ELIZABETHVILLE — Boiling Springs was pleased with the result of its opening match in the district team tournament. The Bubblers were less happy about how it came about.
Motivated by that solid but imperfect first-round 41-25 win over Hamburg, Boiling Springs used the short break before its semifinal match to reenergize and refocus — and then the Bubblers went out and proved they were indeed capable of a lot more.
Powered by a strong run through the middle weights, the No. 5 Bubblers (11-0) won the night’s final six bouts to roll to a 45-20 victory over Upper Dauphin in the District 3 Class 2A Wrestling Team Championship semifinals Wednesday at Upper Dauphin High School.
The victory returns the Bubblers to Saturday’s district championship match, a spot they were denied last year when they dropped a first-round match to Bishop McDevitt at the same Upper Dauphin site. This time they will face the second-seeded Crusaders (16-1) at Milton Hershey’s Spartan Center with gold on the line.
“We didn’t wrestle our best in the Hamburg match, and our coaches gave us a talking-to,” Boiling Springs senior Zach Martin said. “After that, a light just switched on and we just went after it. We wanted to win, and we want to go for another title.”
Martin was one of the Bubblers’ six reliables through the middle, a run from 132 to 170 that produced an 11-1 record and 23 bonus points through the first two matches.
They closed the semifinal match with a bang, even if their teammates ensured that not all of those points would be necessary.
The Bubblers had things turn their way early against Upper Dauphin, as Colby Tennyson claimed a decision in a swing bout against Mason Wiest to open the match at 182.
Then a roll of the dice by the top-ranked Trojans (14-1) didn’t pay off as well as UD hoped. They elected to forfeit to Boiling Springs’ Austin Taylor at 220 and bump Donny Gelnett to face Damon James at 285, but the result was only a decision win.
“At 182, that kid knocked [Tennyson] out and sent him home from districts last year,” Boiling Springs coach Rodney Wright said. “We were beating him and he pinned us. That was a huge match right there. We needed to win two of those upper four, and we did it, and we actually came out one point ahead of them there.”
From there, the Bubblers managed against the Trojans’ hammers, mixing in a win by fall from Andrew Stafford at 113. After Collin Nester held UD’s Bronson Garber to a hard-fought 4-3 win at 126, the Trojans held a 20-15 lead.
That margin wouldn’t be near enough, as the run of Jack Coulston (132), Lucas Shoop (138), Kollin Myers (145), Kaiden Karper (152), Martin (160) and Nick Kostyak (170) put on a dominant showing to close out the match, with the closest result of the six a 17-5 major.
“As upperclassmen, I feel like it’s our responsibility to get the train going and start winning matches,” Martin said. “We were going out there to rack up points and take this match.”
The Hamburg match had followed a similar track, with the Bubblers going on a late four-match run that wiped out a 26-22 deficit and gave them a 41-25 victory.
Boiling Springs and McDevitt square off in Milton Hershey’s Spartan Center at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.