No. 2 seed Dallastown suffers quarterfinal loss; other District 3 3-A wrestling results

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Dallastown's Evan Baldwin grapples with Solanco's Justin McCauley in their 145-pound bout during a District 3 Class 3-A first-round match at Dallastown Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Baldwin won 8-4 and Dallastown went on to win the match 41-18. Bill Kalina photo

DALLASTOWN – There was a lot of talk going into the District 3 Class 3-A Team Wrestling Tournament that the eventual champion could be determined by the luck of the draw.

With perceived parity among the top six or eight teams, any number of factors could separate the winners from the losers.

That meant that the top-seeded teams in action during Tuesday’s first two rounds were no locks to advance to Thursday’s semifinals. That included York-Adams Division I champion Dallastown, which entered the draw as the No. 2 seed.

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After steamrolling to an impressive triumph in the first round on Tuesday over Solanco (41-18), the Wildcats knew they would have their hands full with No. 7 seed Cumberland Valley, a 39-33 first-round winner over Manheim Township.

Despite owning a regular-season 29-27 victory over the Eagles, it was not automatic that the rematch would end similarly on Dallastown’s home mat.

And it did not.

Leading throughout much of the contest, the Dallastown advantage was trimmed heading into the final two bouts. In the previous clash, CV’s regulars at 138 and 145 were injured, but Tuesday both Jaciah Whitcomb and Spencer Machemer were healthy.

Whitcomb earned a key 7-2 decision over Owen Bricker before Machemer pinned Evan Baldwin to give Cumberland Valley a 32-28 victory.

Dallastown (16-2) will now have to win two matches Thursday at Spring Grove to advance to Saturday’s third-place match and clinch a state berth. Dallastown’s first match Thursday is against Cocalico (10-6), which fell 41-17 against No. 3 seeded Central Dauphin in the quarterfinals. The Dallastown-Cocalico match will begin at 5 p.m.

“There is very little difference in this tournament,” Dallastown coach Dave Gable said. “You look at a No. 12 seed like Spring Grove and they are just a couple of points behind both (Dallastown and Cumberland Valley). Carlisle is tough and Hempfield is too. There is very little difference between the top teams in the field this year.”

With that said, most of the better seeds won their first-round clashes, with the exception of No. 8 Warwick, which fell to No. 9 York Suburban, 52-18, and No. 6 Wilson, which lost to No. 11 Cocalico, 34-32. Of the top four seeds in the bracket, only the Wildcats failed to advance to the semifinals.

“The numbers and the seeds are fairly irrelevant,” Gable said. “It’s just a match-to-match, night-to-night thing. Tonight was an exciting match for everyone and a good match for high school wrestling, but unfortunately someone has to lose. Cumberland Valley (15-4) won a couple of the close ones and got a few points at places they needed to, and they won.”

Key match: Gable is not one to point fingers at any particular wrestler, even if 20/20 hindsight can lead to discussions about a certain match being pivotal. That was certainly the case for the battle at 120, where Dallastown’s Damien Key squared off against CV’s Jake Mitchell.

After an exciting third period when Mitchell rallied to even the score at 3-3 heading into overtime, neither Mitchell nor Key earned a point in the first 30-second session.

Key was unable to earn an escape point from the down position during the first of two 30-second rideouts, but Mitchell did to claim a 4-3 victory.

“No one person has ever won us a match and no one person has ever lost us it,” Gable said. “It’s a team sport and it’ll never be any different than that.”

Season isn’t over: The good thing about the District 3 3-A draw is that a quarterfinal loss doesn’t doom a team’s season. The Wildcats know it won’t be easy, but they still have a chance to make the PIAA team draw if they can earn a pair of victories Thursday.

"Cocalico has a nice team,” Gable said. “They were at our duals earlier this year.”

If Dallastown does prevail over Cocalico, the Wildcats will face the loser of the Gettysburg-Hempfield semifinal to earn a berth in the PIAA draw. A win there would put them in the third-place contest at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley.

“To be honest, I think every match is going to be close,” Gable said. “I don’t think that any team is that much better than any other team. Everybody is pretty solid. So it’ll be fun to watch for the fans, but it’ll be hard on the coaches.”

Other action: No. 4 seed Gettysburg (19-0), the York-Adams Division II champion, advanced to the semifinals with wins over Conrad Weiser (75-0) and Carlisle (34-32). Freshman Wyatt Sokol's 11-3 major decision at 132 in the final bout of the night gave Gettysburg its dramatic win over Carlis.e

Suburban, after beating Warwick, lost to No. 1 Hempfield in the quarterfinals, 43-13. The Trojans (14-5) will face No. 5 Carlisle (17-2) in a consolation bout Thursday. The win over Warwick was Suburban's first-ever victory in the District 3 Team Tournament.

Spring Grove finished 12-7 after losing its first-round match on Tuesday vs. Carlisle, 35-31.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.