LOWER ALLEN TWP. — The Cedar Cliff Colts joined a rare group of programs Tuesday night in the first round of the District 3 Class 3A Wrestling Team Championships.
At home in front of a crowd of Colts faithful, the program won it's 800th match in a win over Exeter Twp. in the first round 45-24.
"That's exciting for the program," Colts head coach Rob Rapsey said. "We have a very storied program going back to my coach, Bob Craig. To keep this thing rolling, to have more wins than any other team in District 3 since we became a school, that's a real testament to everybody from 1960 up until today that came through this program."
“It’s exciting for the program,” 182-pounder Donovon Ball said. “For Coach Rob, Coach Thad, everyone that’s been a part of this program, everyone still follows it, they still come to watch us — those guys that set the bar so long ago for the program. They still come back to watch us. We’re making them proud and they made us proud.
“It’s cool to make everyone happy. We have a quote down in our wrestling room, ‘Band of Brothers.’ Everyone that’s in the program, everyone that’s been with the program, we all have that bond.”
No. 4 Cedar Cliff (18-1) dropped three straight bouts to start the postseason opener, but rebounded strongly, winning nearly every weight class the rest of the way.
With history secured, the Colts tried to keep rolling minutes later against New Oxford, which defeated Garden Spot 39-25.
But it wasn't nearly as easy in the quarterfinals. Cedar Cliff squeezed out a 28-27 win, with the match coming down to the second last bout of the night.
Like Cedar Cliff had in the 6 p.m. match, it started off slow at 220 with Ezequil Torres falling to Brock Crawford 6-1. Anthony Shires, Aiden Lewis and Cole Baer each got wins in their bouts to put CC on top 10-3 before an Oxford win at 120 began a back-and-forth battle.
"There was a lot of good stuff I liked about our match and a lot of stuff [we'll] need to get better at," Rapsey said. "We're very young, so we'll get better, but you win while you're getting better. That's a good thing."
At 132, JJ Wilson kept up the Colts' push over a critical two-bout stretch.
Tied 3-3 for most of the match, Wilson pulled off an escape to win 4-3 and put CC ahead 19-6. Michael Cassidy (138) then defeated Jaleel Johnson to extend the advantage to 23-6.
But that's when the Colonials clawed back.
Three straight wins got New Oxford right back into the mix, down just 23-21. At 182, it all came down to what Ball did. A pin or technical fall would ice the match for the Colts.
Ball dominated the match to come out with the tech. A forfeit at 195 sealed the deal for the Colts, 28-27, and moved them into Thursday's semifinal.
"I wasn't nervous, just go out and have fun," Ball said.
Cedar Cliff will now face No. 9 Dallastown (15-3) at Spring Grove High School. The winner will face the winner of No. 2 Spring Grove vs. No. 11 Cumberland Valley in Saturday's district championship.