SPRING GROVE — There's a point in every wrestling season when a team will have to endure a litany of injuries and illnesses.
All you can hope is that when it hits your team, it comes at a point in the season when it isn't too costly.
Spring Grove wasn't that fortunate.
The injury bug plagued the team right at the start of the District 3 Class 3-A team wrestling competition this week. Tuesday night, the Rockets were already shorthanded at 170 pounds to the point where they had to forfeit the bout at either 170 or 182 pounds.
Things went from bad to worse in the 48 hours between Tuesday's first round and quarterfinal matches and Thursday's consolation contest vs. Big Spring. The Rockets were dealt more blows to their lineup Thursday, with starters Wyatt Becker and Nate Young scratched. With a number of holes at the upper weights, the Bulldogs took advantage and eliminated the third-seeded Rockets from the team competition with a 42-28 win at Spring Grove High School.
"We never figure that we can't win because there's other guys who have been waiting in the wings for a while," Spring Grove head coach Tony Miller said. "The other part about it is that (Big Spring) is very, very good out there and that was the strength of their team."
Turning point: With action starting at 126 pounds, the Rockets (15-4) would need to be within about 12 points of the Bulldogs (13-5) by the time the match wrapped back around to the lighter weights to have a realistic shot at winning. Instead, those bouts didn't even matter.
Trent Baker put Spring Grove on top 15-12 with a 6-4 decision at 160 pounds, but then the match took a turn. After that bout, No. 7 Big Spring rattled off five consecutive pins against the depleted Rockets, erasing the small deficit and building a sizable lead before ultimately putting away the match after the 285-pound bout with a 42-15 edge and only three bouts left.
"We had five or six guys that really could've helped us that couldn't wrestle because of injury or other circumstances," junior Dalton Rohrbaugh said. "It just sucks to have everything fall apart right now."
Rohrbaugh collects No. 100: Spring Grove finished strong, with Chase Bricker scoring a pin at 106 and Sam Meyer earning a 13-8 victory at 113. Then, the highlight of the evening for the Rockets occurred to finish out the match when Rohrbaugh earned a major decision at 120 to earn the 100th victory of his career. The PIAA Class 3-A state bronze medalist at 106 from last season is now 100-10 in his career.
After he won, both teams and both sets of fans stood and saluted his accomplishment. His mom had passed out "100" signs before the match and all the Spring Grove fans held them up as he was recognized.
"It's great to have everyone here supporting me, but in the long run, it's just a number," Rohrbaugh said. "There's a lot more I want to do this year. I can't let this be the high point of my year."
Back and forth start: The match started in good fashion for the Rockets, earning a forfeit at 126. The Bulldogs erased the deficit with a pin at 132, which was followed by a Jake Meyer victory for Spring Grove at 138 to put it back in front. Another pin at 145 by Big Spring and a decision by Anthony Hinson at 152 had the match level at 12-12 before Baker scored his narrow win to put the Rockets in front for the final time before things went south.
Even though the team tournament didn't live up to Spring Grove's expectations, Miller is pleased with how his team competed all year long.
"We've been really thin as a small team throughout the season," he said. "So, these guys have stepped up for each other and I'm proud of them. I'm proud to be their coach, proud of what they did. Obviously, we liked to continue to go, but that's not the way it works and it wasn't due to effort. That's for sure."
The Rockets have one more dual match against West York next week before the wrestlers compete in the individual portion of the postseason.
Eastern York 72, Columbia 0: At Wrightsville, the Golden Knights were beneficiaries of seven forfeits by Columbia. Thomas Dosch (120), Nathan Robbins (138), Troy Staats (152) and Drake Brown (220) scored pins for Eastern.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com