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CM's Brill falls to phenom Marsteller

March 10, 2012 - Mitch Rupert

HERSHEY – Brian Brill took the first shot of his 160-pound final Saturday night at the Giant Center and was stopped in his tracks before he could ever get to Chance Marsteller’s legs.

The Central Mountain senior had already been having a tough tournament. Something was off and he couldn’t put his finger on it. Now, against the nation’s No. 1-ranked 160-pounder from Kennard-Dale, this was no time for those problems to continue.

But Brill, a returning state champion in his own right, just had no answer for the sophomore phenom last night at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships. Marsteller snapped Brill’s 86-match winning streak and ran his career record to 85-0 with a most-impressive 17-7 win over Brill. It was Marsteller’s second consecutive state championship. He also won the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award.

“ I just didn’t put everything together that I knew I should have,” said Brill, whose last loss was 6-3 to Easton’s Mark Hartenstine in the consolation semifinals of the 2010 PIAA tournament. “I didn’t feel right after the first period. I felt alright the right couple minutes. But it wasn’t there (Saturday). It wasn’t there the whole tournament. I didn’t feel like I brought my ‘A’ game since Thursday.”

While Marsteller cruised through the 160-pound tournament with three technical falls – the 20th, 21st and 22nd of his season – Brill had to fight tooth and nail just to get back to the final for the second consecutive season. Saturday morning he won a tight 5-4 decision over Norristown’s Brett Harner, a wrestler he beat 9-2 earlier in the season.

The normally mild-mannered and quiet Brill got so frustrated during that semifinal that when he gave up an escape with fewer than 10 seconds to go in the second period to go down, 4-3, he punched the mat after he and Harner went out of bounds.

That frustration seemed to carry over to the final. He had no answer for a slick takedown artist like Marsteller. Brill did get one takedown which cut his deficit to 7-4 in the second period, but Marsteller recorded six. He also had a set of backpoints.

“As a wrestler, and I’m sure Brian would say the same thing, your idea of a match is not to want to have a close match,” said Marsteller, who also recorded 19 falls this year. “You want to go out and rip someone’s head off. You want to tech fall or pin somebody. That was my goal during the match.”

“It’s just the tournament. You get down to a big stage, no matter how many times you’ve been there, everybody freezes up a little bit,” Brill said. “I looked at this like any other match, he was just the better wrestler.”

Brill got deep to Marsteller’s knee twice in the first 3 minutes. The first one Marsteller was able to slip his foot out of quickly and then immediately get to an offensive position, forcing Brill back on his heels. The takedown Brill did record came when Marsteller whiffed on one of his shots and the Lehigh-bound Brill was able to spin behind for two points.

Marsteller, who went 1-2 at the Nittany Lion Open as an eighth-grader two years ago, scored 83 points in his four state tournament matches this weekend.

“I tried to build off it a little bit. It just wasn’t there for me,” Brill said. “My feet weren’t moving right. There’s no flow to my shots or anything.

“I had an off tournament all weekend. That’s not taking anything away from him because he’s a great wrestler and a good kid. I just wasn’t feeling the flow. I wasn’t feeling the shots I was taking. Just look forward now, look past this and learn from it.”


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