The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men gang aft agley.
That line of prose from Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, holds as much truth today as it did when he composed it 236 years ago.
Especially for Manheim Township's wrestling team.
Thought to be, on paper, a prime contender for the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One title, and perhaps titles beyond before the season began, the Blue Streaks saw those dreams burn up like paper in fire — to quote a more recent poet, John Mellencamp.
Taking the mat in a season-opening home quad meet, the Streaks went 0-3, with five potential starters out of the lineup — including, stunningly, returning league runner-up Cade Clancy, a senior who has elected to end his scholastic career.
While Township coach John Clark hopes Clancy might reconsider his retirement, the calendar weighs against that, as Jan. 15 is the cutoff date to establish an Optimal Performance Calculator (OPC) base weight.
Playing the cards in their hand, the Streaks fell to Dallastown 43-18, to Exeter 43-27 and, in a section match, to Cocalico 36-33.
As predicted, the light end of the lineup performed well, going 13-2 with six falls, a tech, a major and a pair of grind-it-out shutout wins.
Elsewhere on the first weekend
Cocalico finished 1-2, losing 44-18 to Exeter and 38-24 to Dallastown, the Wildcats rallying from 24-20 down with four bouts to go.
Hempfield took a pair of victories in its tri-meet with Muncy and Solanco. Eye-opening it its 56-12 win over the Golden Mules was freshman Seamus Mack's 3-2 win over Weston Bare at 113, and eye-popping was the Black Knights' Reagan Lefevre teching-out Ronnie Fulton, 17-2, at 145. Both were returning league champions, Lefevre at 132 and Fulton at 138.
Manheim Central and Lower Dauphin have engaged in many a memorable match over the years, and Saturday was no different as the Barons prevailed 33-31, sophomore Brett Barbush's fall at 189 sealing the victory.
Conestoga Valley hosted a non-scoring individual tournament and placed seven wrestlers in the finals, with Trent Ruble (106) and Jonathan Lopez (215) placing first.
In that tournament, Garden Spot crowned four champions: Mason Casey (126), Garrett Gehr (138), Aaron Martin (152) — scoring falls in all three of his victories — and Dustin Swanson (285).
In a Section One league dual, Penn Manor topped Warwick 36-33 on Jael Cruz's forfeit victory in the final bout of the day, at 285. And Elizabethtown posted a 48-18 nonleague victory over Palmyra.
• Dave Byrne is an LNP correspondent who covers L-L League wrestling. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @dbyrneman.