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SOUTH LEBANON – Because of the Lebanon County Wrestling Championships, grappling is one of the few local scholastic sports to decide its all-County team with hand-to-hand competition. That certainly take the speculation, debate and doubt out of the process.

But Saturday’s 19th edition of the tournament, contested at Cedar Crest, was less about individuals than it was about teams. A team. One team. The Northern Lebanon team.

It somehow seemed appropriate that the Vikings, the local team which has enjoyed the most success on the mat to this point of the 2012-13 season, would walk away with the team title at the County Wrestling Championships. Northern Lebanon used its considerable balance and versatility to edge runner-up Annville-Cleona 321 team points to 312.5.

Elco, which had won the last eight County team titles, finished third with 218 points. Palmyra was fourth, followed by Cedar Crest and Lebanon High.

It was the Vikings’ first Lebanon County team championship since 2004, and just their second overall. Earlier in the season, Northern Lebanon had worn only its second Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three crown in program history and had qualified for just its third appearance in the District Three Class AA team tournament.

IMG_4969“It’s been a long season, but it’s been a great season,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Rusty Wallace. “I told our guys, ‘This is going to be the last thing we do in the regular season as a team. Let’s get after it. If we do, we have a chance to come out on top.’

“It’s (the county tournament) nice. It’s a rivalry thing,” Wallace continued. “You come here and you’re friends with all the other coaches. It’s a little, small tournament. It’s bragging rights. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been able to come here and compete.”

Northern Lebanon, which had gone 17-5 in dual meets, crowned four individual champions, had four runners-up and four third-place finishers. The Little Dutchmen actually mined the most individual golds, five.

“I don’t think there was a team out there that we thought we had to beat,” said Wallace. “We knew out of the 14 weight classes, we had a chance of 11 or 12 place-winners. We have a lot of balance this year. There really are no gaping holes in our lineup. It’s been that kind of year for us, battling and competing.

“We came out on fire to start the day,” added Wallace. “We were really fired up and got a lot of pins. That’s what we needed. It was a long day and Annville-Cleona was our toughest match at the end of it all. Overall, I thought the kids looked really tough. We got pins where we needed them.”

The Vikings’ titles were won by sophomore Evan Daub at 152, sophomore Caleb Blatt at 126, senior Anthony Deyo at 285 and 170-pound Ryan Kelliher. Kelliher was named the event’s unofficial ‘most courageous and inspirational competitor’ for going 5-0 at his weight after enduring the loss of his grandfather earlier in the week.

“For Ryan Kelliher to be able to compose himself, go 5-0 and be a big contributor to the team, that was very impressive,” said Wallace. “He spoke at his grandfather’s service, and I was really proud of the way he handled himself. He’s a super kid, a great kid. He really earned it today.

IMG_4926“The years I’ve been here, we’ve done well at the county tournament,” Wallace continued. “But we’ve never come here with a full lineup. When you don’t have a full lineup, you can’t compete with the teams that do. When you have a full lineup, it puts you at an advantage.”

Annville-Cleona’s performance was spear-headed by Jeff Inman, a Lancaster-Lebanon League runner-up whose efforts throughout the day gained him consideration for the tournament’s unofficial title of ‘Outstanding Wrestler.’ Inman claimed the top honors at 132 pounds, while teammates Justin Ulrich, at 160, Matt Darok, at 113, Orlando Bellaman, at 120, and Tanner Pyles, at 138, were also victorious.

The competitor Inman was sparring with for the unofficial ‘OW’ recognition all afternoon was Palmyra stud Ben Martin. Martin claimed the championship of the 220-pound weight class by going 5-0 and scoring the most team points for his team that was mathematically possible.

Martin was joined at the top of the medal podium by 106-pound teammate Evan Bogdan. Meanwhile, Elco’s only individual title was earned by Austin Rueppel at 145 pounds.

The host Cedar Crest Falcons went back-to-back at 182 and 195 pounds for their two individual golds. First junior Adam Gilson, and then senior Lukas Gerdes, won their weight classes. Both Falcons had enjoyed strong performances at last month’s L-L League wrestling tournament.

“We expected that, both of them,” said Cedar Crest head coach Barry Sohn. “Gerdes has actually been banged up. When he walks, he looks OK. But I’d say he’s about 85 to 90 percent of himself.

IMG_4961“I don’t know if hosting this is any sort of an advantage,” added Sohn. “It’s nice for the kids. But when it’s a 15-minute drive to any of the other schools, I’d rather if someone else hosted it. It’s good for the program.”

