Barons take 5th in L-L Tourney
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
As Manheim Central wrestling coach Troy Sunderland reflects on the team’s 2012-13 season so far, there is a trend that he finds to be a bit troublesome.
That is the number of reversals that his Barons allow.
"If you’re going to win close matches, you can’t give up reversals," Sunderland said. "That’s one of the things that’s bothered me all year is the number of reversals that our team overall has given up."
With Manheim Central’s Ben Metzler and Jared Siegrist competing in the 138 and 145-pound semi-finals at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships last Saturday against Manheim Township’s top-seeded Alex and Adam Smith, those moves again proved costly for the Barons. Unfortunately, Metzler (23-6) ended up dropping a 9-4 decision, Siegrist (24-7) suffered a 10-0 loss and the Central matmen were shut out from the championship round.
Despite that, however, the Barons had nine place-finishers and took fifth as a team with 139 points. With Manheim Township claiming three individual golds — including two from the Smith brothers — the Blue Streaks managed to hold off three-time reigning champ Solanco 199.5-198 for their first-ever L-L team championship.
"Overall, we had a pretty good performance," Sunderland said. "I felt we could have placed higher as a team and that’s what we were looking to do. We were looking that we’d be happy with a top-four performance and we finished fifth, so I was a little disappointed with that maybe. But we had a lot of individuals that did well. Not getting anybody in the finals or winning (individual gold) was a little disappointing, but we had two tough match-ups in the semis."
Metzler and junior 195-pounder Rey Lasanta (21-7) led the Barons’ charge with bronze-medal finishes, junior David Fantom (15-9) was fourth at 132, Siegrist and junior 113-pounder Kyler West (23-11) each took fifth, freshman Caleb Enck (19-14) won a sixth-place medal at 106, while Tyler Rhoads (15-8) and Peter Michael (14-17) finished seventh at 160 and 220, respectively, and J.J. Sanchez (17-13) placed eighth at 170.
"A couple of those guys losing in the quarters hurt us as a team, but they came back and did a nice job placing in the tournament," Sunderland said.
Metzler, the number four seed at 138, got past the quarters with a dominant 12-1 major over McCaskey’s Adam Peris (25-8). Then in the semis, his takedown with 1:25 left in the third period pulled him into a 4-4 tie against Township’s Alex Smith (28-6). But the Blue Streaks’ senior answered with a reversal and three back points to pull out the 9-4 decision.
From there, Metzler won his next two bouts, including his second win in as many days over Peris, a 10-0 whitewashing, to earn the bronze medal.
LaSanta, meanwhile, suffered a 12-7 upset loss to Hempfield’s Jordan Ortiz (23-9) in the quarters, but the number two seed at 195 rebounded in strong fashion to win four straight in the consolations. Three of those bouts ended with LaSanta recording a fall, including his bronze-medal match against Cedar Crest’s Lukas Gerdes (19-7). With the bout tied 2-2 at the end of the second period, LaSanta started the final period down, but turned the tables and decked the Falcons’ senior in 4:50.
In the 132-pound brackets, Fantom gave CV’s third-seeded Lucas Ortiz (26-3) all he could handle before suffering a 3-1 loss to the eventual champ. After flattening McCaskey’s Phillip Urena in 2:16 and then winning by medical default over Warwick’s Ethan Quinn, Fantom punched his ticket to the bronze-medal match by pinning Cedar Crest’s Barry Breidegan in 3:52. His run ended with a 5-0 loss to Cook, but he opened some eyes coming from a low-seeded spot in the brackets.
"I thought Dave Fantom did a nice job at 132, not being seeded and finishing fourth in a pretty tough weight class if you look at Ortiz, (Township’s top-seeded Matt) Grossman and (Garden Spot’s second-seeded Nick) Cook," Sunderland said.
Siegrist, too, did a nice job at 145, but he had a tough opponent on his hands in the semi-finals, and Township’s Adam Smith (29-4) broke a scoreless tie with a five-point second behind a reversal and three back points on his way to the 10-0 major.
"Smith has a tough bar, so that’s one of the things we’ll be working with Jared on is defending that bar arm and hopefully getting a little more closer to a takedown on the feet so we’re not spending on time on the bottom underneath Smith," Sunderland said. "That’s one of the things we’ll be focusing on for Sectionals with him."
After Siegrist turned his focus to the consis, he suffered a 4-1 loss to a tough opponent in Garden Spot’s Will Finkey (23-11), but he rebounded to pin Cocalico’s Hilton Martin in a time of 2:27 for the fifth-place medal.
West also showed encouraging signs in the 113-pound brackets after suffering a 3-2 OT loss to Hempfield’s Aidyn Miller (21-11) in the quarters. Those two wrestlers met again in the fifth-place match and West avenged the earlier loss with a 3-1 decision.
At 113, Enck was pinned by Catholic’s Joe Lobeck (30-4) in 54 seconds in the quarters, but started his run to a sixth-place medal with a 2-0 shutout of CV’s Chris Morales (24-6). In dual-meet action, Morales pinned Enck in 3:26.
"(Caleb) turned that around so that was a big win for him," Sunderland remarked. "Efforts like that were nice."
That was the first of back-to-back wins in the consolations for Enck, who eventually suffered a 7-2 loss to Cocalico’s Adam Miller in the fifth-place match.
Elsewhere, Rhoads defeated Donegal’s Connor Maxwell (15-12) by a 9-3 decision for seventh place at 160, while Michael flattened CV’s Michael Kneisley (10-16) in 1:15 in the seventh-place match at 220.
Sanchez also advanced to the seventh-place match at 170, but suffered a 9-1 loss to Manheim Township’s Griffin Shultz (19-9). More BARONS, page B-3