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PIAA wrestling medals are a rare commodity in the state of Pennsylvania. They are even more precious for Lebanon County competitors.

Colin Leonard has joined an elite group.

On Saturday afternoon at Hershey’s Giant Center, Leonard joined only a handful of local wrestlers who have earned state wrestling medals, when he finished eighth in the Class AA 126-pound bracket at the PIAA Championships. The Northern Lebanon junior was beaten 12-1 by Jeremy Hanford of Warrior Run, in the seventh-place bout at 126.

But Leonard’s performance over the three days of the state tournament helped him realize a lifelong goal. It also paved the way for what should be an even more impressive senior campaign next year.

Leonard had assured himself of a PIAA medal on Friday, with a 3:17 fall in the third round of consolations.

sportsbuzzLeonard opened his tournament on Thursday, by decking Nick Ooosterkamp in the first period of the first-round bout. But he was relegated to the consolation bracket by a tough 3-2 loss to A.J. Burkhart of Athens in the quarterfinals.

Leonard, the District Three Class AA champion at 126, went 2-3 at the state championships and finished his 11th-grade season at 49-8.

 – Jeff Falk

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