Spring Grove defeated South Western, 43-18, during the Rockets' annual 'Take Down Cancer' match. Head coach Tony Miller discussed the team's victory and participation in the event afterwards. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
The Spring Grove High School wrestling team is trying to reach new heights.
One of the the places they’re trying to get to is the PIAA state team tournament. With the Rockets' last appearance in the event coming in 2013, it’s a place no one on the current roster has been.
On Thursday, Jan. 11, however, during a 43-18 victory against visiting South Western, the program reached new heights in an endeavor that will matter more in the long run.
Thursday’s match was the Rockets’ ninth-annual "Take Down Cancer" match.
Before the evening’s action on the mat, a check in the amount of $50,450 was donated to the Heather L. Baker Foundation. The money raised by the Rockets’ wrestling community, in a partnership with the Mustangs’ program, benefits families affected by cancer. That's largest amount raised in the nine-year history of the event.
Those funds were raised through numerous efforts including, but not limited to, selling raffle tickets, holding pancake breakfasts and running tournaments.
“The bigger picture, and that’s exactly what we tell our kids; tonight is a wrestling match at the end of the day, but it’s a much bigger picture,” Spring Grove head coach Tony Miller said. “There’s so many different ways the kids have learned about life through being involved.”
Staying unbeaten: As for the action on the mat, the victory keeps the Rockets undefeated on the season, including a 3-0 mark in York-Adams Division I. The Rockets entered the night in second place in the latest District 3 Class 3-A team ratings.
One of the keys to the Rockets achieving their goals this season will be the ability of individual wrestlers to finish their matches, according to Miller.
That point of emphasis took the spotlight late in Thursday’s victory, with the Rockets clinging to a 25-18 lead with only three matches remaining.
Strong finish: Spring Grove rattled off three consecutive first-period pins to put the match away, starting with freshman Thomas Dressler’s pin of Chance Eshleman with 32 seconds left in the first at 138. Brady Pitzer then pinned Cameron Stevens at 145 with 36.9 ticks left and Chance Jackson gave the packed gym reason to roar with his pin of Chris Harris at 152 pounds with 31.8 seconds to go.
“We were better in a bunch of ways as far as (finishing) is concerned, but we took a step back in some others,” Miller said. “So it’s always a learning process. The kids will go back and look at their films and we’re going to talk to them at practice. At the end of the day, we’re almost a month out now from sectionals, and that’s what we’re working toward, team success.”
In a match that started at 160, it was the Rockets who earned decisions in four of the first five bouts to race out to a 12-3 lead.
Key win by Flemmens: Highlighting that run was a hard-fought effort by sophomore Calvin Flemmens at 195. Flemmens trailed by a point to the Mustangs’ Logan Chase after the first and second periods at 3-2 and 4-3, respectively.
A huge third-period turnaround by Flemmens, however, resulted in him hitting "a stab" late on Chase to earn two crucial points with seconds remaining, resulting in a 7-5 decision. That victory put the Rockets ahead 9-3 and got the momentum rolling for Spring Grove.
“A little stab,” Flemmens said of his late move that earned him the decisive points. “Just keep on wrestling and keeping our heads up no matter what it was,” he added.
A victory at 220 pounds by Camden Rice earned the Rockets that aforementioned 12-3 lead. After earning a forfeit win at 285, the Rockets gave back 12 quick points due to forfeits at 106 and 113, and the match was suddenly tight again at 18-15.
South Western’s Logan Wolf made it even tighter by knotting the score at 18-18 with a 10-8 decision over C.J. Styk. Victories from Chase Bricker at 126 and Dalton Rohrbaugh at 132 followed, setting up the Rockets’ pin-filled finish.
Kennard-Dale 40, Susquehannock 39: At Glen Rock, K-D's Tanner Harkins got a first-period pin in the 285-pound match to give the Rams the wild, high-scoring victory. K-D also got pins from Aiden Stewart (113), Daemon Davis (126), Sam Stewart (132), Jacob Rose (152) and Wade Rose (160). Susquehannock got pins from Ben Sweigard (120), Eric Younkin (138), Luke Ohmann (195) and Alex Smith (220). Both teams entered the York-Adams Division II match at 7-2 overall.
Red Lion 50, Northeastern 27: At Manchester, the Lions got pins from Cole Joines (195) and Brandon Reichard (285). Northeastern got pins from Cole Wilson (113), Jordan Vogel (170) and Tom Gradwell (106). Northeastern was hurt by five forfeits.
Delone Catholic 42, York Tech 34: At Spry, the Squires received pins from Tate Neiderer (132) and Andrew Knoblock (138) to help secure the road victory. For the Spartans, Mason Rinehart (126), James Wilmot (182) and Jacob Sharp (220) each picked up pins.
Gettysburg 69, Eastern York 5: At Wrightsville, Jahshim Snyder had a technical fall at 195 for the Golden Knights' only points.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.