Ryan Hembury was bummed out as he left the University of Pittsburgh's Fitzgerald Fieldhouse on Sunday.
He knew losing his 189-pound match at the prestigious Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic was a possibility, but losing by fall, even to No. 1-ranked Morgan McIntosh of California, was not what he had in mind. Still, the Muncy senior couldn't help but be happy to be a part of one of just two Pennsylvania teams to beat the USA all-stars since 2001.
The Pennsylvania seniors beat five wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the country by Intermat on the way to a 27-18 win over the USA all-stars. Three of those five wins over No. 1-ranked wrestlers came from PIAA Class AA wrestlers. It was Pennsylvania's first win over the USA team since 2009. Prior to that Pennsylvania hadn't won since 2000.
"It just shows Pennsylvania is the best place for wrestling," Hembury said. "(Penn State head coach) Cael Sanderson moved to Pennsylvania because he knows it's the best place to be for wrestling."
Hembury said he was surprised at just how quick and strong McIntosh was once he got on the mat with him. McIntosh, who is a Penn State recruit and could be in the national champions' starting lineup next year, put together a number of takedowns and quickly racked up a good lead before he scored the fall against Hembury with 1 second left in the second period. It was the only fall of the match.
"He was definitely one of the best ones I've ever wrestled," Hembury said. "He's very quick and strong. I basically ran into a buzzsaw."
Hembury is just two weeks removed from winning a PIAA Class AA state championship at 189 pounds. He and teammate Zack Strickland - who won the 152-pound championship - were Muncy's first state wrestling champions in 55 years.
But even in the process of beating defending state champion Stephen Ceremuga of Commodore Perry in the final, Hembury hadn't run into someone at quite the level of McIntosh.
"He was always in very good position and very strong," Hembury said. "He was pretty much the total package wrestler."
Hembury, who was the first Lycoming County wrestler since 2004 to be selected for the Dapper Dan, is still walking away from the experience with a positive outlook.
"Overall it was amazing being with all these great wrestlers who are going to go on to be national champions and All-Americans at the college level," Hembury said. "It would have been nice to win, but I can't take it to heart and be depressed about it. I have to go back and learn from it."