garcia sat quietly; this year he took PIAA wrestling gold

Holden Garcia has been wrestling for several years, but his quest for a state championship in 2022 began in earnest at the Giant Center last winter.

“My second year, when I lost in the semifinals, I had this moment with coach (Matt) Veres,” recalled Notre Dame junior. We both sat on the sidebar there. We just sat together; we did not say a word to each other. We both knew … “We will do it next year.” It has been a vision. ”

The vision became a reality last Saturday.

Garcia defeated Laurel junior Grant MacKay 2-1 in the 160-pound final at the PIAA Class 2A individual wrestling tournament.

He is Crusader’s eighth state champion overall and second on Saturday after senior Brandan Chletsos triumphed at 132 pounds. Notre Dame has crowned at least one PIAA winner in each of the last four seasons.

MacKay, the 2A 152-pound champion last year, kept Garcia down throughout the second period, leaving the score 0-0 to the third. MacKay chose the bottom, and Garcia cut him to fall behind 1-0 with 2 minutes left.

“It was just crazy. My coaches are yelling at me. My teammates on the sidelines, they were all yelling at me,” Garcia said of the closing moments. “I looked back at my dad. It was just a crazy moment. “

Garcia now answered.

The junior took MacKay down near the edge to take a 2-1 lead with about a minute and a half left.

Like his teammate Chletsos, Garcia (41-9) needed to cope with late drama. MacKay (40-2) leaned back and pushed the NDGP wrestler against the mat for the last 10 seconds. Garcia held on to his opponent and rocked his shoulders until time ran out.

He did not let go until he could raise his hands in elation.

“I wanted to keep going back and forth on each of my shoulders,” Garcia said. – It could have been dangerous, but it worked in the end. It was a kind of miracle. I do not know how I did not get stuck there. “

The Notre Dame wrestler was not worried about his opponent’s past PIAA success or where he was listed in the state’s hacking order.

“Our coach always says, ‘Do not look at the rankings; keep a new mindset,’” Garcia said. “When you have a good mindset, it’s half the battle. You just have to quit the job and that’s all. Based on rankings, I guess (I was an underdog). But based on what my coach says, no. I do not think so. I was an underdog. “

Garcia also did not let the stage become too big for him, which is proven by his ability to perform in the clutch.

“I felt pretty comfortable, in fact – more comfortable than my semifinal (a 3-0 win over Glendale’s Zeke Dubler),” he said. “I was just excited to be able to compete again. I just thank God for every opportunity to compete. I thank my coaches and my family for pushing me. All of that takes away the fear.”

The state’s gold provides a nice springboard into Garcia’s upcoming wrestling activities. He does not intend to rest for long.

– It definitely strengthens my self-confidence. I’m really excited to be back in the room, he said. “I’ll probably take a week or two (free) and get into freestyle right away pretty hard. I can not wait to get back to the gym with the guys. It’s always the fun of wrestling, getting into the gym, lifting heavy “I just can not wait to continue working.”

The hunt for a state championship in 2023 begins now.

MORE: Notre Dames Chletsos manages the last, golden steps in the last high school match

Class 2A


106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145 | 152 | 160 | 172 | 189 | 215 | 285


106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145 | 152 | 160 | 172 | 189 | 215 | 285

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