Charles in Charge
Warwick’s Josh Charles was “bummed out” at the L-L Championships in late January.
With good reason.
An injury sustained in the semi-finals not only cost him a chance at the title, but contributed to a fifth-place finish.
Last Saturday was his shot at redemption.
The Warrior senior seized it.
With his 8-4 win over Manheim Township’s Victor Kenderdine in the 120-pound finals, Charles captured his second straight District Three Triple-A Section Three crown at Hempfield High School.
“I won it last year, but I definitely wanted to win it again and get a good start going into Districts and hopefully make it to States,” said Charles, who improved to 25-7. “That’s the goal in the long run.”
Getting to States is something that sophomore Devin Schnupp and junior Austin Maguire would also love to achieve when they accompany Charles at the District Three Championships this Friday and Saturday at the Hersheypark Arena.
Schnupp (28-2) reached the 106-pound finals at Sectionals and took the silver medal following a back injury-induced medical forfeit to Solanco’s Connor Sheehan (33-6).
Maguire (27-9), meanwhile, claimed the third and final spot at heavyweight by decking Donegal’s Matt Yoder (20-20) in 3:42 for the bronze medal.
“I think we might do pretty well in getting them through (to States),” Warwick coach Ned Bushong said. “We just have to wait and see.”
The Warriors nearly had a fourth District qualifier, and senior Carson Snavely (25-14) was literally just a second away from taking bronze at 195. Manheim Township’s Griffin Schultz (23-13) got a reversal at the buzzer to force OT, then claimed the final District spot on a takedown with :06 left in the extra session for a 6-4 decision.
The lead official initially signaled no reversal for Schultz, but the ruling was changed after huddling with the assistant referee.
“I don’t think the reversal was there, but you have to go with what they say,” Warwick coach Ned Bushong said. “The referee asked the assistant referee for his opinion, ‘Was it there before the buzzer or not?,’ and the assistant referee said it was there. It’s one of those calls. Sometimes you get a close call and sometimes you don’t. In this case, we didn’t get it. I don’t think the reversal was there, (but) you can’t have sour grapes about it.”
Charles, seeded No. 2, had a relatively close call in the semis, but got past Hempfield’s 3rd-seeded David Good by a 5-3 decision.
“(Good)’s really strong, so I was really happy when I won that one,” Charles said. “He was the one seed at Leagues, so I knew he had to be pretty good.”
As Charles was knocking off Good, top-seeded Alec Proffitt of Solanco was getting upset 6-5 by 4th-seeded Kenderdine.
“I just knew that I had to beat Good in the semis,” Charles said. “I didn’t want to risk wrestling Proffitt for third and fourth.”
With a District berth secured, Charles squared off with Kenderdine, and he countered a first-period takedown by the Blue Streak sophomore with one of his own with :12 remaining in the stanza, giving him a 3-2 lead after one.
It remained a one-point match going to the third, where Charles scored two more takedowns – the last of those with :17 left – to nail down the win.
“It kinda made me feel better (as the two seed),” said Charles, who earned a 15-0 tech fall in 4:26 over Kenderdine in last year’s District Team Tournament. “I had something to prove, so it made me wrestle harder and better and smarter on my feet and everything.”
Schnupp, meanwhile, had been looking forward to a rematch with Sheehan in the 106-pound finals. The two haven’t wrestled since Sheehan earned a 10-3 win for the Sectional crown last year.
Unfortunately, Schnupp re-aggravated a lingering injury which he sustained about three weeks earlier, and with Districts and hopefully States still to come, Schnupp and his coaches opted for prudence with the medical forfeit.
“It was a really, really big disappointment (not to wrestle Sheehan),” the Warwick sophomore said. “Obviously I wanted to wrestle him, but we thought probably the best decision would be to rest it so I’d be better for Friday and the long haul and hopefully give me an edge this coming weekend.”
Reached at the beginning of this week, Schnupp said he expected to be ready for Districts.
“It’s getting better a lot faster than last week, so it’s pretty good,” he said.
Following a pin in 1:18 over Lampeter-Strasburg’s Tony Hazboun in the quarters, Schnupp punched his ticket to Districts with a 6-4 decision over CV’s Jose Morales (32-4). That improved his career record to 4-0 over Morales, including a 10-2 major over Morales in the Sectional semi-finals last year.
“I felt like I controlled the match from the beginning,” Schnupp said. “I was wrestling a little bit more cautious because of my back, but I thought I controlled the match well considering the score.”
Maguire controlled things against Yoder in the 285-pound bronze-medal match, despite it still being scoreless through two periods. He was in the bottom position to start the third and escaped with 1:44 to go to make it 1-0.
“I was confident,” Maguire said. “I knew it was going to be a lot of weight on top, but if I just got my hips out, I could get out.”
Eight seconds later, the Warwick junior got a takedown at the edge and eventually decked Yoder in 3:42 to clinch his District berth.
“When he stood up, his leg was near his head, so I got him in a near cradle, then I slowly popped the shoulder and turned him over,” Maguire recalled.
A loss by fall in 4:08 to Hempfield’s Joey Goodhart in the semi-finals ended Maguire’s hopes to face Solanco’s Tommy Haines in the finals, but he responded with back-to-back wins in the wrestle-backs to clinch a second straight trip to Districts.
“It’s a relief,” Maguire admitted. “I really wanted to make it again. Last year I was two-and-out. This year, I hope to go further.”
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.