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Metzler, Siegrist win silvers at Manheim Holiday Tourney
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
A couple of days away from the Manheim Holiday Tournament, Manheim Central athletic director George Derbyshire delivered a Christmas present of sorts for Barons’ freshman wrestler Jared Siegrist.
Siegrist’s present was the news that he had received the number two seed in the 145-pound weight class.
"I wanted to get (to the finals)," he said, "and when I realized I was the second seed, I realized I had a better chance than I thought I would have because I know this is a pretty tough tournament. Getting the second seed really helped."
Both Siegrist and MC junior Ben Metzler (132), in fact, reached Friday’s championship round in the 43rd edition of the prestigious two-day tournament. And although each wrestler had to settle for the silver medal, the Barons as a team finished with seven place-finishers and left a positive impression on fourth-year coach Troy Sunderland.
"It’s much improved," Sunderland said. "It’s nice to finally get some guys in the finals and place winners, so that was definitely motivation and we’re excited about that and it’s going in the right direction, particularly getting a freshman with guys that are returning (place-winners) and in the finals."
Overall, Manheim Central, while ending a four-year drought without a finalist in its Holiday Tournament, finished seventh out of 13 teams with 107.5 points. Jordan Enck remains the last Barons’ wrestler to win a title, having captured the 215-pound crown in the 2007 tournament. Last Friday, Easton finished off its 19th Manheim championship with 232.5 points, crowning three individual champs among its 11 place-winners to easily outdistance runner-up North Allegheny (170).
One of the Red Rovers’ champs came in the 132-pound weight class, where top-seeded senior Robbie Rizzolino improved to 10-1 with a hard-fought 7-1 win over No. 2-seed Metzler (9-2) in the finals. The match was closer than the score indicated, as Rizzolino’s takedown with just :1.5 left in the first period at the edge of the mat was ultimately the difference in the outcome.
"That’s some pretty high-level wrestling, really, for high school kids there," Sunderland remarked. "The Easton kid is quick and explosive and Ben, I think, neutralized that to a large extent with his strength. But he just wasn’t able to get into his scoring routine. (Rizzolino) did a nice job countering."
Trailing 3-0 after two, Metzler got on the board following an escape with 1:38 to go in the third period. Moments later, the Barons’ junior tried a throw, but to no avail as the wrestlers went out of bounds.
"(Rizzolino) just didn’t want to tie up," Metzler said. "He was insanely fast, so I had to get some sort of contact or I was just shooting into air pretty much … When he has that speed, he knows he can wrestle pretty much wherever he wants. He can bait people and just use their mess-ups and catch them."
It remained a two-point match as the clock ticked toward the final seconds, and Metzler made a final last-ditch effort for a throw, but was caught, and Rizzolino’s four-point move sealed the 7-1 decision.
"He wasn’t getting close to (Rizzolino’s) legs, Ben likes that overhook position, and he does generally get a lot of throws," Sunderland said. "But the Easton kid’s not pushing in at that point, he’s sort of being prepared for those things. But what we talked about after the match was creating a little more action, creating a little more lateral motion, and I think that would have helped set up his throws at that point. It was a good match and a lot of close opportunities to score and we just came up a little bit short."
Metzler, however, didn’t come up short while winning his first two decisions by shutout and then knocking off Garnet Valley freshman Gary Pizzuto 3-1 in OT in the semi-finals.
"(Pizzuto) is insanely strong," Metzler said. "It was obviously a really close match. I just had to work on him, tire him out as much as I could. In overtime, I found a chance in a front headlock, reached for the leg and just kept driving and tried to keep him in the center so I could score there."
Defeating Pizzuto assured Metzler of a higher finish than his fourth-place medal at the 2011 tournament.
"I’m happy with getting in the finals," Metzler said. "it’s great (with) everyone watching you out in the center, home tournament. Definitely better than fourth last year, so it’s improvement and I can work off that."
Siegrist (13-3), too, can work off his solid silver-medal finish in his first-ever Manheim Tournament. The Barons’ freshman reached the 145-pound championship round with an 16-1 tech fall over Shikellamy junior Anthony Best, a 10-0 major against Lower Dauphin senior Tyler Messick and a 10-5 decision vs. Council Rock North senior Tyler Kelly in the semi-final round.
"I was just on that match (in the semi-finals) and everything was there for me," Siegrist said.
Unfortunately for the Barons, top-seeded Cole Landowski (16-0), a senior, was on his game in the finals, scoring four first-period takedowns on his way to an 8-4 lead after one.
"(Landowski)’s strong and I couldn’t get any of my shots, I couldn’t work anything, so he was tough," Siegrist said. "He has good shots, he was getting in deep, (and) I couldn’t stop it."
Siegrist nearly scored a reversal late in the first period to close the gap a bit closer, but had to settle for just a one-point move.
"It would have helped," he said. It might have got him a little bit more worried and given me more of a confidence boost. I didn’t get control. He was quick."
To Siegrist’s credit, he continued to battle and was still within striking distance after two, 10-6. Then in the opening minute of the third period, Siegrist had a solid single-leg shot, but couldn’t finish it, and Landowski eventually locked up the title on a takedown with :03 to go.
Reflecting afterward, Siegrist said, "I’m pretty happy. It would have been nice to take home the gold, but I’m OK with second, I guess."
Sunderland was pretty happy in his own right.
"It really is (impressive for a freshman)" he said. "In his earlier matches, he was pretty much dominating the matches as well. He’s solid in all three positions and that’s why he was able to score when he needed to in (different) positions and controlled the action for the most part. He wrestled a kid tonight that was obviously very good on his feet and did a nice job in defending against Jared’s offensive moves."
In other action, Central’s Rey Lasanta came within a whisker of getting to the 220-pound finals, dropping a tough 5-3 decision to Reynolds’ third-seeded Logan Rickert in the semis. But the Barons’ junior decked his next two opponents, including Lower Dauphin’s David Wuestner in 2:25 for the bronze medal.
Junior 113-pounder Kyler West, meanwhile, bounced back from a quarter-final loss to win back-to-back matches in the consolations and then he ended the tournament with a fall in 4:58 over JW Robinson’s Brandon Greyson to earn the fifth-place medal.
Manheim Central junior J.J. Sanchez advanced to the 170-pound semi-finals and eventually went home with a sixth-place finish, while juniors Tyler Rhoads and David Fantom each won three of their six matches and took sixth at 138 and 160, respectively. More MANHEIM TOURNEY, page B-4