There was no better word to describe Shane Reynolds' demeanor on the mat during the quarterfinal round of the South East AAA Regional tournament Friday. It was a winning mindset for the Spring-Ford senior, who gutted out a 7-4 overtime victory against Quakertown's Kyle Miller.
"Definitely," Reynolds, working to catch his breath minutes after the triple-overtime workout, agreed. It kept him in contention for a gold medal at 113 ... and, at the least, improving on last year's sixth-place finish that prevented him from state-tournament qualification.
"I was really driven by finishing sixth at regionals last year," he said. "That motivated me to keep working."
Reynolds is among the nine Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestlers who won the first two championship-round matches in their weight classes. To achieve that distinction, he had to survive a back-and-forth regulation-time tussle with Miller, who forced the overtime scenario with an escape in the third period.
Reynolds (32-10) got off to a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown, only to see Miller (29-9) go up 3-2 in the second with an escape and takedown off a bottom start. Reynolds responded by somersaulting out of the bottom position in the third, working to protect the tenuous lead by hanging tight on Miller's legs and preventing the Panther from doing the same.
"He really pushed me," Reynolds recalled. "In the back of my mind, I didn't want him to hold me back."
With the first two OT frames seeing neither wrestler score, Reynolds chose a bottom start. He broke up the deadlocked affair with an escape, then executed a leg takedown to get the rare overtime win.
"I've had very few like this," he said, "and they usually came out the other way. I just kept working, no matter how tired I was, to push past the discomfort and keep scoring."
Reynolds' steady mindset impressed his head coach, who noted how he "wrestles hard no matter how long the match goes."
"We knew going in the kid (Miller) was tough," Tim Seislove said. "But Shane is confident. He kept his composure and got in his shots. He just kept coming."
Reynolds came to the regional at Souderton off a first-ever championship in the District 1-AAA North tournament last weekend. Friday's hard-fought decision, coming after he pinned Garnet Valley's Christopher Wood in his first bout, gives Reynolds a decided boost in his bid for a higher spot on the medal podium.
"It definitely does," he said. "I want to keep working and push past the discomfort."
Reynolds will be joined in the semifinal round by teammates Jack McGill (138), Chase Smith (170) and Joey Milano (182), all of whom won twice on opening night. Owen J. Roberts had a trio of semifinalists in Antonio Petrucelii (138), Daniel Mancini (152) and Connor Quinn (160). Methacton saw one wrestler, Kibwe McNair, remain in the gold-medal hunt at 138, the third of three Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestlers in the championship bracket.
NOTES >> Of the three wrestlers unbeaten through 30 or more matches this season, only one came out of Friday's action with a perfect record intact. Great Valley's Ethan Seeley remained untopped at 195 while Upper Dublin's Mason Nowak (182) and Bensalem's John Klewin (185) sustained their first losses of the year. ... Team standings after the first night showed Spring-Ford (45 points) second and Owen J. Roberts third (35) behind team leader Council Rock South (81.5). ... Saturday's schedule kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with the first of four consolation rounds. Championship semifinals are scheduled for 11 a.m., with medal rounds at 6 p.m. ... The regional Hall of Fame inductions and awards will be taking place at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Parade of Champions at 5:45 p.m.