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Eyes on the Prize

Tyler Chappell - AOW
SV’s Chappell chasing state wrestling crown

By Derek Pyda

Eagle Staff Writer

JACKSON TWP — For Seneca Valley wrestler Tyler Chappell, the next step is clear.

As a sophomore last season, Chappell won a WPIAL title at 106 pounds before placing third in the state.

“Win at states,” Chappell replied without hesitation of his aim come the postseason. “I feel I can win the WPIAL again and I’d like to have another chance at (Manheim Township’s) Kaedyn Williams. He beat me in the semifinal round and won the state title last year.”

Competing at both 113 and 120 pounds this season, Chappell is 16-3 and has a three-year varsity record of 79-19. He finished second in the Cumberland Valley Tournament to start the season and took third at the King of the Mountain Tournament and the prestigious Powerade event at Canon-McMillan High School last month. Chappell placed second there last year.

“Powerade is in the top three (tournaments) nationally when it comes to caliber of competition,” said SV coach Kevin Wildrick. “Tyler has the ability to remain calm and continue to wrestle through close matches. He sticks to the game plan.

“He’s gritty and really tough to score on.”

Chappell takes pride in his defense.

“You don’t have to score many points to win if you don’t give up a lot,” he said. “I feel pretty confident when (starting) on the bottom, but I need to open up more when it’s neutral. Sometimes I have a mental block when it comes to opening up and being aggressive and I’ve been working on that with my coaches.”

Two of Chappell’s losses this season came by 6-1 scores, one at the Cumberland Valley Tournament to Delaware Valley’s Zac Jacaruso and the other at Powerade to Thomas Link of Malvern Prep.

“Both of those became a lot more out of reach than I would have liked,” admitted Chappell. “They were tough losses, but I learned from them.”

His effort the last two years helped the Raiders finish runner-up in the WPIAL team tournament in back-to-back seasons.

Wrestling proved to be the perfect sport for Chappell when he was growing up.

“I was really small when I was younger and felt in a sport like football, you have to be a certain size to be good,” he said. “But in wrestling there are weight classes, so people of all sizes and stature can succeed.

“I’ve been a wrestler as long as I can remember. I played baseball and lacrosse for a while, but gave those up by the seventh grade.”