Article by Jeremy Elliott, The Patriot-News
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Everything was going as planned for the Mechanicsburg wrestling team.
Problem is, it didn’t end as good as it started and an opportunity was lost.
The Wildcats were left shaking their heads after a 32-25 loss to Garden Spot in Wednesday’s first round of the District 3-AAA Team Championships. Despite being a No. 13 seed, Roger Barrick’s team had the Lancaster-Lebanon entry sweating for most of the match.
It was that close.
The Spartans, who won their first ever district team match, were stronger in the lower weights. That meant the ‘Cats had to save points and steal a win down below to give their more accomplished middle- and heavyweights a chance to shine.
And it was going as scripted. Chad Skelly scored a pair of back points and a takedown in the third period for a 7-6 decision over Neal O’Malley at 130, and after six matches, the Wildcats were only trailing 20-3 with plenty of points to be had.
“I thought we would get a bigger lead, but their kids came out really hard,” Spartans head coach Hoyt Craver said. “They had to drive over an hour and still came out on fire. We were here all day and came out a little flat.”
The Wildcats forced the Spartans to scramble.
Mitchell Ramsey tilted Dakoda Leid for a 4-2 decision at 145. Rustin Barrick (152) and Zach Thomson (160) brought the Wildcats to within 20-18 with falls over Chad Sensenig and Austin Haas.
“I thought we were sitting pretty good right there,” Wildcats coach Roger Barrick said. “But they wrestled tough. They don’t have any weak spots and are well balanced.”
Craver went into his bag and started bumping guys up to fill some of the Spartans’ deficiencies at the upper weights. And it was enough to thwart the Wildcats’ bid.
Ben Swarr, who wrestled at 160 over the weekend, stepped up and delivered a huge blow to the Mechanicsburg faithful with a 6-1 decision over Joey Krulock. The key flurry came in the third, when Krulock dipped his head and Swarr hit a cradle.
“It was totally last minute,” Swarr said. “I thought I was going out at 160, and coach pointed to Austin Haas to go out.
“[Krulock] was strong. He just dipped his head towards his knee, and I was able to get the cradle. All of our guys from 145 and up stepped up.”
The Wildcats got a victory from Will Sgrignoli, who showed guts in finishing off his 11-7 victory at 189 with a leg injury. But the Spartans countered by moving Anthony Huber up to 215 where he survived a Luke Weaver onslaught for a 6-4 decision and 26-21 Spartans team lead.
“Credit assistant coach [Corey Luttrell],” Craver said. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and he convinced me to bump people up. Swarr got a big win, and Huber came out and wrestled a tough match.”
Sawyer Mundorf turned an 11-1 major into the Wildcats’ sixth win of the night, bringing them to within 26-25. But Spartans freshman Alex Aharonian pinned Alex Spaseff in 1:01 with a cradle to end any chance of the upset.
“We didn’t make things happen,” Barrick said. “They wrestled well, and we didn’t get it done in the upper weights. We just didn’t wrestle well today.”
Article by The Sentinel
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Any wrestling team that expects to move on in the District 3 Team Duals has to have a well-balanced team. The No. 13 Mechanicsburg Wildcats found that out the hard way, losing 32-25 to the No. 4 Garden Spot Spartans on Thursday in the opening round of the District 3 tournament.
“Garden Spot out-wrestled us,” Mechanicsburg head coach Roger Barrick said. “They’re a good solid team that came out and didn’t let us wrestle the way we’re capable of. They’re so well-balanced.”
The Wildcats didn’t get on the board until the fourth match of the contest, when Chad Skelly tilted Neal O’Malley in the third round for a 7-6 win at 130.
“Chad beat a good kid,” Barrick said. “Chad was a little nervous, but he realized he could beat the guy.”
Two more Spartan wins extended the lead to 20-3. But Mechanicsburg took the next three bouts to bring the match to 20-18. Mitchell Ramsey won by decision at 145, while Rustin Barrick and Zach Thomson earned falls at 152 and 160, respectively.
The teams traded wins over the final five bouts for the 32-25 final. Mechanicsburg’s Will Sgrignoli decisioned Adam Haas 6-4 at 189, and teammate Sawyer Mundorf earned an 11-1 major decision at 285 over Josh Bloom.
“We’ll start working for the postseason now,” Barrick said. “We’ve still got two dual meets left, but the focus now shifts to the individual season. We’ve got some individuals we’re expecting to do well in the postseason.”
The Wildcats will take on Manheim Townhip – a 36-26 winner over Governor Mifflin in the D3 Team Duals Wednesday – and Waynesboro to close out their dual-meet season.