WITMER – The performance was neither gaudy or over-the-top. What it was was solid and strong.
Not unlike the Lebanon County competitors who put forth the showing.
The locale’s stout effort at Saturday’s conclusion of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Wrestling Championships was rewarded with a cache of medals, of all shapes, sizes and colors. Highlighted by Annville-Cleona sophomore Jeffrey Inman’s silver medal, Lebanon County wrestlers returned home with a total of nine awards.
Meanwhile, Cedar Crest junior Adam Gilson fought his way back through the 182-pound meat grinder to earn a solid bronze medallion. Medals were awarded to the top six place finishers in each and every weight class.
“Today, I can’t say I’m disappointed,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Mike Miller. “I thought we wrestled tough. We didn’t win all of our matches, but we were in there and wrestled strong. Seeing all these tough (Class) AAA kids will prepare us for sectionals.”
“I thought we had a half-decent tournament,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Rusty Wallace, after his team received a trophy recognizing its regular-season team championship in Section Three. “In a big tournament like this, you’re always going to have some positives, and you’re always going to have some negatives. We brought ten kids, got four medals and three of our kids are sophomores.
“Overall, we didn’t quite achieve what we expected,” said Cedar Crest head coach Barry Sohn. “I thought we could get at least three in the semis, and we got two. And I thought we could’ve got one of our crew into the finals.
“The good part is that they all rebounded well, when they got that first loss,” Sohn continued. “You’ve got to be able to come back strong.”
With three consecutive falls, Inman improved to 26-1 on the season and barged into the finals at 138 pounds. There he ran into a buzz saw by the name of Alex Smith of Manheim Township, who shut out Inman 10-0.
“Yeah, I thought I wrestled pretty well, except for the finals match,” said Inman. “I didn’t wrestle that aggressively that match. I knew he (Smith) was a really good wrestler. I saw his semifinal match.
“I think I did pretty well,” Inman continued. “I pinned all my kids up until the final. I really wanted to do better than last year, when I was fourth.”
“His (Inman’s) goal should’ve been to get to the finals, because once you get there, anything can happen,” said Miller. “He was the number-three seed and finished second, so he did better than his seed. I thought he wrestled well. He’s strong and he’s in good shape. And you get to see other styles of wrestling here.”
The final score of Inman’s finals battle with Smith was a little misleading in that Inman gave up a reversal and a late three-point near-fall in the third period. Smith had built a 5-0 lead with a first-period takedown, a second-period escape and a second-period takedown.
“He was good on his feet,” said Inman of Smith. “I did my best but he was too tough for me. I had to try to wrestle more defensively. I really couldn’t do anything. I’ve just got to get past it and go on.
“I really want to get at least 40 wins this season,” Inman added. “I want to make it to states, and hopefully place. I just need to work harder, work on my weaknesses and see how it goes from there.”
“I thought it might be a little closer,” said Miller, “but Smith’s a good wrestler. It’s hard to describe. He (Inman) was in it, it was tight, it was close, and he (Smith) scored some points at the end.”
Little Dutchman freshman Josh Renninger fell in the consolation final at 106, and settled for fourth.
“As a team, I thought we wrestled well,” said Miller. “I try to preach to them (his wrestlers), ‘Don’t give anything away. Make your opponent earn everything.’ They’ve improved, and they’re still improving. They’re doing a good job.”
After suffering a quarterfinal setback on Friday night, Gilson ripped off four straight consolation wins on Saturday to take third at 182. Gilson capped off the run with a 9-1 dismantling of Donegal’s Dylan Maxwell in the consolation final.
Gilson’s Falcon teammate Lukas Gerdes also reached the third-place bout, at 195, but endured a different result. Gerdes appeared to come up with a decisive near-fall at the end of his match with McCaskey’s Steven Adams, but was reversed and subsequently pinned with a mere ten seconds to go.
Another Crest competitor, Barry Breidegan, claimed the fifth-place prize at 132, after pulling away from Penn Manor’s Deion Valentin 7-4.
“That’s solid and important,” said Sohn of Gilson’s consolation journey. “We were hoping for that semifinal win (out of Gilson), but he was kind of sick that night. Gilson and Gerdes, they’re both solid kids, strong and athletic.”
Northern Lebanon took home two fourths and two sixths.
In the third-place bout at 152, Northern Lebanon sophomore Evan Daub just couldn’t get anything going, and fell 8-2 to Steve Woolley of Warwick.
“We try to use this tournament as preparation for sectionals and districts,” said Wallace. “We try to tell our guys that mentally, we want to use this to get ready. In a tournament like this, you’ve got to have a short memory. Obviously, we didn’t have all the outcomes we wanted, but the kids wrestled well.
“Some of the kids had individual goals, to win championships, get to the finals and some just wanted to place,” continued Wallace. “But getting hit with the flu, we only brought ten kids.”
Vikings Anthony Deyo and Joey Emborsky finished sixth at 285 and 138, respectively.
at Conestoga Valley H.S.
1. Manheim Township, 199.5; 2. Solanco, 198; 3. Garden Spot, 170.5; 4. Warwick, 155; 5. Manheim Central, 139; 6t. Conestoga Valley, Penn Manor, 124; 8. Lancaster Catholic, 116; 9. Ephrata, 108; 10. Hempfield, 102
11t. Annville-Cleona, Donegal, 80; 13. McCaskey, 71.5; 14. Lampeter-Strasburg, 69; 15. Northern Lebanon, 66.5; 16. Columbia, 65; 17. Cedar Crest, 63; 18. Cocalico, 49; 19. Elco, 31.5; 20. Lebanon, 27; 21. Elizabethtown, 25; 22. Pequea Valley, 18.
106 – Sheehan (Sol.) def. Schnupp (War.), 9-6
113 – Charles (War) def. Laws (Sol), 6-4 (OT)
120 – Dumas (Eph) def. Norris (GS), 12-6
126 – Schuyter (MT) def. Eidemiller (Eph), 17-5
132 – Ortiz (CV) def. Grossman (MT), 5-4 (OT)
138 – Smith (MT) def. Inman (A-C), 10-0
145 – Smith (MT) def. Hammond (Sol), 3-0
152 – Warren (Sol) def. Leid (GS), 13-8
160 – Christie (GS) def. Leschke (PM), 3-2
170 – Swarr (GS) def. Taltoan (LC), 17-1 (5:48)
182 – Loiseau (LC) def. Shorter (MT), 5-2
195 – Pickel (L-S) def. Ortiz (Hemp), 7-1
220 – Haines (Sol) pinned Peterson (Col), 1:32
285 – Devenney (War) def. Spiller (Sol), 2-1
106 – Lobeck (LC) def. Renninger (A-C), 10-1
113 – Kenderdine (MT) pinned Sarmento (Eph), 2:30
120 – Profitt (Sol) def. Graves (MT), 1-0
126 – Martin (GS) pinned Blatt (NL), 4:55
132 – Cook (GS) def. Fantom (MC), 5-0
138 – Metzler (MC) def. Peris (McC), 10-0
145 – Finkey (GS) pinned Sipe (Eph), 4:46
152 – Woolley (War) def. Daub (NL), 8-2
160 – Kramer (CV) def. McKnight (MT), 6-2
170 – Sauder (Don) def. Brooks (CV), 11-6
182 – Gilson (CC) def. Maxwell (Don), 9-2
195 – Lasanta (MC) pinned Gerdes (CC), 4:50
220 – Stauffer (L-S) pinned Maguire (McC), 2:48
285 – Goodhart (Hemp) def. Bragg (CV), 3-0