In the 25-year history of the Lancaster-Lebanon League wrestling championships there have been three team title races that were decided on the last match of the tournament.
In 1996, Warwick edged Elizabethtown by one half point, 191.5 to 191, when the Bears heavyweight won, but didn’t score bonus points.
In 2013 Manheim Township squeaked by Solanco, 199.5 to 198, when the Golden Mule heavyweight lost in overtime.
This year’s gathering at Garden Spot came down, once again to heavyweight as Northern Lebanon held a five-point lead on Manheim Central.
If the defending champion Barons’ Tyler Dougherty won, and scored bonus points — for a major decision, tech fall or fall — the title returned to Manheim.
Facing Lampeter-Strasburg’s Zach Shelley — who he defeated 9-3 on Monday — in the 285-pound final, Dougherty turned Shelley 49 seconds into the second period, secured the fall and the team title.
“Before the match,” Dougherty shared, “coach (Billy Chamberlain) came up to me and said, ‘I want you to wrestle your own match. But, just so you know, if you can get bonus points, you’ll win this thing for us.’ ”
“I told him, when you’re in the finals, it’s about you. Go out there and get your win,” Chamberlain said. “He went to work and went for it.”
Trailing Northern Lebanon by ten going into the finals, the Barons went for it as Dougherty was one of four Barons to win titles.
Will Betancourt swept the table, winning the 120-pound championship, his career third, the D. Kenneth Ober Outstanding Wrestler Award and the Floyd “Shorty” Hitchcock Most Fall/Least Time Award.
His finals fall over Northern Lebanon’s Brandon Breidegan, in 1:04, gave him four falls in the tournament in an aggregate 7:01.
After placing third as a sophomore and second last year, Cade Zeamer reached the peak with an 8-2 decision over Octorara’s Braeden Amole.
Keeping his attack from neutral low, Zeamer scored three takedowns to claim the title.
“I kept to the basics,” Zeamer said. “He’s a short, stocky kid, so I kept going for ankles and low singles.”
While most wrestles who repeat do so at a weight higher than the previous year, Keegan McCord won his second league title by dropping down.
After winning at 195 last year — in part because his natural weight class was blocked by Garret Fittery — McCord dropped to 182 this year.
He took the early lead on Penn Manor’s Nick Baker on a nice single-to-double leg shot, yielded an escape then traded escapes for a 3-2 win.
In addition to Betancourt and McCord two other returning champions repeated.
Northern Lebanon’s Colin Leonard defended his 126-pound title with an 8-4 win over Octorara’s Seth Hoopes.
Pequea Valley’s Gabe Miller won his third title, although not without an interesting moment.
Executing the elevator offense, Miller built a 14-6 lead on L-S’s Bradey Cunningham after one period.
Cunningham chose top to begin the second period and slapped a far cradle on Miller, taking him to his back.
“Well, he took top,” said Miller, “so I knew he had something coming, I just didn’t know exactly what. He just crashed down on my standup.
“The biggest thing was trying to keep my shoulder on top of his body, so the pin was out. Then, just trying to break his grip, peel fingers and kick.”
It took a long 15 seconds but Miller was able to reverse out, and into a pinning combination, eventually securing the fall at 3:23.
Other champions — all first-timeers — include Solanco’s Dominic Flatt, at 106, dominating Manheim Township’s Micah Sams, 8-1.
Annville-Cleona’s Matthew Inman topped Solanco’s Jackson Houghton, 6-3 at 113.
Ephrata’s Kayde Althouse edged Conestoga Valley’s Austin Rider, 2-1 at 138.
The Buckskins Josh MacNamara blanked Donegal’s Garrett Blake 6-0 at 160.
In an all-Lebanon final, at 170, the Vikings Ethan Herb majored Lebanon’s Dallin Ocasio 11-1.
At 195 Warwick’s Roland McClune grabbed his moment with both hands, defeating L-S’s Johnny Frankllin 5-3.
Scoring a 7-4 victory over L-S’s Tyler Phenegar three weeks ago, Garden Spot’s Dustin Swanson repeated the feat, this time 4-2, to win the title t 220.
Penn Manor’s Colt Barley won the 152-pound title in a walkover as Manheim Township’s David Over, suffering ill effects from a wild, 15-14 semifinal victory over CV’s Taylor Sheaffer, was unable to compete in the finals.