“Our goal was to win the section championship from Day One,” said Wallace. “We were going to use our non-league matches and tournaments to prepare for that. I said to our guys, ‘If we did the work, we’re going to have a chance to win the section.’ And our guys responded.

“For as young as we are, that’s a really nice year,” concluded Wallace. “It’s nice to get that taste of success, because then it becomes expected.”




Team Results – 1. Northern Lebanon 321; 2. Annville-Cleona 312.5; 3. Elco 218.5; 4. Palmyra 167; 5. Cedar Crest 162; 6. Lebanon 66.

106 – 1. Evan Bogdan (Palmyra), 5-0; 2. Randy Wintersohl (Elco), 4-1; 3. Josh Renninger (Annville-Cleona), 3-2; 4. Dustin Breidegan (Northern Lebanon), 2-3; 5. Isiah Candelario (Cedar Crest), 1-4..

113 – 1. Matt Darok (AC), 5-0; 2. Chad Puglio (Elco), 4-1; 3. Isaac Young (NL), 3-2.

120 – 1. Orlando Bellaman (AC), 4-1; 2. Matt Achey (Elco), 4-1; 3. Dale Hall (P), 3-2; 4. Kody Kreiser (NL), 3-2; 5. Deborah Baez (L), 0-3.

126 – 1. Caleb Blatt (NL), 5-0; 2. Phil Corle (AC), 4-1; 3. Thomas Miller (P), 3-2; 4. Layne Mulholland (CC), 2-3; 5. Andrew Pasquale (Elco), 1-4; 6. David Del Rio (L), 0-5.

132 – 1. Jeffrey Inman (AC), 5-0; 2. Barry Breidegan (CC), 4-1; 3. Quinn Blatt (NL), 3-2; 4. Kyle Clark (L) 2-3; 5. Nick Smith (Elco) 1-4; 6. Taylor McGarrity (P), 0-5.

138 – 1. Tanner Pyles (AC), 5-0; 2. Joey Emborsky (NL), 4-1; 3. Alex Achey (Elco), 3-2; 4. Damien Mestizo (L), 2-3.

145 – 1. Austin Rueppel (Elco), 5-0; 2. Dalton Himmelberger (AC), 4-1; 3. Holden Zeigler (NL), 3-2; 4. Cole Albrite (P), 2-3; 5. Matthew Klein (L), 1-4; 6. Gerardo Franco (CC), 0-5.

152 – 1. Evan Daub (NL), 5-0; 2. Zach Bankus (Elco), 4-1; 3. Luke Fies (AC), 3-2; 4. Jared Hockley (CC), 2-3.

160 – 1. Justin Ulrich (AC), 5-0; 2. Craig Spitler (NL), 4-1; 3. Jerald Harper (CC), 3-2; 4. Noah Yansinski (P), 2-3; 5. Alex Centeno (Elco), 1-4; 6. Victor Rivera-Rodriguez (L), 0-5.

170 – 1. Ryan Kelliher (NL), 5-0; 2. Pasang Sherpa (CC), 4-1; 3. Adam Kennedy (P), 3-2; 4. Andrew Royer (AC), 2-3; 5. Cody Horst (Elco), 1-4.

182 – 1. Adam Gilson (CC) 5-0; 2. Derek DiAngelis (NL), 4-1; 3. Brandon Light (AC), 3-2; 4. John Gettle (Elco), 2-3.

195 – 1. Lukas Gerdes (CC), 5-0; 2. Kole Orfino (AC), 4-1; 3. Travis Dent (L), 3-2; 4. Tyler Sellers (NL), 2-2; 5. Ryan Bennetch (Elco), 1-4.

220 – 1. Ben Martin (P), 5-0; 2. Chris Kreider (Elco), 4-1; 3. Matt Vines (NL), 3-2; 4. Austin Meyer (AC), 2-3; 5. Anthony Fernandez (CC), 1-4; 6. Mike Calini (L), 0-5.

285 – 1. Anthony Deyo (NL), 5-0; 2. Jamison Barker (P), 3-2; 3. Jose Anazagazty (L), 3-2; 4. Wes Bankus (L), 3-2.


Past Team Champions

IMG_49532013 – Northern Lebanon

2012 – Elco

2011 – Elco

2010 – Elco

2009 – Elco

2008 – Elco

2007 – Elco

2006 – Elco

2005 – Elco

2004 – Northern Lebanon

2003 – Cedar Crest

2002 – Lebanon

2001 – Elco

2000 – Palmyra

IMG_49421999 – Palmyra

1998 – Palmyra

1997 – Palmyra

1996 – Palmyra

1995 – Palmyra





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