District wrestling set to open
BY DAVE BYRNE, Sports Staff
Central Dauphin has not won every District Three Class AAA team tournament.
It only seems that way.
The Rams, 31-5 in tournament matches, have won five straight AAA championships and are the favorite to nail down a seventh overall title, coming in as the top seed as the tournament gets under way tonight.
The top four seeds -- Central Dauphin, Solanco, Cedar Cliff and Spring Grove -- host side-by-side, first-round doubleheaders at 5 p.m. with the winners at each site facing each other at 7 p.m.
The Class AAA semifinals are set for 7 p.m. Thursday, hosted by the two highest remaining seeds. The championship match is at Milton Hershey, Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The semifinal losers also will meet at 1:30 at Milton Hershey in a PIAA tournament seeding match.
Central Dauphin has won 20 straight district team matches since losing to eventual champion Lower Dauphin in the 2007 semifinals.
CD (17-0) opens with Dallastown (8-2). The Wildcats are responsible for two of the Rams' five overall tournament losses, but are far from the 2004 and '06 squads that accomplished those feats. Also in the CD pod are Middletown (10-3) and Cumberland Valley (9-4).
Solanco (7-0) is the No. 2 seed and hosts Wilson (12-5) in the first round. The Golden Mules also host Mechanicsburg (7-3) and Hershey (16-3).
Fifteenth-seeded Wilson is led by seniors Andy Francos, 28-5 at 160, Bryan Mulchoney, 25-13 at 132, juniors Hatlee Hunter, 26-2 at 220, Parker Eidle, 23-13 at 152, Mike Hafer, 27-10 at 138, and Connor Moyer, 26-10 at 113.
L-L champions Connor Sheehan, 25-4 at 106, and Isaac Warren, 11-2 at 152, as well as three-time L-L titlist and two-time PIAA champion Thomas Haines (26-1) pace the Mules, who are 16-10 in district matches, winning the AAA title in 1992 and '94.
The veteran presence of seniors Austin Laws, 18-8 at 113, and Kyle Hammond, 20-10 at 145, and junior heavyweight Bo Spiller (24-4) -- all L-L silver medalists -- will be felt.
Heavyweight Zachary Warren (22-4) and Andrew Woltman, 21-6 at 170, are the only 20-match winners for Hershey, which won its first 15, before dropping three in a row, including a 43-21 nod to Mechanicsburg.
One season removed from the AAA championship match, Mechanicsburg can still call on Mitchell Ramsey, 25-4 at 160, and Joey Krulock, 23-4 at 170, to deliver.
Eleventh-seed Garden Spot is part of the quartet at No. 3 Cedar Cliff and opens with sixth-seed Chambersburg.
Back in the tournament after a one-year hiatus, the Spartans are 1-2 overall in district matches.
Junior L-L champion Ben Swarr is 29-2 at 170-182. Senior co-captains Nick Cook, 30-3 at 132, and Tanner Leid, 21-5 at 152 will once again lead by example.
Making its team championships debut, Chambersburg is paced by returning state champion and two-time state finalist Garret Hammond, 33-4 at 152, and fellow senior Tanner Shoap, 26-7 at 113.
The host Colts take on Governor Mifflin in the other match.
Less than five miles apart as the crow flies, Manheim Township and Warwick will travel almost 40 miles to Spring Grove for a rematch of their recent Section One meeting, won by Township, 38-34.
Warwick is tough down low and up top with Devin Schnupp (23-1) and Josh Charles (20-5) in the lightweights and Steve Wooley (21-4) and Tom Devenney (19-1) in the upperweights.
Township's strength lies in the murderers' row of Cortlandt Schuyler (31-4), Matt Grossmann (26-7), Alex Smith (28-6) and Adam Smith (29-4) from 126-145, with John Shorter (25-10) at 182.
It may come down once more to the performance of Blue Streak sophomores Nick Hershey (14-14), Nick McKnight (18-15) and Griffin Schultz (19-9).
On the other mat the host Rockets take on Northern York, a squad they hammered 61-12 17 days ago. Spring Grove also handled Warwick, 45-18, on the first weekend of the new year.
Only one of the Rockets' starting 14 has a losing record. Ten have 20 or more victories, led by senior 120-pounder Zach Clingan (28-1).
Action in Class AA begins Wednesday with quarterfinal and semifinal matches at Boiling Springs and Biglerville.
The finals are set for 11 a.m. Saturday, also at Milton Hershey.
Northern Lebanon (16-4) enters its first district team tournament as the No. 4 seed and will face fifth-seeded Schuylkill Valley (17-3) in a 5 p.m. quarterfinal match at top-seeded Boiling Springs.
Schuylkill Valley is led by the Giorgio cousins: senior 220-pounder Dante (25-8) -- brother of former Warwick star Antonio Giorgio -- and sophomore 120-pounder Josh (26-4).
The winner between Northern Lebanon and Schuylkill Valley likely will draw two-time defending champion Boiling Springs in the 7 p.m. semifinal.
The Bubblers open their quest for a fifth AA title with No. 8 Upper Dauphin (14-8).
At No. 2 seed Biglerville (23-2), Hamburg (13-6) faces the hosts at 5 p.m. while three-time champion Bermudian Springs (21-4), the No. 2 seed takes on Susquenita (9-3).