Reagan Milheim wins gold medal with late takedown

Mar. 9—HERSHEY — Reagan Milheim chose an appropriate time to let it all out.

The usually-stoic Milheim didn't hide his emotions when he realized he had become a PIAA champion. After getting a takedown with four seconds left against rival Mason Barvitskie of Southern Columbia in the 145-pound title match to win 3-1, the Warrior Run sophomore unleashed a scream and put both of his hands into the air toward the crowd at the Giant Center.

Milheim was the only Valley wrestler to win a gold medal during the third and final day of the PIAA wrestling tournament on Saturday. Milheim finished the season with a 49-3 record.

"It's not really hard to stay composed," Milheim said. "Just going out there in the state final match, it's the last match of the season, so I'm just going to go out there and let it all out.

"It's just a good feeling. (I) just came out here and won it all."

Barvitskie, a four-time state medalist appearing in his first final, got on the board first after picking up an escape seven seconds into the second period. Milheim then tied with an escape early in the final period before his gold-medal-clinching takedown.

It was the fourth time in as many weeks that Milheim and Barvitskie faced off in a title match. All four matches were decided in dramatic fashion and both wrestlers refused to give up points.

Milheim picked up a pair of 2-1 wins at sectionals and districts before Barvitskie finally came up on the winning side with a 3-1 decision at regionals a week ago.

"I think it was kind of good that I lost last week because I realized I needed to get into my offense more and get out there and win a match," Milheim said.

"You look at (Barvitskie) and he's a four-time medalist," Warrior Run coach Jeremy Betz added. "There's a section in the book for history for four-time medalists — that's not something that happens often. Mason puts in a lot of time into the sport, and to have somebody like that you gotta train to beat all the time, it definitely elevates your game."

Milheim won his first gold medal and second state medal overall on Saturday. Milheim was the runner-up to Wyoming Area's Anthony Evanitsky in last year's 139 final as a freshman. Milheim fell in a 7-4 decision.

He is the first Warrior Run state champion since Jason Guffey in 2006.

Milheim believes that wrestling at the Giant Center for the first time last season helped him going into this year's tournament.

"Mainly just trusting myself," said Milheim on he changed from last season. "Not really working on anything, just a mindset coming into this tournament."

"He expects to go out and win matches, so to win big matches isn't something that he doesn't expect," Betz, who was named the PIAA Class 2A coach of the year for the second consecutive year, said. "When you see him unemotional, it's because he expects to win, and other people are like 'These are big matches', and he's like 'It's just another match and I train to win, and I go out there and I expect to win when I'm out in the mat.' So I think that's more of a lack of emotion more than anything else, but I think anytime that anyone wins a tournament of this caliber, you get a little smile."

Milheim did indeed smile, but soon after he retained his even-keeled attitude with a focus on his offseason training ahead.