Troy's Seymour wins back-to-back PIAA Wrestling Championships.

By: Chris Manning | Towanda Daily Review | March 8, 2020 | Photo courtesy Larry Deklinski

Troy's Seymour wins back-to-back PIAA Wrestling Championships.

HERSHEY – Last year Sheldon Seymour made history at Troy by bringing the school their first individual wrestling state championship.

He wasn’t done.

Seymour added to his legacy on Saturday, bringing Troy their second gold medal as he beat Elizabeth Forward’s Ryan Michaels 7-4 in the 120 pound PIAA, Class AA final.

“It feels amazing,” Seymour said. “I feel like I had to work harder for this one. I was put under more pressure from being the state champion from last year and I just prevailed that and I came out on top.”

Being a defending champion brings the mark and the mark brings pressure.

“He handled himself well,” said Troy coach Brandon Spiak.

It was a precarious start for Seymour as Michaels got a double leg take down early.

“He got in super deep and I didn’t want to go to my back so I just gave up the take down,” explained Seymour.

Seymour countered, though, scoring a reversal and back points, nearly finishing his career with a first period pin.

“He got a little sloppy with his legs and I caught it coming in,” he said. “I just capitalized on that mistake and actually got on top.”

“We talked about that position when Michaels comes right side,” explained Spiak. “Throwing that off and scrambling back. He did it perfectly.”

Seymour had a good 20 seconds to try and get the fall.

“I was really close,” he said. “I just couldn’t lift the head. I didn’t really worry about getting the pin, I was up 5-2 after that and I rode him out and I knew I was in the driver’s seat after that.”

Seymour has been strong in the first period the last two matches and that was key for both wins.

“It’s probably one of the hardest periods coming into the match,” said Seymour. “If you score a lot of points you’re probably in pretty good shape. Sometimes you go 0-0 but that’s the sport of wrestling. The first period, it’s surreal. You’re probably the most nervous and you have to get the jitters out.”

“When you can go out in the first period and come out with a5-0 lead in the semis and 5-2 lead in the finals it takes a lot of pressure off us and put it on them to try to wrestle back,” Spiak. “It’s really big to get off to the lead like that.”

Up 5-2 Sheldon scored another reversal in the second after choosing bottom to go up 7-2.

“That helped me a lot,” said Seymour. “I knew I had a5-point lead and if I didn’t get thrown to my back I knew I was going to win.”

Down five points in the third Michaels chose bottom but riding has been a Seymour strength all weekend. Despite his small frame Seymour held Michaels down until five seconds left when Michaels scored a reversal to cut it to 7-4.

By that time the match was decided and Seymour was a state champion for the second time.

“I really didn’t want to go to my feet,” he explained. “They’re usually more dangerous on their feet. They can add the big throws and got feet to back. I wanted to ride him as long as I could, keep him on bottom and just finish the match on top. When I saw I had six seconds left he was going to get in a funky position I just bailed on it.”

Spiak noted that top is a position of emphasis for them.

“We’ve been working a lot on trying to keep guys on the mat,”he explained. “We know were capable of wrestling on our feet with anybody down here but the longer you can make them fight off bottom it’s easier. He had tremendous skills on top this week…it’s awesome.”

Spiak has enjoyed his time coaching Seymour, seeing it as fortunate to come across a once-in-a-generation wrestler like him.

“It has been fantastic to coach a kid that’s so coachable,”he said. “It’s been incredible to coach a kid of this caliber with the mindsetand skill set that this kid has.”

Spiak also noted Seymour’s off season wrestling had a big part in his success at the state tournament.

“Sheldon has had some really awesome coaches throughout his off season stuff that have helped him on some other stuff that we haven’t seen in our area,” explained Spiak. “It puts him on a big stage so it helps us when we get down here where we don’t have those jitters, we don’t have pressure…we’re used to it.”

All that experience helped Seymour’s goal of bringing Troy a state title and now they have two.

“I never thought it was going to happen,” said Seymour. “I knew I could win one but winning two – it’s a great experience and you’re so happy for it.”