York County will be the center of the District 3 Class 3-A wrestling universe this weekend.
That’s because, for the first time in 18 years, the district won’t hold a combined individual championship event for both Class 3-A and 2-A at one site. Last year’s individual district championships were held at the Hersheypark Arena, better known as the “Old Barn,” an aging and outdated facility built during the Great Depression.
That’s good news for local 3-A wrestling fans. The Spring Grove facility is considerably more modern than the “Old Barn,” not to mention a much easier drive for area spectators.
Even better, the county wrestling followers will get to witness the induction of former Spring Grove head coach Tony Miller into the District 3 Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Without question, Miller is one of the most respected leaders in the regional wrestling community. It’s a well-deserved honor, and it seems appropriate that it will take place at the school where he won so many matches. His induction ceremony is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Finally, there are a number of York-Adams League wrestlers who hope to make a gold rush and contend for championship medals this weekend in Papertown.
In fact, there are eight 2019 state qualifiers from the Y-A League who are back this season in an attempt to win district 3-A gold. Each of the eight is searching for his first district title, although several have come close in the past.
The top four finishers in each 3-A weight class this weekend will advance directly to the state championships March 5-7 at Hershey’s Giant Center.
Action at each district site starts at 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. The 2-A finals are scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, while the 3-A championship bouts are slated to start at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
Looking to move up one spot: Three Y-A wrestlers will look to move to the top spot on the championship podium after finishing second a season ago in 3-A.
Dover’s Mason Leiphart was the 106-pound runner-up in 2019 as a freshman, while Northeastern’s Cole Wilson (120) and Gettysburg’s Dylan Reinert (160) also took second as juniors.
Wilson and Reinert have been knocking at the district title door since their freshman seasons. Reinert has finished fourth, third and second in previous district meets, while Wilson has finished third, second and second.
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All three have bumped up a weight class this season. Leiphart (30-0) moved up to 113, Wilson (31-2) is at 126, and Reinert (42-2) is at 170. Wilson (Campbell) and Reinert (North Carolina State) have committed to wrestle for NCAA Division I programs.
The wrestler who knocked off Leiphart (64-5 in his career) in last year’s district final, Cedar Cliff’s Aiden Lewis (23-7), also moved up to 113, but he is coming off a second-place finish at sectionals last week. The other top contenders at 113 figure to be Cumberland Valley’s Ben Monn (34-2) and Manheim Township’s Aliazer Alicea (29-3). Monn is a two-time district champ.
Wilson (133-15 for his career), meanwhile, won’t have to contend with the wrestler who ruined his district hopes in each of the last three years. Manheim Central’s Will Betancourt (30-2) is still at 120. Betancourt is a three-time district champion. Central Dauphin’s Josh Miller (35-5) looks to be Wilson’s major threat at 126. Miller was a district runner-up last season, but Wilson beat him earlier this season, 16-8.
Reinert (156-20 for his career) is in a similar situation to Wilson. The wrestler who beat Reinert in last year’s district final, Lower Dauphin’s Clayton Ulrey (30-2), remained at 160. Ulrey, like Betancourt, is a three-time district champion. That doesn’t mean Reinert can waltz to the 170 title. McCaskey’s Andrew Vogelbacher (31-0) may be waiting in the final.
Other 3-A contenders: The other local 2019 state qualifiers on the hunt for 3-A district gold this week are: Gettysburg senior Luke Sainato (third at 145 in 2019, wrestling at 152 in 2020, 33-11), Susquehannock senior Colby Romjue (third at 152 in 2019, wrestling at 160 in 2020, 24-1), South Western senior Ethan Baney (third at 160 in 2019, wrestling at 152 in 2020, 26-4), Dallastown junior Brooks Gable (fourth at 138 in 2019, wrestling at 145 in 2020, 34-5) and Spring Grove junior Thomas Dressler (fourth at 145 in 2019, wrestling at 170 in 2020, 28-4).
One other local 3-A wrestler to keep an eye on is York Tech senior Jacob Sharp, who is 23-0 at 220. He and Leiphart are the only two Y-A wrestlers with unbeaten records.
Two returning champs in 2-A: While there are no returning district champs in 3-A from the Y-A League, there are two in 2-A.
