MECHANICSBURG — As Cedar Cliff’s Donovon Ball stood up at the end of the second period tied 0-0 with Big Spring’s Blake Barrick, he signaled to the referee to cut Barrick.
The decision gave Barrick a point and started the two in neutral — exactly where Ball was most comfortable in the 182-pound match at the District 3 Class 3A Section III Individual Wrestling Tournament at Mechanicsburg High School on Saturday.
It took just 14 seconds for Ball’s decision to benefit him.
He got the takedown, edging Barrick — a runner-up at last year’s sectionals to Northern’s Jake Koser at 195 — 2-1 in the 182-pound final to get a title.
This is Ball’s first sectionals title after falling to Big Spring’s Britain Shields last season at 170.
“I know I’m the best on my feet and he’s a pretty big guy, so I didn’t think I was going to be able to turn him or anything,” Ball said. “Give me a full two minutes to take down and win the match and that’s where I’m best at. That’s where I feel most comfortable.”
Barrick’s bigger size had him wrestling at 195 for most of the season before he and his coach, Nate Gutshall, decided that he might be better suited at 182.
“I was only weighing in at 191 and 195 then 197,” Barrick admitted. “We had been kind of thinking about it for most of the season, maybe I’ll go down to  at the end. About two weeks ago we finally made the final decision. We said, ‘Let’s just do it, let’s have fun with it.’ It’s not far, it wasn’t a bad cut.”
Ball has some solid competition in a bracket that most might deem him the best in.
He wasn’t aware that Barrick had decided to move down to the weight — or that there was a possibility — until his coaches did some research.
“Honestly, I had no idea until Monday,” Ball said. “My coach said something because they can look on Trackwrestling and saw that he was eligible for . At first I thought he was kidding because he likes to make jokes about that, but once I realized he wasn’t I wasn’t that worried. He’s a great wrestler, a great competitor, and I just wanted to go out and wrestle.
“I just want to wrestle the best, I guess.”
The two may wrestle again at the District 3 Class 3A Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey, which begin Thursday.
“It’s disappointing, but at the same time it’s week to week,” Barrick said. “I’m going to be seeing him again maybe once, maybe two more times. It’s disappointing, but you gotta get it out of your mind now. Keep moving forward, keep getting better every week.”
“I think I was already confident going in, but this definitely helps, especially with [Barrick] dropping down from 195,” Ball said. “It’s definitely a confidence booster adding onto what I already have.
“It’s not over yet. Still got a lot of wrestling to do.”
Cedar Cliff ended the day No. 4 with 158.5 points, while Big Spring landed at No. 8 with 86.5 points.
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Cumberland Valley’s Cade Reichart has gome from sectionals champion in 2015-16, to runner-up in 2016-17, to another sectionals title in 2018.
The 126-pounder fell off the radar last year after a championship season his freshman year. This season, at 25-8, Reichart has climbed a long way back from a 15-12 finish last year.
“I’m trying to get back, and last year I was just too busy,” said Reichart, who didn’t expand further. “I’ve come a long way and I just wasn’t feeling good, so this year I’m just hoping to stay focused.”
Staying on the right track involved facing a familiar opponent at 126 pounds. Chambersburg’s Cole Grove dropped Reichart in a 10-2 major during the regular season’s duel meet between the Mid-Penn Commonwealth squads.
Reichart knew to prove he was back to form he needed to start with a win against Grove.
“I wrestled him twice before and he’s already beat me, and in the other matches he was mainly on top, so this time I knew I needed to keep it neutral,” Reichart said. “I just needed to stay off the bottom as much as I could.”
Reichart’s plan worked.
He quickly scored some takedown points just 18 seconds into the bout. Grove got the on the board in the second period with an escape, but moments later Reichart notched another takedown to make it 4-1.
A takedown from Grove in the final period put him within reach at 4-3, but a final escape point from Reichart sealed the win 5-3 for the title.
Cumberland Valley ended up at No. 1 in team scoring with 175 points.
Cedar Cliff’s Creed Bogardus (113), JJ Wilson (120) and Michael Cassidy (132) each took home a title, while Northern’s Paul Feite (138), Micah Hoffman (145) and Jake Koser (195) all finished with gold.
East Pennsboro’s Adam Jacob (106), West Perry’s Caden Morrison (160) and Shippensburg’s Cole Forrester (220) each notched a championship win.
For teams, Northern finished third with 159 points, Carlisle fifth with 116, Shippensburg sixth with 107.5, Red Land ninth with 84.5, East Pennsboro 10th with 60, Mechanicsburg 11th with 58.5 and West Perry 12th with 51.5.