SPRING GROVE — There was a tough and balanced Dallastown lineup to contend with. There were disappointments to rebound from. And there was a double-digit deficit that put bonus-point pressure on the closing run of wrestlers.
There was nothing easy about Cedar Cliff’s assignment in Thursday’s semifinal round at the District 3 Class 3A Wrestling Team Championships at Spring Grove High School, but the toughest part may have come after the wrestling was done.
With the match tied 35-35 after Michael Cassidy’s victory at 145, the Colts and the Wildcats were forced to endure a delay while the officials determined who won. They eventually reached all the way to Criteria H, most first points scored — and that’s what ended the wait and gave Cedar Cliff a 36-35 victory that earned it a berth in the title match for the second consecutive season.
The No. 4 Colts will face No. 11 Cumberland Valley, a winner over Spring Grove in the other semifinal, in Saturday’s Class 3A championship match at Milton Hershey School’s Spartan Center.
“We’ve got guys out of the lineup, we’ve been hurt all year,” Cedar Cliff coach Rob Rapsey said. “I’m so proud of these guys I can’t even tell you.”
Cassidy was the closer, but there were a handful of big moments for the Colts during the match, which started at 152.
One came at 195, when Hunter Nelson emerged from a swing bout — and the sudden victory period — with a big six points for the Colts. His overtime pin against Andrew Smith allowed the Colts to stay within striking distance for the match’s first half, during which Dallastown built a 23-10 lead.
“It was absolutely awesome,” Nelson said. “I love being there for my team and pulling through.”
That left things up to the Colts’ lower and middle weights, and they delivered.
Aiden Lewis (106), Cole Baer (113) and JJ Wilson (120) all won by fall, and Christian Prestil’s major at 126 gave Cedar Cliff a 32-23 lead.
Dallastown regained the advantage with back-to-back pins by Brooks Gable (132) and Dalton Daugherty (138), making it 35-32 and forcing Cassidy to wrestle for a win in order to keep the Colts alive. He did just that, registering the ultimately very important first takedown on his way to a 9-7 win over Sam Druck.
“I didn’t know, I just came out and wrestled,” Cassidy. “That’s always what we do. We want to wrestle six minutes strong. Strong and hard.”
Eagles await in final
Cumberland Valley was prepared for drama in its semifinal match with Spring Grove. A handful of Eagles took it upon themselves to lessen the anxiety level a little.
The Eagles earned their spot in the district final with a 36-32 victory over the No. 2 Rockets, springing to a lead through three bouts and never trailing after that. Five CV wrestlers won by fall, and victories in a couple of swing bouts closed the deal for the Eagles.
The win sends CV to the championship match for the 16th time in program history, a District 3 record.
“It’s exciting,” CV coach Dave Heckard said. “Where our guys started, and where we’re at now, I’m so happy for them. We’re going to go out Saturday and give it a shot and see what happens.”
Starting at 152, CV got the upper hand with a match-opening fall from Cole McCoy and a pin from Jake Lucas at 170.
Things really swung in the Eagles’ favor at the top, though, as Lukas Wandling delivered a fall at 195 and Austin Kupko registered a win in a swing bout at 220.
Kupko’s win gave the Eagles a 21-11 advantage, and they opened it up to 33-14 after Ruston Dzielak and Ben Monn both won by fall.
That cushion allowed CV to manage against the Rockets’ strengths, and Russell Zimmerman ultimately delivered a 5-2 victory over Thomas Dressler at 138 to clinch the match.