Fehlman opens with PIAA win

HERSHEY – Warren’s D.J. Fehlman “gained momentum” as his first-round PIAA Class AAA Championship match went along, according to coach Glenn Baldensperger, and the junior picked up his 99th career win at the Giant Center.

After going 0-2 at states as a sophomore qualifier, Fehlman is 1-0 to begin his 2014 campaign. After winning his third District 10 Class AAA title and finishing second at the Northwest Region Tournament, Fehlman earned a 7-4 decision over the Northeast Region runner-up, sophomore Evan Fidelibus of Easton High School.

“I would say I thought he was a little skiddish starting the match out, but he gained momentum going forward,” said Baldensperger.

Fehlman got the first takedown to open the match and, with the scored knotted at 2-2, “D.J. tilted him for two,” said Baldensperger. “We (chose) down to start the third and escaped and took him down again… The match could have been 7-2 pretty easily.”

Fidelibus took down Fehlman with 20 seconds left, but the match was all but over.

“The first one in any tournament you’re always a little nervous,” said Fehlman. “You have to get your head in the right place.”

Baldensperger said Fehlman “always seems like he’s ready to go,” and doesn’t notice much difference from one match or tournament to the next. Despite being stoic, his first state win is a huge accomplishment in his goal of a top-eight medalist finish.

“Last year he was satisfied getting down here,” said Baldensperger.

Fehlman (33-2) has won at least 30 matches all three years, but his most important match may be his next one – in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning.

Fehlman will wrestle Canon McMillan senior Dalton Macri (37-2), who was a state runner-up last year and a favorite to win gold this year.

“I don’t mind wrestling such a tough kid. You have to leave it all out on the mat,” said Fehlman.

For results, visit www.piaa.org.