Eastern York wrestling puts exclamation point on surprise season with district win
The Golden Knights advanced to the District 3 Class 2A quarterfinals with the 50-22 win.
WRIGHTSVILLE — This season has been unlike any other in recent memory for the Eastern York wrestling team. With little to no expectations from fans and even some wrestlers in the program, the Knights have surprised a whole bunch of people.
Those surprises keep coming day after day. Monday evening was another example for the Golden Knights, as they hosted Hamburg in a District 3 Class 2A first-round contest.
Not expected to have much of a chance against a returning state medalist a season ago, Eastern York junior Bryce Myers took advantage of a mistake by Hamburg senior Chase Sheppard and made his opponent pay.
Just 35 seconds elapsed before the Golden Knight heavyweight secured an impressive fall, but that type of thing has been going on with the squad throughout the season. Without a ton of fanfare, the Eastern York boys accomplished something that no other team in program history has ever achieved — winning an outright York-Adams Division II title.
They did it again Monday. Like Myers himself, the fifth-seeded Knights made quick work of the visiting Hawks by earning the school’s first-ever district victory at home in less than 45 minutes with a 50-22 triumph.
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Eastern (13-4) will now face fourth-seeded Bishop McDevitt (11-2) Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Berks Catholic High School in the quarterfinals.
“We’ve been building this program up over time,” head coach Dan Garner said. “Over the last couple of years we’ve put together a good junior high team that’s been coming up and I’ve seen a lot of improvement with our returning varsity wrestlers. Just a good group of guys that work hard and together. They push each other and encourage each other every step of the way.”
Myers gave his team the push they were looking for in the night’s third contest at 285 pounds. After Cole Staker started the match with a 31-second fall at 189, Hamburg evened it up quickly when Mason Semmel got a fall at 215 in just 43 seconds.
That set the stage for Myers, who Garner admittedly didn’t have a great deal of confidence in securing points for the Knights. Entering with a modest 9-8 record this season, Myers found himself matched up with Hamburg heavyweight Charles Sheppard (25-6), who placed eighth last year at the PIAA championships.
Sheppard locked up with Myers, but quickly got too aggressive with his shoot. Myers counted and slung Sheppard on his back and before anyone could blink, the referee slapped the mat indicating a pin. The Eastern York coaches and bench celebrated the big upset with fist pumps, jumping and cheering.
“Bryce really had a nice match,” Garner said. “That was a little bit of an upset. Their guy is a 25-match winner, but Bryce came through.”
Myers was mostly stoic while talking about his encounter with Sheppard.
“It’s all mental,” Myers said. “It was a little crazy out there, but it turned out good. I didn’t think I was going to win.”
The same has been said about the Golden Knights all season, but like Myers, they have proved the doubters wrong time and time again.
“It just goes to show you how one move can change everything,” Myers said. “It was an over-under throw and he had too much pressure inwards and I just flipped him and that was it.”
While that victory proved to be the biggest highlight of the night for Eastern York, it was hardly the only one. Isaac Garner (114), George Leischner (127), Logan Crean (145) and Keagan Hubler (152) all earned victories by pin while Sam Myers (172) earned a technical fall.
Sam Myers and Staker are among nearly a dozen freshman that have made a difference for the Knights this season and likely will continue to do so in the future.
That is a welcome thought for Bryce Myers and the rest of his senior and junior teammates.
“This is all new to me,” Bryce Myers said. “I didn’t expect us — as a team — to do anything like this. I started to get a sense of it after we started beating some teams, but it didn’t register until we beat York Suburban (36-28 on Jan. 19). And now we won a district match for the first time since 2004.”
Eastern York 50, Hamburg 22
189: Cole Staker (EY) p. Noah Thebeau, :31215: Mason Semmel (H) p. Jack Murray, :43285: Bryce Myers (EY) p. Chase Sheppard, :35107: Brock Adams (EY) d. Isabelle Wilkes, 7-2114: Isaac Garner (EY) p. Chase Denatala, 1:30122: Chase Homan (H) p. Black Summerson, 1:03127: George Leischner (EY) p. Riley Petrie, 1:29133: Daniel Brady (H) d. Camron Weidlich, 12-4139: Brayden Lighty (EY) by forfeit145: Logan Crean (EY) p. Owen Thebeau, :48152: Keagan Hubler (EY) p. Logan Monroe, 3:15160: Sam Myers (EY) tf. Holden Gesicki, 16-1172: Cohen Correll (H) p. Ethan Sgrignoli, :31