By: Tim Birney | | March 10, 2022 | Photo courtesy Tim Birney


HERSHEY — Athens senior Gavin Bradley, a state runner-up last year, may not have wrestled his best, but he still advanced to the quarterfinals with a 16-5 major decision in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships here Thursday morning at The Giant Center.

“(Gavin) didn’t wrestle very well,” said Athens assistant coach Jay White. “He did what he had to do, but he didn’t wrestle very well.

“The kid knew what was coming, and he’s real funky,” added White. “We just wanted to stay away from him as much as possible, along the lines of getting ourselves in trouble.

“Gavin was a little leery of the big moves that kid has,” added White. “He’s thrower and a roller, and hits a lot of big five-point moves. In his mind, Gavin was a little leery of him … if he just wrestles, he techs him.”

Bradley, now 36-1 and the top seed in the 113-pound bracket, squared off with junior Mason McLendon of Susquenita, and scored the initial takedown about 30 seconds into the bout.

Bradley cut McLendon twice, and twice scored two takedowns to take a 6-2 lead at the end of the first period.

Bradley extended his lead to 10-4 with a pair of takedowns in the second period, and cut McLendon with 20 seconds remaining, but couldn’t manage another takedown.

“The only thing we had a problem with is we told (Gavin) to cut him with 20 seconds left, and take him back down, and Gavin chose to not take him back down,” said White. “He has to get those points.”

McLendon spent the majority of the third period riding top, but never got close to turning Bradley, who was penalized a point for stalling to make it 10-5.

With 18 seconds remaining, McLendon was warned for stalling, and the match was re-started in the center.

Bradley scored a quick escape and takedown, then turned McLendon to his back for three near-fall points as the horn sounded.

“In the third period, (Gavin) just didn’t get out quickly and (McLendon) is good on rides,“ said White. “He rode double boots with one-on-one to both sides for just about the whole period. It’s hard to get out if you don’t do it quickly.”

Bradley will face Jack Kazalas (39-5) of Quakertown in the quarterfinals.

“We’ll work with (Gavin) on that last 20 seconds of the second period, and the first 20 seconds of the third, that’s where we had our problems,” said White. “We’ll fix those 20 seconds, and he’ll be all right.”


About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).