DISTRICT THREE CLASS AAA WRESTLING Rockets oust MT
nThe Blue Streaks top L-L rival Warwick in the opener before bowing to one of the district's top teams. BY DAVE BYRNE, Sports Staff
SPRING GROVE -- So, just how good is the Spring Grove wrestling team?
"In my opinion, they're the second-best team in the district," Manheim Township coach Tim Rice said, the sting of a 52-27 defeat at the hands of the host Rockets still fresh.
"They're stacked. Top to bottom they don't have any weak spots. I think they're going to give Central Dauphin a heck of a match."
The fourth-seeded Rockets (22-0) will get that chance Thursday when they travel to Linglestown to take their shot at the five-time defending Class AAA champion Rams.
CD (19-0), the No. 1 seed, advanced to the AAA semifinals with a 41-16 victory over Cumberland Valley. That followed a 59-9 demolition of Dallastown. The other semifinal will have sixth-seeded Chambersburg (16-3) hosting No. 15 Wilson (14-5).
In four head-to-head matchups at the CV Holiday Classic between Township and Spring Grove, the Blue Streaks (11-2) won all four.
Cortlandt Schuyler bested Dakota Laughman 6-5 at 132. Alex Smith topped Mike Hartman 5-1 at 138. Adam Smith slipped past Mason Bentzel 4-3 at 145 and John Shorter edged Andy Melhorn 1-0 at 182.
Only one of those became a rematch Tuesday. Alex Smith blanked Hartman 6-0 in the opening match at 138.
Adam Smith pinned substitute Seth Wolf at 145, but Bentzel bumped to 152 -- covering for Ty Miller, who sat with a balky elbow -- and pinned Nick Hershey.
That fall triggered a run of five straight falls. Unfortunately, Township's John Shorter scored the only six for the visitors as Austin Barley, Jon Gross and Melhorn made it 24-14 Rockets.
When Spring Grove totaled Township's season-long three forfeits at 220, 285 and 106 it was 42-15 and it was over.
"We're giving away three weights, but that's our fault," Rice said. "They had more bodies than us, but definitely the better team won tonight."
Spring Grove closed with Derek Carlisle's fall at 113 and Zack Clingan's major decision at 120, then forfeited to Schuyler and Grossmann as Laughman and Alec Zorbaugh remained on the bench.
The forfeit win was Schuyler's 100th career victory.
While the Rockets were drubbing Northern York 55-15, Township took the measure of Warwick in the first round, getting a huge boost from sophomore Nick McKnight at 170 pounds.
In the Blue Streaks' 38-34 victory three weeks ago McKnight was pinned by the Warriors' Ryan Gray. Hitting a big throw in the opening period, Gray put McKnight away in 1:22.
"I had a stern talking-to (afterward)," McKnight said.
Gray got the initial takedown once again, but only the takedown, so maybe the lecture stuck.
Gray added another with three seconds left in the second period for a 4-2 lead, then chose bottom to start the third. He never came out.
Slapping a Mills half on Gray and securing the far wrist, McKnight separated Gray's axis, put him on his back and pinned him in 4:35.
"I learned that (half) back in elementary school and it's something that's stuck with me," McKnight said. "It's worked on a lot of good wrestlers."
The fall derailed a Warriors' strategy that saw them forfeit to Alex and Adam Smith at 138 and 145, allowing Colin Schnupp to match up on Nick Hershey at 152.
Schnupp topped Hershey 5-1, and Steve Wooley pinned David Schulz at 160, but the die was cast with McKnight's heroics.
Matt Grossmann drilled Logan Stroh in the opening bout at 132, scoring eight takedowns in a 17-5 major decision.
After McKnight's fall, Griffin Schultz and John Shorter increased Township's advantage to 31-9 with a decision at 182 and fall at 195.
Warwick cashed forfeits to Austin Maguire (220), Tom Devenney (285) and Devin Schnupp (106), closing to 31-27 and Josh Charles' tech fall over Victor Kenderdine at 113 pushed Warwick into the lead -- 32-31 -- with two bouts to go.
But the Warriors' aspirations of victory were dashed when David Graves corkscrewed Marcus Tout to a 4:44 fall at 120 and the Streaks' Cortlandt Schuyler closed the festivities with a forfeit victory at 126.