Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Streaks make most of unusual alliance
nManheim Township wrestlers heartily cheer on rival from Warwick, when coach tells squad winning first L-L League Wrestling Tournament team title hangs in the balance of heavyweight bout.
It wasn't up there with lions lying down with lambs, or eagles flying with doves.
But the sight of six Manheim Township wrestlers sitting on the floor just behind the Warwick corner cheering, avidly, for Warrior heavyweight Tom Devenney was a true moment of d'tente in the often heated sports rivalry between the two schools.
Of course, the Blue Streaks' motivation wasn't entirely altruistic. If Devenney defeated Solanco's Bo Spiller, Township wins the team title -- its first ever -- of the 19th L-L League wrestling championships.
Should Spiller prevail, the team title, Solanco's fourth consecutive and sixth overall, would return to Quarryville.
"I was trying not to get too excited," Streaks coach Tim Rice shared. "But I told everybody what the situation was. They knew it was coming down to that heavyweight match."
In a bizarre finish Saturday night at Conestoga Valley, Spiller was penalized for a starting position violation, the penalty coming in sudden-victory overtime, and Devenney was declared the victor, 2-1.
Followed shortly by the certification of Township's 1½-point team title victory over the Golden Mules: 199½ to 198.
"We were definitely happy Devenney pulled it out there for us," Rice said. "How much did we win by?"
When told the margin, he cracked, "So I could've used another one."
He was referring to the team point deduction assessed on Township during the 145-pound bout when Rice approached the scorer's table to question a stalling warning on Adam Smith.
As it was Rice's second such unsanctioned coach-official conversation of the weekend -- of the day -- one more would've resulted in Rice's removal from the tournament.
"So, then, no," he acknowledged.
"When these things come down to a point-and-a-half there's a lot of guys that came through for us," Rice said.
"We brought 11 guys and nine placed, so that's a good thing."
Cortlandt Schuyler (126), Alex Smith (138) and Adam Smith (145) won individual championships for the Streaks.
For Schuyler and Adam Smith it was their third L-L titles, the 13th and 14th L-L wrestlers to achieve the honor.
Solanco's Thomas Haines joined that group later in the evening when he won his third title.
Matt Grossmann (132) and John Shorter (182) placed second. Victor Kenderdine picked up two bonus points scoring a fall to take third at 113.
David Graves and Nick McKnight placed fourth at 120 and 160, respectively, and Griffin Schultz placed seventh at 170.
"In these kind of things," Rice said, "every point helps. We've been knocking on the door the last two, three years."
The Streaks have been ascendant for six years, not coincidentally when Adam and Alex Smith matriculated from the elementary program.
"They really are the leaders of the resurgence of Township wrestling," Rice said.
"The minute they stepped foot into that wrestling room they increased the intensity level. Everybody feeds off of it."
Both Adam and Alex have surpassed Township's previous career victory mark. Adam currently leads with 120 career wins, Alex has 109.
They own four L-L golds, Alex winning his first Saturday after two runner-up finishes, Adam claiming his third.
"It should've been four," Adam said, thinking back to a semifinal loss last year that denied him the opportunity to become just the third L-L wrestler to win four titles.
"But that's okay. The third title, that was my motivation."
In the only head-to-head matchup of Township and Solanco in the finals, Adam Smith defeated Kyle Hammond, 3-0.
It was the third meeting between the two in eight days, Hammond taking an 8-5 quarterfinal nod at the Escape From the Rock, Smith turning that around the next day, 3-0, for the bronze medal.
"I came back much smarter, wrestled in good position and carried that over," said Smith.
"I wanted to wrestle my best and my smartest," he stated. "(Saturday) was the best I've wrestled in a while. I was aggressive, but under control."
As was the Streaks' team title, eventually.