Looking ahead to a York-Adams wrestling season full of uncertainties

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Dover's Mason Leiphart, seen here at right in a file photo, is coming off a third-place state finish in the Class 3-A in 2021.

There aren’t many sure things when it comes to the 2021-2022 York-Adams League wrestling season.

Who will win Division I?

How many state champions will the Y-A produce?

Who will be the biggest surprises for the upcoming season?

The answers to those questions are anyone’s guess.

We'll start to get the answers when the season begins this weekend.

A year after Spring Grove captured the York-Adams Division I championship for the first time since 2018, the Rockets will have to contend with a bevy of rivals, including Dallastown, Central York and South Western, among others.

Last year, Spring Grove regained the crown with a pulsating 27-26 showdown victory over Dallastown in late January.

Spring Grove returns a pair of successful performers from a season ago in sectional winners Braxton Rice (15-6 at 113) and Ivan Vega (19-4 at 126).

Dallastown's Caden Dobbins is one of the top returning wrestlers in the York-Adams League.

The Wildcats may no longer have state medalist Brooks Gable, who is now at the Air Force Academy, but Dallastown does return a trio of standouts in Ashton Deller (21-6 at 132), Zach Luckenbaugh (21-5 at 120) and Caden Dobbins (22-5 at 138). Dobbins placed second at districts, while Deller and Luckenbaugh each finished fourth.

Central York returns Jeremiah Smith, who won a sectional title last year en route to a 17-7 record as a junior at 152.

State contenders: In terms of possible future state champions, that question is murky, at best.

The league would have likely had at least one state favorite in Biglerville senior Levi Haines, who won the PIAA Class 2-A state title at 145 pounds as a junior after two runner-up finishes the previous two years. Haines, however, has decided to skip his senior season to train and prepare for his college career at Penn State.

Without Haines in the fold, there still are a handful of local wrestlers to keep an eye on.

Dover senior Mason Leiphart finished second at the District 3 tournament for a third year in a row. He capped his junior campaign with a bronze medal at 120 pounds at the state meet for a 26-3 record. His overall record of 93-11 leaves him seven victories shy of 100 for his career.

Brennan Schisler of Bermudian Springs seems poised for taking the next step. The senior finished his junior season at 21-6 while earning a berth into the PIAA 2-A draw at 132 pounds.

Jacob Cherry, a rising senior at Gettysburg, also made it to the PIAA 3-A event as junior. Cherry topped off his 27-7 season at 160 pounds with a third-place finish at districts.

Gettysburg's Jacob Cherry, right, is expected to be one of the top wrestlers in the York-Adams Legue this season.

Gettysburg’s final run: While some things are uncertain, one certainty is that this will be the final season in the league for a Gettysburg program that has become one of the top units in the state.

Before the Warriors, who finished second at the District 3 3-A team meet a year ago, move on to the Mid-Penn Conference in all sports in 2022-23, they will be prohibitive favorites to repeat as Division II champions. Gettysburg won each of its D-II matches last season by at least 40 points.

In addition to Cherry, Gettysburg also returns a sectional winner from last year in 285-pounder Trevor Gallagher, who has a 51-24 mark through his career.

York Suburban figures to be the top contender to knock off the Warriors in D-II. Senior Noah Rice was a sectional champ at 145 a season ago. Rice (13-5) has a 69-17 mark for his career with the Trojans. Bryson Neidigh also won a sectional title at 132 for Suburban and finished last season at 20-3. He is 64-23 for his career.

In D-III, Bermudian Springs will again be expected to rule the roost. The Eagles have won every D-III crown since 2015, when the Y-A League moved to a three-division alignment for wrestling. Bermudian won each of its D-III matches last season by double digits.

Notes: Gettysburg will be the first York-Adams program to field a girls’ team to compete this season. Gettysburg is one of 26 programs in the state so far to approve a girls’ wrestling squad. Gettysburg has 12 members on the roster right now.

Most wrestling fans will also be pleased to learn that the individual wrestling postseason will return to a more traditional format after the 2021 version was significantly condensed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or @ydsports. Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.