Devoted Dallastown High wrestlers aim high in 2021-22; plus Monday mat results

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Dallastown's Owen Bricker drives Red Lion's Tyler Bootier in the 138-pound match at Dallastown Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. Bootier won the bout 8-2. Bill Kalina photo

DALLASTOWN — Dave Gable has seen and been through a lot over his time as Dallastown’s varsity wrestling head coach.

So when Gable said that this year’s Wildcats are perhaps the most devoted team he has ever coached, that’s saying a lot.

“There were all very devoted to the offseason,” Gable said. “Very few of them missed any days from last March until now. So, yeah, I feel like this is a very responsible group.”

The hope for everyone in the program is that their collective dedication will pay off in the end. Dallastown’s reign atop the York-Adams Division I standings was upended a season ago by a Spring Grove program that figures to be right there among the best in D-I this time around as well.

“That’s the goal,” Wildcat senior Zach Luckenbaugh said. “Win the (division) is the big one.”

Dallastown got off to a good start on that path Monday when they downed Red Lion, 43-16. The Lions figured to give Gable’s side a run for its money, especially after placing third behind the second-place Wildcats this past weekend at the Solanco Tournament.

“They have a very solid team,” Gable said about the Lions. “They were right behind us and (first-place) Central Dauphin this past weekend out of 24 teams (at Solanco). So they have a very solid team, but tonight things worked out for us.”

No pandemic woes this season: More clarity should be realized over the next month before the Wildcats and Rockets square off in mid-January. Unlike a year ago, when the pandemic pushed back the start of the season into the new year, Gable’s crew won’t be lacking for experience by the time its showdown with Spring Grove comes around.

“We wrestled Friday, Saturday, Monday and then again Thursday,” Gable said of his team’s opening-week slate. “Then Friday we head to Altoona for a 50-team tournament. We’re there until Saturday, and then next Monday we’re back to wrestle Dover. Last year we didn’t get to wrestle anyone until January. And we didn’t even get to fully practice until January because we started off and then got it shut down.”

Gable back as head coach, despite some doubts: The devotion of this year’s crew certainly affirmed Gable’s decision to return as head coach. With his son, Brooks, now at the Air Force Academy, there was some concern in the Dallastown wrestling community that Gable may step down after Brooks’ final high school season.

“I was surprised,” said Luckenbaugh, who finished fourth at the District 3 Class 3-A meet as a junior. “I thought he was going to leave, but he stuck with the team.”

Truth be told, Gable, who earned his 300th career victory a year ago, didn’t really give too much consideration to stepping down.

“I thought about it,” Gable said. “But I enjoy this part of my life too much. Coaching is a hobby that I enjoy. And I have a really good staff around me so that if something came up and there was a conflict where I would have to miss a day that I have some really good people around that I could go watch Brooks.”

Trusting his seniors: Not only does Gable trust and believe in his assistant coaches, he also trusts his seniors to be good stewards for the program, too.

“I have really good senior leadership,” Gable said. “They all seem to enjoy being around each other and I think that’s what makes this fun to coach.”

Part of Gable’s desires for this year is to help more of his wrestlers take that next step toward their biggest individual goals. That list includes Luckenbaugh and Ashton Deller, who both missed out on qualifying for the state draw last year as fourth-place district finishers.

In a normal year, every semifinalist in the District 3 3-A bracket would earn a berth into the PIAA draw. With the pandemic causing things to be condensed, however, only the top-three finishers qualified last year.

“That motivates me to work even harder,” Luckenbaugh said on barely missing out a year ago. “I want to try to win districts, or at least get up higher in the placing.”

Fully aware of what happened, Gable hasn’t had to drive home that disappointment to either Deller or Luckenbaugh.

Memories can sometimes serve as stronger motivators than words.

“You don’t have to remind good kids of that thing,” Gable said. “They know what they wanted, that they fell short and they both use it the right kind of way to motivate themselves.”

OTHER WRESTLING

Central York 37, South Western 36: At Hanover, the Panthers prevailed in a tightly contested York-Adams Division I opener. Carter Davis’ 51-second pin at 145 clinched the victory for Central. Macon Myers (160), Ian Scully (285), Harris Keares (106) and Michael Sandacz (120) also had Central pins. Robbie Sterner (172), Owen Reed (189), James Bonczewski (113), Wyatt Hale (132) and Gavin Leitzel (152) had South Western pins.

Spring Grove 53, New Oxford 15: At Spring Grove, the Rockets opened their York-Adams Division I season with an impressive victory. Spring Grove received pins from Ivan Vega (132), Bryce Weaver (138), Jarod Baker (145), Caleb Bowlin (160), Teague Conover (189), Logan Herbst (215) and Michael Hershey (285). For the Colonials, Cameran Herring (152) won by pin. Both teams are now 2-2 overall.

York Suburban 63, Kennard-Dale 6: At Fawn Grove, the Trojans (4-2 overall) picked up pins from Justin Adams (106), Zachary Emory (132), Brayden Gentzyel (138), Noah Rice (152), Dakota Shue (160), Jamal Lewis (172) and Collin Boldt (215) in the York-Adams Division II opener for both teams. For the Rams, Julian Strawderman (145) picked up a pin. It was K-D's dual-meet opener.

Bermudian Springs 39, Littlestown 32: At York Springs, the Eagles won the season-opening York-Adams Division III battle of teams expected to contend for the title. Bermudian received pins from: Reece Daniels (120), Brennan Schisler (132), Evan Beshore (160) and Brennon Ault (189). For the Thunderbolts, Caden Rankin (138), Tanner Rock (172), Mitchell Feeser (215) and Connor Rankin (285) each picked up pins.

Gettysburg 78, Eastern York 0: At Gettysburg, the Warriors improved to 6-0, getting pins from Dalton Redden (138), Jaxon Townsend (145), Mason Rebert (152), Logan Newell (160), Jacob Cherry (172), Tyler Withers (189), Gabriel Pecaitis (120) and Wyatt Sokol (126). Eastern is 1-3. It was the York-Adams Division II opener for both teams.

Biglerville 50, York Tech 9: At Spry, the Canners moved to 4-2 overall behind pins from Brody Gardner (120), Devin Ponce (132), Brody Conrad (145), Daniel Sanchez (172) and Mason Keiper (285). Tech fell to 0-4. It was the York-Adams Division III opener for both teams.

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