Happy New Year! It was quite a week for Lancaster-Lebanon League wrestlers, scattered in action across the commonwealth, as well as for L-L wrestling in general.
Two wrestlers, Hempfield’s Reagan LeFevre and Lancaster Catholic’s Eric Howe, recorded their 100th career victories. LeFevre joined the Century Club on Tuesday in the first round of the Hurricane Classic at Bethlehem Liberty High School. Howe followed on Thursday as the Crusaders went 4-1 at the Elco Duals.
As the season progresses, they will surely not be the last to join this select group.
Championships were up for grabs this week and L-L wrestlers grabbed their share.
Pequea Valley’s Liam McGinley got the ball rolling Monday, winning the 126-pound title at the Newport Holiday Tournament.
LeFevre and Northern Lebanon freshman Aaron Seidel were the best in their respective weight classes — 145 for LeFevre, 106 for Seidel — at the Hurricane Classic. Seidel’s title came at the expense of LAW partner Marco Tocci of Warwick, 1-0. Nico Tocci, who will join LeFevre at the Air Force Academy next year, dropped a one-point decision in the finals at 113.
At Governor Mifflin, Cocalico’s Jonathan Rathman won the 160-pound title. Elizabethtown’s Hayden Best (106) and Nathan Thomas (138) took silver medals.
At Conestoga Valley, the Buckskins’ Keaton Fischer won his first CV Classic title, at 145. Teammate Luke Morley (120), Penn Manor’s Travis Clawson (113) and Octorara’s Mike Trainor (152) all placed second.
It is said one’s reach should exceed one’s grasp, and Manheim Township reached all the way across the state to compete in the 65-team meat grinder that is the PowerAde Tournament.
The Blue Streaks finished tied for 41st in the team tabulation and picked up a lesson or two along the way. While no Blue Streaks wrestler reached podium contention — Josh Hillard at 126 and Kevin Olivarria at 172 were closest, eliminated in the fourth round of consolations — eight picked up at least one victory. Hillard, Olivarria, Louis Malave (106) and Kamden Williams (120) each won twice.
Some of the victories were pyrrhic, however, as Williams and Aliazer Alicea (138) each defaulted out of the tournament with injuries.
The league schedule diverts from its usual one-meet-a-week format this week, with action planned on both Tuesday and Thursday nights.
On Tuesday, McCaskey hosts Manheim Township in a matchup notable for being the first girls dual meet between area teams. Prior to the start of the boys varsity match, members of the McCaskey girls team, in its first full year as a sanctioned program, and girls currently rostered on the Township boys team will square off in the historic event.
According to McCaskey AD Jon Mitchell, “At this point, the dual will look like JV duals, with the teams matching up as many bouts as they can.”
Recently granted approval as a sanctioned sport by the Township School Board, the Township girls join McCaskey, Annville-Cleona and Penn Manor as active programs in the L-L, with Warwick coming aboard next year.
It’s also a big week for Ephrata, as the Mountaineers are scheduled to host Donegal on Tuesday and Manheim Central on Thursday.
In the topsy-turvy world of Section Two, the Mounts could stake their claim, or deny someone else’s.
• Correspondent Dave Byrne covers L-L wrestling for LNP. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @dbyrneman.