Shane Ging went from the heartbreaking realization that his wrestling season was over, to the introspective reflection that fate intercedes to rejuvenate it, to the joyful realization it was restored.
And all in a little less than hour.
Right now, the sophomore from South Fayette doesn’t care how it happened, just that he can wrestle this weekend, when the PIAA Class AA Southwest Region Tournament begins at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown today.
First-round action begins at 1 p.m. with the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Semifinals are at 11 a.m. Saturday with the finals at 5 p.m. The top five wrestlers in each weight class advance to the PIAA Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey next week.
“It’s not over yet,” said Ging of a season that has seen as many ups as downs.
Ging began last weekend with high hopes he could be one of the seven placewinners in the 138-pound weight class of the WPIAL Championships.
It began great, with a pin of Devin Siko of Derry in 3:24 in the first round. But Ging was sent to the consolation rounds after a 3-1 loss to Damon Greenwald of Burrell in the quarterfinals.
Following an 11-2 loss to Rich McGinnis of Chartiers-Houston in the consolations, Ging was warming up for his match against Stephen Kotouch of Burgettstown that would decide the seventh and last qualifying spot in the weight class when he accidentally smacked his head against the hip of a teammate.
“He was drilling on the mat,” said South Fayette head coach Rick Chaussard, “and he hit his head and jammed his neck. He got spasms and couldn’t wrestle.”
Ging had to default to Kotouch.
“I was definitely disappointed,” said Ging. “I wanted to win. I was a little banged up.”
As Ging watched the consolation finals, he noticed a wrestler being attended to on the mat. It was Greenwald. The sophomore needed help getting to his feet and hopped off to the locker room.
“I heard he broke his ankle,” said Ging. “Then, I thought I would get into the tournament.”
Ging was right. On Monday, Greenwald withdrew and Ging moved into the seventh spot and Kotouch to Greenwald’s spot at sixth. Ging’s first-round opponent will be Jason Schopp of Tyrone, a District 6 champion with a 23-6 record.
Ging will be the sixth South Fayette wrestler competing in the regional. The others are Andrew John at 106, Mike Carr at 132, Brad Beltz at 145, Grant Fetchet at 152 and Jared Walker at 160.
“We wanted to take them all, but sometimes that is not possible,” said Chaussard. “We saw some those guys at the Bedford Tournament. We fared fairly well there, but it’s never an easy task. We want to make some noise there and then again in Hershey.”
Returning champions include Collin Glorioso of Huntingdon, Greg Bulsak of South Park, Jason Nolf of Kittanning, Jake Temple of Avella and Alan Beattie of Burrell. Nolf will be going for his fourth straight region title.