McClune claims first L-L gold medal

By on January 30, 2019
Warwick senior Roland McClune gets his arm raised in victory after defeating Lampeter-Strasburg’s Johnny Franklin 5-3 in the L-L League’s 195-pound championship bout last Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick senior Roland McClune gets his arm raised in victory after defeating Lampeter-Strasburg’s Johnny Franklin 5-3 in the L-L League’s 195-pound championship bout last Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Four Warriors place at League Championships

Warwick senior Roland McClune couldn’t ask for a more perfect partner in the wrestling room.

It paid off big last Saturday.

Going up against Hempfield’s Chase Mathias in the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s 195-pound semi-finals, McClune felt very prepared.

And that was due in no small part to his daily battles with junior teammate David Hnasko.

“It was almost identical wrestling Mathias,” McClune said. “It was exactly the same.”

The training contributed to McClune pulling off a five-point takedown late in the third period, erasing a 6-4 deficit against No. 2-seeded Mathias and lifting him to a 9-6 upset.

Then in the championship match, the 6th-ranked Warrior completed his journey to the top of the medal podium, knocking off Lampeter-Strasburg’s Johnny Franklin 5-3 to claim his first L-L title at Garden Spot High School in New Holland.

It marked the seventh straight year Warwick has brought home an individual League crown — the second longest streak behind only Solanco (12).

“It’s amazing, it really is,” said McClune, who improved to 19-6. “No one really thought I was going to make it anywhere and it just feels amazing to be able to do this.”

“(Roland) worked for it and earned it,” Warwick coach Ned Bushong said. “That’s always nice. Seeds don’t mean anything. It’s how you wrestle. If you have that in your mind, it doesn’t matter where you are — you’re going to wrestle and win.”

In all, McClune was one of four Warrior medalists, including Hnasko (170) and senior Charles Lumene (182), who placed fourth, and junior Hayden Benner (220), a fifth-place finisher.

Warwick took 11th in the team standings with 92 points.

“Everything considered, we had a nice tournament,” Bushong said. “It’s just a start. The ones that really count are coming up in Sectionals.”

McClune will certainly look build off his success when Warwick competes at the District Three Triple-A Section Two Tournament at Hempfield High School on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16.

His run to the L-L League gold began with a pair of major decisions — beating McCaskey’s Justin Pacheco 12-0 in first-round and Cocalico’s Ben Sola 9-0 in the quarterfinals.

That set the stage for McClune’s match against Mathias with a berth to the finals at stake.

The Black Knight grappler was up 6-4 in the third when McClune created a flurry, got the tying takedown and then took him to his back for three points in the final 15 seconds.

“That was awesome,” assistant Ian Stoeckl said.

“I was just pushing through the whole match,” McClune recalled. “Coach Bushong and all (my coaches), they always say, ‘Until the whistle blows, always push to the end,’ and especially with Mathias, that’s where that came in handy.”

McClune’s ability to slip a couple of headlocks against Franklin in the finals came in handy.

The first of those came with 1:33 left in the second period, and his takedown gave him a 3-0 lead going to the final stanza. There, after Franklin’s escape cut it to 3-1, the L-S senior went for the home run move with :14 left, missed and McClune instead got a match-clinching takedown.

“I could see him coming, really I could almost feel it,” McClune remarked. “I was going to take a shot, but (Franklin) immediately threw the headlock, and I was able to slip it.”

“(Franklin)’s known for being a thrower,” Stoeckl said. “Roland had perfect positioning the whole match and didn’t force anything. He executed his game plan completely there and it showed.”

McClune’s hard work has shown as well. This being his first year as a regular varsity starter, McClune’s 19th win is easily a single-season high.

“It really did help me in the long run just being patient and putting in the work early in the morning, just over and over again,” said McClune, who was a combined 11-10 as a sophomore and junior.

McClune wasn’t the only one scoring upsets for Warwick at the L-L Tournament.

Lumene (14-9), seeded 10th in the 182-pound brackets, beat No. 7 Isiah Gantt, of Conestoga Valley, by a 5-2 decision in the opening-round, then decked ELCO’s No. 2-seeded Trey Donmoyer in 2:41 in the quarterfinals.

“Real nice match, a barn burner, and he ended up sticking him. That was a big upset,” Bushong said.

“It was a tie match at the time, 5-5. Charles was able to create a quick flurry and get him right to his back,” Stoeckl said. “That was pretty cool.”

It was a perfect example to the old sports adage that anything can happen at any time.

“Charles was the poster boy for that this weekend,” Stoeckl said.

Lumene ended up losing by fall in 4:32 to Penn Manor’s Nicholas Baker in the semi-finals, then took home the fourth-place medal when Lampeter-Strasburg’s Logan Davidson pinned him in 4:40 in the bronze-medal match.

“Still wrestling back and getting fourth, I mean, (Charles) had an amazing weekend,” Stoeckl said. “I’m very proud of him, that’s for sure.”

Hnasko (22-7), too, had an amazing weekend in the 170-pound brackets.

Like McClune and Lumene, he advanced to the semi-finals, needing just 18 seconds to pin Columbia’s Derek Nell in the first-round, and then winning by injury default in 3:59 against Elizabethtown’s Javan Thomas in the quarters.

In the Final Four, Hnasko battled tough, but came up a little bit short in a 10-7 loss to Lebanon’s Dallin Ocasio, the eventual silver-medalist.

Donegal’s William Small then scored a takedown with just :16 left to pull out a 7-6 victory over Hnasko in the bronze-medal match.

At 220, Benner (17-6) made quick work of Annville-Cleona’s Danny Davies in the first-round, pinning the Little Dutchmen wrestler in just :10.

Next, Pequea Valley’s Joey Coblentz escaped with a 1-0 decision over Benner in the quarter-finals, but the Warrior junior answered with an 8-0 major decision over CV’s Leo Marente and then a fall in 1:53 against ELCO’s Bailey Beamesderfer in his first two consolation matches.

That sent Benner to the fifth-place match, where his reversal with 1:41 left in the second gave him a 2-0 lead. The second of two escapes by Hempfield’s Luke Dreyer with :19 elapsed in the third tied it and eventually forced overtime.

There, Benner caught Dreyer in a four-point bearhug with :53 left to clinch a 6-2 victory.

“Hayden just kept working the whole time,” Bushong said. “He kept working and kept pushing … All the guys wrestled well. We had some that lost and wrestled hard, wrestled well. But in some cases, it just wasn’t enough to win. Overall, we had a nice tournament, but the season’s not over yet. The ones that count are coming up.”

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