HEISER: York-Adams League stacked with wrestling talent in 189-pound class
The York-Adams League doesn’t have a season-ending individual wrestling tournament.
That’s too bad.
Because, if there was a league tournament, the 189-pound class would have the potential to showcase some of Pennsylvania's premier talent in head-to-head confrontations.
It could be quite a show. Some of the league’s best-known wrestlers have competed in that class at one point or another this season. It includes unbeaten wrestlers, 2020 state qualifiers and NCAA Division I recruits.
That list includes Dallastown’s Brooks Gable, Gettysburg’s Max Gourley and New Oxford’s Dylan Forbes. All three seniors boast at least 11 wins this season without suffering a loss. Gourley is 15-0, while Gable and Forbes are each 11-0. Each of those three was also a 2020 PIAA Class 3-A qualifier.
Gourley and Forbes each qualified for states in the 182-pound class in 2020 — a division that basically disappeared when the PIAA opted to reduce the number of weight classes from 14 to 13 for the 2021 season. So, seeing Gourley and Forbes bump up slightly to 189 this season is not surprising.
Gable, however, has made a dramatic move up in weight this season. In 2020, he won the District 3 3-A championship at 145 pounds.
The Air Force recruit, however, has proven more than capable of excelling at the higher weight. He already owns impressive wins over several area standouts, including Central Dauphin’s Timmy Smith (who is 11-2), Spring Grove’s Tommy Dressler (10-1), Penn Manor’s Colt Barley (6-1) and Hempfield’s Russ Hanes (10-4). Those four wrestlers have a combined record of 37-8, with four of their losses coming to Gable.
Dressler, a Lock Haven recruit and another returning 3-A state qualifier, would also be a serious threat at 189 if there was a league tournament. The senior is coming off an impressive 5-2 victory over Chambersburg’s Tate Nichter, who is 9-1 on the season and won a state sixth-place 3-A medal in 2019. Dressler would also probably love another shot at Gable after suffering a 3-2 loss to him on Jan. 21.
Gourley and Forbes, meanwhile, have been dominant in 2021. Gourley, who has committed to Virginia Military Institute, has 11 pins among his 15 victories, and his closest match was a 16-5 major decision. Forbes has eight pins among his 11 wins and his closest contest was 7-2 decision over Spring Grove’s Logan Herbst in a 215-pound bout on Jan. 28. Herbst is 8-2 on the season.
There’s the potential that Gable and Forbes could face off Thursday in a dual meet at New Oxford. Forbes and Gourley, meanwhile, could potentially meet Saturday in a duals tournament at Gettysburg.
And of course, all four could face off during the 3-A postseason — in sectionals, in districts, in the super regional and even in states, depending on which weight class they ultimately choose to compete in.
Another interesting note: Gable (93-48), Dressler (92-21), Forbes (86-41) and Gourley (82-25) all boast more than 80 career victories, and each could end their high school tenures with more than 100 wins.
Those four, however, are not the only talented York-Adams wrestlers who have wrestled at 189 at times this season.
Kennard-Dale junior Avery Cummings is 10-1, while Delone Catholic senior Tate Neiderer is 6-0. Cummings and Neiderer, however, have done the bulk of their wrestling this season at 172. Neiderer is a returning state 2-A qualifier.
Other wrestlers to watch: The Y-A League is certainly not lacking for other unbeaten wrestlers more than three weeks into the 2020 season.
Among those with at least 7-0 records are: York Suburban junior Bryson Neidigh (13-0 at 132), Central York freshman Elias Long (8-0 at 106), Dover junior Mason Leiphart (7-0 at 120), Biglerville junior Levi Haines (7-0 at 145) and Fairfield senior Jacob Moyer (7-0 at 285).
Bermudian Springs and Littlestown have seen limited action thus far, but both squads feature some standout wrestlers with 5-0 records. Senior Savauri Shelton (215), senior Hogan Swenski (285) and junior Jonah Martin (172) have shined for the Eagles, as have seniors Connor Brown (138) and Ayden Dillon (145) for the Thunderbolts.
Haines, considered by many to be the top pound-for-pound wrestler in the Y-A League, is a two-time state silver medalist in 2-A. Brown took an eighth-place 2-A medal in 2020, and Leiphart is a two-time 3-A state qualifier. Shelton, Dillon and Moyer also qualified for the 2-A state event last year.
The league’s other returning 3-A state qualifier (Dallastown junior Caden Dobbins) is also excelling this year at 10-1, with his only loss coming to Central Dauphin’s Josh Miller, a fifth-place state 3-A medalist in 2020.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com. Records for this story were provided by pa-wrestling.com.