Seven returning champions were successful in pursuit of another title, Saturday at Hempfield High School in the District Three Class 3A Section Two wrestling tournament at Hempfield.
Central Dauphin — with returning champions Chris Wright and Andrew Wert joined by Mitchell Talbott atop the medals stand — claimed the team title with 208 points, 26.5 better than second-place Manheim Central.
Barons sophomore Will Betancourt won his second title, teching out Lampeter-Strasburg freshman Arik Harnish at 113, 16-0, in 3:22.
Joining Betancourt in the champions circle was junior Cade Zeamer, who won his first-ever sectional title with a 5-1 decision over CD’s Mitch Arch at 120 pounds.
“Last year didn’t go as I planned,” said Zeamer, who lost in the 2017 semis, then dropped two more matches.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll make it to Districts. Whatever.’ I didn’t realize I gotta make it to districts first.
“Small steps is what led me here, to the finals.”
Zeamer scored on takedowns in the first and second periods and added a stall point to bring it home.
Solanco’s AJ Wilson won his third career title, with a 4-0 decision of Penn Manor’s Nick Baker at 160.
The Golden Mules’ Ben Root defended his 170-pound title with an 8-2 verdict over Hershey’s Nyiem Flucas.
“It feels good to finish out,” said Wilson, who won as a freshman, missed his sophomore year with an injury, then came back to win as a junior.
“Freshman year, I came in under the radar, well, people knew who I was,” he allowed. “I knocked off a senior (Hempfield’s Aiden Miller), in triple overtime (4-1). I think that was my greatest (sectional) accomplishment.”
Root surrendered a second-period reversal before taking command with an escape, takedown and stall point, then shutting down Flucas the rest of the way.
Wrestling in his third finals, Warwick’s Evan Clark secured his second title with a 3-2 decision over CD’s Carter Urich.
“I won both by one point,” the Warrior senior shared. “Last year, against Hunter Harnish of Lower Dauphin, I beat him 4-3 with not much time left.”
This time Clark scored a sweet bearhug on Urich early in the third period, surrendered an escape and kept Urich at bay the final 1:11.
“He really liked going for that front headlock,” Clark said. “I thought one of these times I could sneak behind him and snag a bearhug. Thankfully, it was there.”
The title was there for Penn Manor freshman Tanner Stefanick, who put an abrupt end to a scorefest with Manheim Township’s Micah Sams.
Taking a 6-5 lead, Stefanick ran an armbar, transitioning to double bars, and secured the fall in 1:33.
Eight locals were denied in the finals, including Solanco’s Gray Charles, blanked by Lower Dauphin’s TT Elhajj, 4-0, at 138. It was Charles fourth career sectional silver medal.
Outscored 8-0 in the last 1:10, Warwick’s returning 285-pound champion Ryan Stewart fell to Lower Dauphin’s Kyler Wuestner, 16-6.
Manheim Central’s Keegan McCord — who won at 195 in 2017 while wresting for Donegal — was denied his title defense by CD’s Mitch Talbott, whose escape with 14 seconds left was the difference in a 3-2 defeat
Penn Manor’s Nick Fafel took CD’s nationally-ranked Chris Wright into the sixth minute of a scoreless 126-pound final.
Off a good single-leg shot — Fafel’s second of the match — Wright countered and scored the winning points in a 2-0 decision.
CD’s Andrew Wert majored Zack Zeamer, 10-2, at 132. Hempfield’s Christian Carr took second at 145 for the second straight year, majored 11-1 by LD’s Joey Stoak.
In their first finals appearances, McCaskey’s Joey Battle and Warwick’s Logan Boring placed second, both at the hands of Lower Dauphin wrestlers.
Returning champion Clayton Ulrey opened a 17-4 lead before pinning Battle at 4:11 at 152.
Brendan Shaffer, second last year, majored Boring, 12-4 at 182.
• In the Class 2A tournaments, at Hamburg and Central Dauphin East, 10 L-L wrestlers won sectional titles and 29 qualified for the District 3 2A championships.
At Hamburg, Pequea Valley's Tanner Ball (132), Connor Walsh (138), Gabe Miller (145), Joe Coblentz (220) and Nate Miller (285) each won title. Jace Beegle (106) placed second.
Elco's Trey Donmyer placed second at 160 while Christian Burdick (120), Carson Nell (152), Austin Sprenkle (170), Adam Firestine (182), Bobby Wlck (195) and Shannon Boustany (285) placed third.
At CD East, Northern Lebanon advanced 11 to Districts. Brandon Breidegan (106), Colin Leonard (126), Stevie Herb (152), Blaise Bressler (160) and Luis Negrerios (182) won championships.
Kyler Anspach (113), Brandan Madeira (195) and Kyle Sonnen (285) took second while Dustin Varvel (120), Nick Winters (138) and Ethan Herb (170) placed third.
Annville-Cleona's Hayden Funck placed second at 132 with Matt Inman (106), Zach Renninger (145) and Caleb Turner (182) taking third.
Lancaster Catholic's Jake Hank moved on with a third-place finish at 285. Columbia's Marcus Falcon placed third at 152.