Betancourt nabs Sectional title

By on February 22, 2017
Manheim Central freshman Will Betancourt (top) pins Lower Dauphin’s Jacob Vale in 1:41 for the Sectional 106-pound title last Saturday.

Manheim Central freshman Will Betancourt (top) pins Lower Dauphin’s Jacob Vale in 1:41 for the Sectional 106-pound title last Saturday.

Barons’ trio advances

The go-to move for Manheim Central’s Will Betancourt is his arm bar.

A freshman 106-pounder, it was there against Ephrata’s Austin Jones in the L-L League finals in January and Betancourt capitalized.

That surely wasn’t the only time he’s executed it en route to building a 26-2 record heading into the post-season.

“My dad (Will) taught (the arm bar) to me and I’ve been doing it since, like, elementary school,” Betancourt said. “Ever since then, it’s worked a lot.”

And it did again at last Saturday’s District Three Triple-A Section Two Tournament .

Battling Lower Dauphin’s Jacob Vale for the gold, Betancourt went to his signature hold and ended the match with a fall in 1:41, sending him to the top of the medal stand at Hempfield High School.

“I had to work for it a little bit. I went for the tilt,” said Betancourt, who improved to 29-4, “and when I did that, his arm opened up, so I just snuck in the bar and ran it.”

Betancourt’s gold led the Barons, who finished with three qualifiers for the District Three Championships, to be held this Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 23-25 at the Giant Center in Hershey. Overall, MC placed fifth in the team standings with 107 points. Central Dauphin took the crown with 200 points, easily ahead of runner-up Lower Dauphin (165).

Junior Ryan McKee (20-14), who took fourth at 145, and senior Elliot Martin (17-7), a bronze medalist in the 195-pound brackets, also punched their tickets to Chocolatetown this week. The top four place-finishers at each weight advanced.

In the end — although the Barons had seven medalists — they were hoping to have more District qualifiers. It didn’t help their cause that freshman Connor Zeamer (14-8), seeded No. 1, suffered a broken collarbone in the 113-pound semi-finals. And with sophomore Cade Zeamer (23-15) only one win from qualifying, he fell in OT by fall in 5:47 against Penn Manor’s Jordan Harsh.

“It was a pretty rough day for us,” Baron coach Troy Sunderland said. “We’re happy for Will and Ryan and Elliot and sad to see the rest of the things that happened. Other guys had great performances, but were just outgunned a little bit, and there were some guys that just were mismatched a little bit as well … We had higher expectations, for sure. It was nice to get a champion and three guys going to Districts, but it was a rough day.”

It was rough start to the day for Milton Hershey Kevin Minners, who was pinned by Betancourt in 21 seconds in the 106-pound quarter-finals. From there, the MC freshman phenom needed just 1:25 to flatten Central Dauphin’s (22-15) in the semi-finals, assuring himself of a spot at Districts.

Vale (23-6) was next, and while Betancourt had never faced the LD freshman in a match, he had practiced against him previously.

“I just tried different stuff on him (in workouts),” Betancourt said, “so I remembered what worked and I used it in the match.”

Arm bar, anyone?

With just five losses on the season prior to the Sectional finals, and a pin in 1:56 over E-town’s Ethan Carl, Vale had an impressive resume of his own. But Betancourt wasted very little time.

“Will’s relentless on his feet,” Sunderland said, “he’s sorta the same way on top. He’s a pinner, he wants to end the match and get off the mat … He’s a relentless competitor on the mat.”

And now it’s on to the Giant Center.

“I’m very excited,” said Betancourt, whose only two losses this season were to Liberty’s Matt Maloney in the Penn Manor Tournament and Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf in the Exeter Duals. “At Districts, I’m hoping I can do the same thing, come out on top. I’m always trying to work for the pin, but if I don’t get the pin, I’ve just got to keep wrestling.”

Martin kept on wrestling, even after losing by fall in 2:23 to Solanco senior Josh Weder (23-8) in the 195-pound consolations. After knocking off Hershey’s Aidan Donahue 7-2 in the consolation semi-finals, guaranteeing himself a trip to Hershey, he found himself facing E-town’s Blake Andrews.

There, Martin’s takedown with 33 seconds left in the third period put things out of reach, leading him to a 5-1 decision for the bronze medal.

In the 145-pound brackets, McKee started with a 3-0 shutout of Hershey’s Alan Spicer, then suffered a 13-4 loss to top-seeded Christian Carr (29-11), of Hempfield.

McKee’s fall in 2:09 against Solanco’s Billy Maeda clinched his berth at Districts, and then in the third-place match, Lower Dauphin’s No. 2-seeded Christian Vaughn (24-5) capitalized on a five-point third period to defeat McKee by a 6-0 score.

“We weren’t sure how the weight class may turn out at 145 for Ryan, but the match-ups were good for him and he was able to wrestle (Maeda) who he saw in a dual-meet earlier in the year, so it was a good match for him to get in to go for third and fourth,” Sunderland said. “He came up a little bit short (against Vaughn), but still had a good day.”

At 126, MC junior Ryan Kreider (16-13) lost by fall in :37 to Central Dauphin’s top-seeded Jake Cherry (36-4). Needing to win in the consolation semi-finals to clinch a berth at Districts, Kreider suffered a 13-1 loss to Palmyra’s No. 2-seeded Josh Myers (22-5). In the fifth-place bout, Kreider ended his season with a fall in 3:44 over McCaskey’s John Pacheco.

“I thought Kreider wrestled hard and came up a little short of where we wanted,” Sunderland said.

Zack Zeamer (26-7), seeded No. 2 at 138, had no problems in his first match, scoring a 15-7 major decision over Penn Manor’s Nick Baker. But then Solanco’s third-seeded Gray Charles (21-4) pulled off a 3-2 upset in the semi-finals, and then Milton Hershey’s Adrian Rosario dashed Zeamer’s District hopes with a 10-4 win in the consolation semi-finals. In the fifth-place match, the MC junior bounced back to beat Hempfield’s Luke Granbois 5-2.

Unfortunately for MC, they had a tough blow at 113, where freshman Connor Zeamer suffered his shoulder injury while losing by fall to Manheim Township’s Malcolm Schuyler in the semi-finals. He was forced to forfeit his next two bouts and took home the sixth-place medal.

“When Connor got hurt in the semi-final at 113, a lot of guys were concerned about him and I think we just lost a little bit of focus,” Sunderland said.

The Barons’ final medalist came in the 120-pound weight class, as sophomore Cade Zeamer dropped a 10-4 loss to Donegal’s Davon Brantley (21-15) in the fifth/sixth place match.

“We felt you can get six or seven (District qualifiers) on a good day,” Sunderland said. “There were matches where just how the match-up went and the guys we hit coming back through knocked us into the next round and not giving us a position to qualify … We didn’t win some close ones and that’s what happens.”

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