Spring Grove wrestling earns statement road win at Red Lion, 39-23

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

RED LION — Coming off a big, emotional victory last week over Dallastown, the Red Lion wrestling squad was looking to make an even bigger statement Thursday against Spring Grove.

A statement was indeed made, but it wasn’t by the host Lions.

The visiting Rockets dominated the night, winning five straight bouts — four of which came via fall — to score a convincing 39-23 triumph.

“They took it to us tonight,” Red Lion coach Matt Helwig said. “We didn’t show up to wrestle tonight. A lot of the matches I thought might go the other way, but (Spring Grove) showed up and was ready to wrestle and we weren’t. It’s as simple as that.”

Spring Grove's Tanner Grim, back, and Dallastown's Aiden Karlie wrestle in the 106-pound weight class during York-Adams Division I wrestling action at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The final dagger in the hearts of the Lions came in the 114-pound weight class, as Spring Grove’s Tanner Grim scored a fall in a very rare manner. With Red Lion’s Brayden Seager on top, Grim was able to defensively take advantage of Seager getting out of position to secure a defensive fall via a Peterson that capped a 27-0 run by the Rockets.

“When I got taken down on my back, I knew I had to scramble,” Grim said. “I didn’t want to give up any more points than I had to, but then I just felt his arm. I hadn’t hit that move in a while, but one of my friends, it’s his favorite move.”

Grim’s friend in question was teammate Chase Amspacher, who ignited the run that pushed a slim 12-9 advantage to a commanding 39-9 lead with a fall at 189.

“Chase always talks about it,” Grim said. “So, it’s always in the back of my head there.”

While Grim’s victory was big for the entire Spring Grove roster, it was also quite satisfying for the junior, who improved to 5-1 on the season. Grim has been shelved a few times due to some injuries that have caused him to miss out on a half-dozen or more bouts this season.

Grim’s win also energized Spring Grove coach Tyke Conover, not so much for the outcome but for the way he used his knowledge and training to his benefit.

“He got the Peterson and he finished it the way he’s been taught to finish it ever since he was six years old,” Conover said. “You don’t see a lot of Petersons these days anymore, but it’s a great thing for our program, because those kids are taught that stuff all the way up and Tanner still remembers that. We don’t go over that a whole lot right now, but it’s still in his bag of tricks.”

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Helwig hopes Thursday’s loss provides a strong lesson for his freshman Seager, who fell to 1-3 on the season.

“He just got a little sloppy there, but Seager’s a young guy,” Helwig said. “He did a great job of putting (Grim) on his back, but he just got caught right away. He got maybe a little over-anxious and got out of position there and that’s all it takes.”

Conover was pleased with the efforts he got all night up and down the lineup from his team, which improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in York-Adams Division I.

In total, the Rockets won 9 of the 11 contested bouts with a pair of forfeits giving the Lions 12 points.

“We felt comfortable where we started,” Conover said in reference to the match beginning at 139. “We kind of knew what (Helwig) was going to do and what kind of matchups he wanted, but our kids push hard every single day and I thought that our conditioning was much better tonight and that proved to be a big difference in the match.”

Dallastown's Hunter Bisking, bottom, and Spring Grove's Michael Hershey wrestle in the 285-pound weight class during York-Adams Division I wrestling action at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Spring Grove heavyweight Michael Hershey stood out for both his physique as well as the way he dominated at 285 on Thursday. The towering 6-foot-5 junior had his way against Red Lion’s Ethan Nelson before earning the fall at the 3:21 mark to improve to 12-2 on the season.

“Michael’s a very good kid,” Conover said. “He’s still young, but he’s so big and he’s still growing into his body. He’s been doing really, really well and he’s been coming on.”

Red Lion (1-1, 1-1) got a pair of major decisions from Jackson Orrell (121) and Aaron Simpson (133) and a decision at 152 from Tyler Bootier (152). The Rockets earned falls from Andrew Talencio (107), Levi Snyder (139), Teague Conover (215) as well as decisions by Jared Baker (145) and Luke Smyser (160).