HERSHEY — The crown was Bishop McDevitt’s to defend.
But in the District 3 Class 2A Team Wrestling final at Milton Hershey School on Saturday, Boiling Springs was there to snatch it back from the team that took the Bubblers out in the first round last season.
The match played out like one deserving of the stakes — a back-and-forth medley of nail-biting bouts. As the teams traded leads going into the 182-pound bout, Boiling Springs’ Nick Kostyak could help start to seal a win for the Bubblers.
Kostyak faced the Crusaders’ Cayetano Reyes, and the match started off quick. The pace allowed Kostyak to get his grip on Cayetano and notch multiple takedowns.
Kostyak’s rhythm tired Reyes enough that Kostyak was able to swoop in with a pin in 3:33. The win gave Boiling Springs a 34-24 lead with two bouts left, effectively putting the match out of reach barring a pair of surprising outcomes.
It set off a roar from Bubbletown’s side, a release of tension after a nerve-wracking match all the way up until the crucial pin.
And it was a relief for a program that hadn’t won on this stage since 2015. The Bubblers beat Northern Lebanon that year, then fell to the same team a year later.
“Two years ago, we came here, we got our butts kicked,” Kostyak said. “It was something we looked forward to overcoming. Everyone was full of nerves, I’m not gonna lie. Everyone was tired and nervous about what was going to happen, but as the match went on everything went our way and we got the W’s where we had to.”
Bishop McDevitt needed at least a pin and technical fall to win without going to criteria. Boiling Springs, however, was having none of it.
Colby Page notched a 3-2 decision against Dray Donley at 195 before a 220-pound forfeit win for Austin Taylor put the icing on the cake.
“When I found out it was Bishop McDevitt we were wrestling, that’s when I really got excited,” Bubblers head coach Rodney Wright said. “Them knocking us out [last season], I wanted to knock them out in the finals and ruin their two-time run. And that’s what we did.”
The match started at 285. The Bubblers and Bishop McDevitt fought tooth-and-nail to get to an 18-18 tie going into the 145-pound bout.
That set up Kollin Myers, a state championship contender. But he never got the chance; the ref raised his arm to signal a forfeit win to an eruption of boos sounded from the crowd.
Myers shook his head as he walked away, giving his team the lead with a forfeit win, 21-18. The Boiling Springs faithful wanted a fight at every bout, but Bishop McDevitt was going for stratgey.
At 160, Kaiden Karper battled it out with Elisha Cooksey to a 4-4 tie late in the third period, winding the clock down to the final seconds before notching a takedown and getting the 6-4 win. A 12-0 major from Zach Martin at 170 set up Kostyak to secure a win.
With the Bubblers up 28-24, Kostyak knew the lead he could hand his team. He made quick work of Reyes with the second-period fall.
“It was a good match, I got some points early on and I was pretty happy,” Kostyak said. “I tried to not do anything too risky to jeopardize the team or anything like that. I just took advantage of my position and got him to his back and stuck him.”
This Bubblers squad made history with their eighth District 3 team title. And considering the lengthy wait, by their recent standards, it was well worth it.
“It feels great — this is why we busted our butts off in the room every day,” Kostyak said. “This is what we came here to do. Last year we thought we should have won, and it didn’t go our way. But we came back here with the right mentality and the right mindset and everyone wrestled their butts off.
“We did what we had to do.”
And what they did was take down the defending kings of Class 2A.
The win also gives Boiling Springs a break until Thursday at 4 p.m. It gets a bye from the PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Team Championships pigtail rounds on Monday. The Bubblers will take advantage of a short break before facing the winner of District 6 runner-up Huntingdon and the District 10 third-place Greenville.
“Feels good, it feels really good,” Wright said.
“I know we have bigger things to move on to, but I just want to let all of this soak in.”