Bermudian Springs’ Trenton Harder won the 152 crown in 2019, while Biglerville’s Levi Haines won at 106. Harder, a senior, will carry a 31-3 record into this year’s action and is back to defend his 152-pound crown. Haines, a sophomore, is up at 126 this season and is 22-2. Harder, an Army recruit, is 113-38 for his career, while Haines is 62-3. Haines finished second in the state last year as a freshman.
There are two local third-place finishers coming back in 2-A: Littlestown’s Connor Brown and Biglerville’s Blake Showers. Brown was at 106 last season, and Showers was at 120 in 2019. This year, Brown, a junior, is at 113 and is 24-4. Showers, a senior, is at 138 this season and is 30-4.
Unlike their 3-A counterparts, the district 2-A wrestlers will have to compete in regional action before advancing to the state event. The top seven finishers this weekend at C.D. East will qualify for the South East Regional at (Bethlehem) Freedom High School on Feb. 28-29. The top six finishers in each weight class at Freedom High will move on to the PIAA event.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
YORK-ADAMS DISTRICT 3 WRESTLING QUALIFIERS
106: Caden Dobbins, Dallastown; Jacob Fetrow, Gettysburg; Heath Smyser, Spring Grove; Brayden Gentzyel, York Suburban
113: Mason Leiphart, Dover; Ivan Vega, West York; Levi Snyder, Spring Grove; Zach Luckenbaugh, Dallastown
120: Andrew Christie, New Oxford; Tyler Withers, Gettysburg; Zach Emory, York Suburban; Tom Gradwell, Northeastern
126: Cole Wilson, Northeastern; Bryson Neidigh, York Suburban; Lance Beckner, New Oxford
132: Timothy Uhler, New Oxford; Mason Myers, Central York; William Smyser, Spring Grove; Dakota Grim, Dover
138: Mason Lewis, Dover; Noah Rice, York Suburban; Jacob Cherry, Gettysburg; Joseph Musti, Central York
145: Brooks Gable, Dallastown; Jared Townsend, Gettysburg; Brady Pitzer, Spring Grove; Blake Romjue, Susquehannock
152: Luke Sainato, Gettysburg; Ethan Baney, South Western; Sam Druck, Dallastown; Brock Holloway, Red Lion
160: Colby Romjue, Susquehannock; Nathan Ridgley, Gettysburg; Cameron Stevens, South Western; Hunter Sweitzer, Dallastown
170: Dylan Reinert, Gettysburg; Thomas Dressler, Spring Grove; Owen Reed, South Western
182: Max Gourley, Gettysburg; Blake Feeney, Dallastown; Dylan Forbes, New Oxford; Seth Griffiths, Central York
195: Samuel Rodriguez, Gettysburg; Andrew Smith, Dallastown; Robert Utz, South Western; Camden Rice, Spring Grove
220: Jacob Sharp, York County Tech; Lucas Reed, Central York; Logan Herbst, Spring Grove; Nathan Hawkins, South Western
285: Nasier Spellman, York Suburban; Hunter Bisking, Dallastown; Tommy Morris, South Western; Trevor Gallagher, Gettysburg
106: Coby Johnston, Bermudian Springs; Brody Gardner, Biglerville
113: Connor Brown, Littlestown; Micheal Corbin, Hanover
120: Dominic Taylor, Hanover
126: Levi Haines, Biglerville; Brennan Schisler, Bermudian Springs
132: Ayden Dillon, Littlestown; Caleb Mantz, Bermudian Springs
138: Blake Showers, Biglerville
145: Malcolm Gerlach, Hanover
152: Trenton Harder, Bermudian Springs; Kaleb Crean, Eastern York
160: Tate Neiderer, Delone Catholic
170: Jhonathan Balek, Bermudian Springs
182: Hogan Swenski, Bermudian Springs; Isaac Buser Eastern York; Kyle Davis, Fairfield
195: Josh Keller, Bermudian Springs
220: Savauri Shelton, Bermudian Springs; Bronson Rineholt, Kennard-Dale; Jeremy Gebhart, Littlestown; Dakota Mongan, Fairfield
285: Jake Moyer, Fairfield; Nate Dandridge, Eastern York