As sections and WPIAL’s come to a close, junior Tyler Griffiths is looking to take placing first at both tournaments and using that momentum to move forward through regionals this weekend and advance to states. The top six of the tournament will advance to states in Hershey on March 9th through the tenth.
“I’m coming out of the team season 34-1,”said Griffiths.” This week I have a tough matchup against Carnell Andrews of Bishop McCort.”
Griffiths previously wrestled Tyler Alberts of Ellwood City in his match in the WPIAL final.
“For that match I felt like I was the most dominate,” said Griffiths.”In WPIAL finals I rode the kid for three and a half minutes so he really couldn’t get a shot on me.”
Being ranked first in the WPIAL tournament gave Griffiths an edge, along with a bye into the next round.
“Having a bye only helps me to save up more energy and prepare myself for the tougher matches that I know I have coming,”said Griffiths.” It gives me an advantage because I’m rested up while my opponent has to work himself up.”
Aside from all the work coaches has him doing at practice, Griffiths takes matters into his own hands when needed.
“I’ve come this far because I have put in so much time and work to get where I am,”said Griffiths.”But as far as I’ve come is not as far as I will go; I still have a goal of (medaling at) states.”
Last year, Southmoreland had their first state champion in the 50-year history of the program when Jake Beistel reached the top of the medal stand.
“I’m not trying to compete with Beistel,” said Griffiths.”If I win states, that’s great, but I don’t feel like I’ll be a let down to the school if I don’t. He earned everything he achieved.”
Griffiths has coaches by his side helping him and pushing him hard in the wrestling room and at the matches; he also credits his father, Michael, for everything he has done and still has yet to do.
“My dad is my biggest motivator, and he always pushes me to do my best. But sometimes he gets on my nerves,” Griffiths said with a smile.”I don’t let him know he’s my biggest motivator. I tell him he’s annoying, but deep down I know he’s there for me and proud of me no matter what the outcome of my match is.”
Griffiths looks to be part of the top 6 to advance to states in March.