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Springer becomes first Valley female to win match at Hershey

Mar. 8—HERSHEY — Karissa Springer knew she was the underdog. In the end, it didn't matter.

After going down by eight points in a 136-pound consolation bout Friday, the Selinsgrove junior reversed course in the third period by picking up a takedown and secured a historic victory with a pin shortly after.

With the win, Springer became the first female from the Valley to win in a PIAA-sanctioned match at the PIAA Wrestling Championships in the Giant Center. Rivera was three spots above Springer in the state rankings at the time of their match.

"It was definitely nerve-wracking coming back," Springer said. "I was obviously not supposed to win that match on paper. I don't get upset when I'm down points. There, I was down some points and I came back on top.

"It's awesome. It's something I get to tell my kids when I'm older."

Before she turned her fortunes around, Springer looked like she was going to be eliminated from the state tournament with a second loss. After earning a takedown in the first period, Rivera scored six more points in the following period to build an 8-0 lead.

"She was a lot stronger than I was," Springer said. "I came in there with more aggression than I did (Thursday). I had a long talk with Coach (Seth Martin) last night at the hotel. I come back in more ready and more mentally stable."

Springer was lafter eliminated from the tournament after she was pinned by Western Wayne's Sara Shook in the first period. Springer finished the season with a record of 24-8.

"Karrisa's one of those girls where I would say she's probably down in points 50 percent of the time, and she finds a way to win," Martin said. "So I can't say I'm surprised that she was losing 8-0 and catches that girl and pins her. That's typical Karissa Springer, you better not relax or you end up paying for it."

Springer's teammate, Nevaeh Strouse, also saw her season come to a close on Friday after dropping a consolation match at 112 to Pleasant Valley's Juliette Trout. Trout bested Strouse in a technical fall.

After losing both of her matches at Hershey, Strouse ended her junior campaign with a record of 23-8.

"I know Nevaeh was really disappointed because (Friday) she came in with a better mindset and a better attitude," Martin said. "She was pretty down on herself after that, but nothing a good 20-minute talk couldn't fix. She'll be back next year, and hopefully have a little bit better showing.

"I can't say I was disappointed with the girls and their efforts. They came in here and went 1-4, but it was a good experience for them. They're not the kind of girls that take things too seriously to let it ruin their whole weekend."

Now that Selinsgrove girls are out of the tournament, Martin believes the program can bring more female wrestlers to Hershey next season.

"I expect it to continue to grow — not just in the state, but specifically at Selinsgrove for sure," Martin said.