WRIGHTSVILLE -- Brian Gentzyel sounds as if he's making progress in trying to turn around the York Suburban wrestling program.
He spent a number of years building up the Trojans' elementary program before taking over the varsity gig last season. And serving as a middle school teacher in the district, he's continuing his attempts to get students interested in bringing their talents to the mat.
Now, it's just a matter of getting his varsity club to take the next step by winning close bouts, an area the Trojans had trouble with Thursday night at Eastern York. The host Golden Knights came out on top, 48-27, in a York-Adams League Division II match that saw Eastern blow a 21-point lead before bouncing back down the stretch.
"I thought that we would make it very competitive tonight," Gentzyel said. "I thought we had a good shot at winning tonight. A couple of the close matches did not go our way."
Senior Austin Kling (182 pounds) gave the Trojans (0-1) their only lead, 6-0, when he kicked off the night by pinning Eastern junior Bryce McKinsley in one minute. The Knights (2-0) answered by taking the next five bouts to open up a 27-6 advantage. All five of those were won by pins, except the 220-pound bout, which paired talented grapplers Camden Stoops (Eastern) and Ch'aim Smith (Suburban).
Of seven returning starters to the Trojans' lineup, Smith was the only grappler with a plus-.500 individual record last year. Stoops, meanwhile, took fourth place at 195 pounds in the District 3 Class AA tourney last season.
In overtime, Stoops dragged Smith off his feet for a takedown to win the bout, 3-1.
The fortunes finally started turning in Suburban's favor when freshman Dustin Knaub pinned Eastern sophomore Mason McLasky in 22 seconds in the 120-pound bout. The Trojans then rallied off wins in the next three bouts to tie the match 27-27, capped when senior Andrew Toman (138) pinned Eastern sophomore Damian McKinsley in 2:41.
But Eastern coach Dan Garner, who brings back just four starters from a club that went 6-2 in Division II last season, suspected he would have trouble with his middle weights. He had to forfeit the 126-pound bout.
"We just have a hole there that's always going to be somewhere down below," Garner said. "We bump around a little bit but there's always going to be one spot (we forfeit)."
Despite blowing the 21-point lead, the Knights finished up strong by taking the final four bouts, with Michael Dumczyk (145), Chance Hawkins (152) and Lucas Barshinger (160) winning with pins before their teammate, Abram Sowers (170), won the final bout in overtime, 7-5, over Suburban first-year starter A.J. Maday.
"There are points we left on the board," Gentzyel said. "At 220 (pounds), heavyweight, 170 (pounds). If they all go our way, we win."
Alex Cooley (195), Lee Dice (heavyweight), Johnny Vidal (106) and Baren Leischner (113) also had pins for Eastern.
SPRING GROVE 80, SUSQUEHANNOCK 0: At Glen Rock, the Rockets had little trouble disposing of the Warriors. Mike Hartman (138), Tyler Miller (152), Austin Barley (160), Jonathan Gross (170), Tyler Beckner (195), Mike Lentz (heavyweight) and Zack Clingan (120) had pins for Spring Grove. Hartman, Gross, Beckner and Clingan each had first-period pins.
DALLASTOWN 56, KENNARD-DALE 23: At Dallastown, the Wildcats combined five pins with a technical fall and three forfeits to defeat the Rams. Andrew Pierce, Tanner Druck, Luke Baldwin, Cooper Deller and Kris Phennicie recorded the pins, and Zaire Lawrence delivered the technical fall. Dallas Moffit, Pat Scarborough and Mike Bracey scored pins for Kennard-Dale, and Chance Marsteller earned a technical fall.
YORK TECH 45, DELONE CATHOLIC 29: At McSherrystown, Tech's Cameron Stewart and Dylan Hartlaub won the final two bouts to secure the victory for the Spartans. Stewart scored a pin at 160 and Hartlaub earned a decision at 170. Ryan Knisley, Tyler Martin, Gary Hake and Devin Sweitzer also recorded falls for Tech, and the Spartans picked up two forfeits. Joe Post, Antonia Ugarte and Lucas Shull registered pins for the Squires.
WEST YORK 38, NORTHEASTERN 29: At Manchester, the Narber brothers, Kyle and Ryan, along with Noah Townsley, recorded pins for West York. Anthony Leese and Draven Amspacher scored falls for Northeastern. Jeb Payne won by technical fall for the Bobcats. The Bulldogs won eight of the 14 bouts in the hotly contested match.
DOVER 48, CENTRAL 10: At Central, Shaheed Mitchell, Cameron Beckman and Brandon Rodriguez scored pins for Dover in the York-Adams Division I match. Ross Drawbaugh also helped the Eagles' cause with a technical fall.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.