Spring Grove wrestlers earn big win, raise big money to fight cancer; other Monday results

Spring Grove's Jason Ruppert and Central York's Giovanni Silimperi, right, battle in their 113-pound match at Spring Grove Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Ruppert won with a pin. Spring Grove went on to win the match 40-28. Bill Kalina photo

SPRING GROVE – “Hold the rope” is a big motto for the Spring Grove High School wrestling program.

Monday evening, that motto was tested in more ways than one.

Hosting their annual Take Down Cancer contest, the Rockets were challenged by a game Central York outfit. With the visiting Panthers opening up a 10-point lead midway through the match, coach Tyke Conover’s club needed to keep true to their motto.

The Papertown boys did just that.

Back-to-back falls, starting at 172 by Brady Shaffer and followed by Teague Conover, erased the 10-point deficit to lift the Rockets into the lead.

Nursing a four-point advantage with two bouts remaining, the home team got a clutch fall at 113 from sophomore Jason Ruppert to clinch an eventual 40-28 triumph.

Ruppert’s victory capped a big night for the Rockets wrestling organization. The Spring Grove program announced that it raised more than $20,000 to help in the battle against cancer.

“We haven’t been able to do the big fundraiser like we normally do because of all the rules with COVID,” Tyke Conover said. “So, we just tried to pick up the pieces and do online raffles and stuff like that. We ran a golf tournament and things like that, so to raise $20,800 for local families is great. They’re obviously fighting the biggest fight of their lives and that’s why we instill in the kids to “hold the rope.”

The “hold the rope” motto means every person on the team has a job to do. Each one has to hold a piece of the rope to keep the team from slipping over the edge.

That motto definitely had dual purposes Monday. Tyke Conover was proud his program held the rope to pull in the resources for the Spring Grove community.

“It’s not just about winning or losing,” Tyke Conover said.

Rockets put to the test: The Rockets, however, did win on Monday, but the defending York-Adams Division I champions were put to the test. Ryan Wolfgram and Macon Myers broke a 12-12 deadlock with a fall and major decision to give the visitors a surprising 22-12 cushion at the midway point of the evening.

That momentum easily could have resulted in many teams losing a grip on the rope, but the Rockets remained steadfast. Shaffer’s second-period fall was big in helping Spring Grove regain some grip before Teague Conover’s 31-second fall brought a loud ovation from the hometown faithful.

Spring Grove expected a fight from Central: Tyke Conover, whose team is expected to be a top contender to repeat as division champion, wasn’t shocked to see the Panthers give his team a fight.

“I love when our league is competitive,” he said. “We had a great match last (Thursday) at Red Lion (a 43-26 win) and it was a great match tonight. Winning 60-0 or 60-6 or whatever isn’t really good for anybody, really, so it’s good when it’s competitive like this. Central has a great program and coaching staff and there are some really great kids over there, so I did expect it to be kind of where it was.”

Ruppert provides a big lift: Perhaps the highlight of the night was the effort by the sophomore Ruppert. Nursing an injury that kept him on the shelf for the past few weeks, Ruppert’s insertion into the lineup at 113 marked his first-ever varsity bout.

Suffice it to say, it is one he will remember forever.

Ruppert attempted a duck under against Central’s Giovanni Silimperi, but Silimperi was able to get a headlock counter. The two foes rolled around the mat for the first 20 seconds, with each one seemingly on the verge of gaining a takedown.

Ruppert, however, was able to power Silimperi down to the mat before securing the fall in just 32 seconds.

“I just used all of my strength and just turned him over,” said Ruppert, who won the junior varsity draw over the weekend at the Altoona Tournament. “That just felt awesome.”

“We are just kind of taking baby steps with him,” Tyke Conover said. “He’s been rehabbing and hasn’t practiced a whole lot, so tonight was his first varsity match ever. He’s a good kid and I’m happy for him.”

Spring Grove improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in D-I. Central fell to 1-1 overall and in the division.


York Suburban 49, Susquehannock 18: At Suburban, the Trojans received pins from Zach Emory (126), Bailey Miller (215) and Tyler Adams (120) to capture the York-Adams Division II victory. For the Warriors, Michael Fox (172) and Isaiah Durham (Hwt.) each picked up pins. Suburban improved to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the division. Susquehannock is 1-1 and 1-1.

Biglerville 54, Delone Catholic 18: At Biglerville, the Canners received pins from Daniel Sanchez (172), Levi Rebert (189), Mason Keiper (285) and Brody Gardner (113) to secure the York-Adams Division III victory. For the Squires, Domonic Giraffa (160) picked up a pin. Biglerville is now 6-2 overall and 2-0 in D-III. Delone is 2-3 and 1-1.

Columbia 36, Eastern York 33: At Wrightsville, Gabriel Yingst (138) led the Golden Knights individually by picking up a pin. Eastern York fell to 2-4 overall. Columbia is 2-3.

Bermudian Springs 34, Hanover 32: At Hanover, the Eagles got pins from Brennan Schisler (132), Chanse Boyer (152) and Jesiah Farley (215). Hanover got a pin from Joseph Wilkinson (160). Bermudian improved to 2-1 overall and in York-Adams Division III. Hanover is 1-4 and 0-2.

Gettysburg 72, Northeastern 6: At Manchester, the Warriors improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division II with the easy win. Gettysburg got pins from Wyatt Sokol (126), Christian Paul (132), Dalton Redden (138), Jaxon Townsend (145), Mason Rebert (152), Logan Newell (160), Jacob Cherry (172), Tyler Withers (189), Samuel Rodriguez (215), Trevor Gallagher (285) and Ethan Burgess (106). Northeastern (0-2 overall and in the division) got a pin from Elijah Hewitt (120).

Dallastown 51, Dover 14: At Dover, the Wildcats rolled to improve to 3-0 overall and in York-Adams Division I. Dover fell to 0-2 overall and in D-I. Michael Klinger (189) and Ben Usow (220) had Dallastown pins.


Central York 4, West Shore 2: At Twin Ponds, Logan Myers had a goal and two assists power Central York to the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Bears Division win. Parker Hsieh and Mason Steward each added a goal and an assist for Central. Anthony Woodard had Central’s other score. Kaleb Wyman provided two Central assists. Justin Meluzio made 13 saves to get the win in goal. Central improved to 8-1-0-1 on the season. West Shore is 4-6-0-1. Central was coming off its first regulation loss of the season on Friday to Hershey, 5-3.

Lower Dauphin 3, Dallastown 1: At Twin Ponds, Trae Schanberger’s power-play goal was Dallastown’s only goal in the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Bears Division game. Dallastown is 1-10-0-0. Lower Dauphin is 4-5-0-2.


York 54, Donegal 27: At Donegal, the Lady Bearcats rolled to the nonleague victory behind 15 points and 11 rebounds from Ciarra Gibbs. Zykira McGee (10 points, six rebounds, four steals) and Jayda Price (10 points) also excelled for York.  York (1-4) used a 16-2 second-quarter surge to get control of the game. Donegal fell to (0-5).

Kennard-Dale 37, Christian School of York 34: At CSY, Amanda Merrick scored 10 points to lead K-D (1-4) to the nonleague triumph. Linda Brown led CSY (4-1) with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Tirzah Miller added 10.


Manheim Central 46, Kennard-Dale 41: At Fawn Grove, Zach Orwig, Koy Swanson and Levi Sharnetzka each had 12 points in the nonleague loss for the Rams (1-4). Manheim Central is 2-2.

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