Mercersburg will send three wrestlers to the National Prep Wrestling Championships next weekend after Hayden Shirk ’24, Luke Hendricks ’24, and Alex Forrester ’23 finished in the top six of their weight classes at the Pennsylvania Independent School Wrestling Tournament, which Mercersburg hosted in the Plantz Courts of Nolde Gymnasium February 18-19.
Shirk (145 pounds) and Hendricks (285) finished fourth in their respective weight classes, while Forrester took fifth at 132. (Forrester will be making a return to National Preps, after having qualified in 2020.)
The Blue Storm had a total of five state placewinners, with Holden Walker ’23 and Arnav Pallapothu ’23 finishing eighth at 170 pounds and 195 pounds, respectively.
Shirk (33-9) was defeated in the championship semifinals by Reed Fulmer of Malvern Prep (by technical fall), but came back to knock off Trent Layton of Academy of the New Church by 5-3 decision before falling in the third-place bout to Flynn Kearney of Episcopal Academy (8-4 decision).
Hendricks (27-10) suffered a loss by major decision (11-1) to then-undefeated Billy Brosko of Haverford in the championship semifinals. In the consolation semis, Hendricks won by ultimate tiebreaker (3-2) over Luke Cawley of Hill to reach the third-place match, where he fell to D.J. Moehring of Wyoming Seminary.
Forrester (26-9) went 1-1 on Friday and punched his ticket to National Preps Saturday by pinning Henry Ritts of Hill (4:15). After a loss to T.J. Langley of Western Reserve, Forrester defeated Fernando Loor of Episcopal Academy by a 4-2 decision to win the fifth-place bout.
National Preps will be held Friday, February 25, and Saturday, February 26, at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, MD.