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Shoenberger places 5th at Bethlehem Classic
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
As Warwick wrestling coach Ned Bushong describes it, Cody Shoenberger has a nice flow in his matches right now.
"He’s wrestling real solid and moving well from one situation to another," Bushong said. "He’s looking real tough."
The Warwick senior had that flow on full display last Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 28 and 29 at the Bethlehem Holiday Classic at Liberty High School, where he earned a fifth-place medal in the 160-pound weight class.
Shoenberger advanced to the semi-finals and suffered a 6-3 loss to Tri-Valley’s Sam Scheib, the third-ranked wrestler in the State Double-A rankings according to thepapowerrankings.com.
But he bounced back to finish fifth, improving on his eighth-place finish in the 152-pound brackets in last year’s tournament. His 4-2 finish at the Holiday Classic improved his record to 11-2 this season.
"We’re really pleased with how well Cody did," Bushong said. "He wrestled some excellent competition. He wrestled very well and very easily could have placed higher than he did. He took a fifth, which was good — it’s a tough tournament."
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they traveled to Bethlehem at less than full strength. They had five open weights — including heavyweight Tom Devenney (7-0) and 170-pounder Mitch Mellinger (4-4) who are both recovering from injuries and 152-pounder Ryan Gray (5-2) who was battling illness — and placed 30th in the team standings with 33 1/2 points. Wyoming Seminary won the team crown with 250 1/2 points, easily ahead of runner-up Nazareth (138).
"They would have won some matches," Bushong said of those three wrestlers. "Devenney being healthy would have placed in the tournament. For what we had and what we went with, we did alright."
Shoenberger, of course, was more than alright. In his opening-round match, he took Quakertown’s Ryan Briethoff down to his back and pinned him in 1:59, and then he dominated Camden Catholic’s Joe Flemming en route to a 16-1 tech fall in 4:00.
The Warwick senior, seeded fifth at 160, also handled Selinsgrove’s fourth-seeded Mike Ede with ease, cruising to an 11-0 major decision.
"I don’t know if you’d call it an upset," Bushong said. "I guess you could call it an upset if you go by seeds, but I don’t think it was an upset. He handled him. It was never any question on that."
That set the stage for the semi-finals and a showdown with Scheib. The Bulldogs’ senior ended up prevailing by a 6-3 score and then finished with the silver medal after dropping a 5-2 loss to Boyertown’s Jon Nieman in the 160-pound championship match.
"Scheib a very good solid wrestler," Bushong said, "but he wrestled really well against him."
Shoenberger also wrestled well against Freedom’s Josh Young in the consolation semi-finals and nearly pulled off the victory, but ultimately suffered a 6-4 overtime loss.
"There were a couple times when I thought we had him," Bushong remarked. "On the edge of the mat, I thought (Cody) had him."
Next, in the finals for fifth place, Shoenberger finished strong by defeating St. Mark’s Nick McGinley by a 5-2 score.
Elsewhere, Logan Stroh (113), Ethan Quinn (126) and Colin Schnupp (145) all came home with a pair of wins. Schnupp won his opening-round match 16-4 against Stroudsburg’s Stephen Merle, but then had the unenviable task of facing Pen Argyl’s Mike Racciato, the defending Double-A State champion at 135, and fell by technical fall 18-3 in 4:30.
If that wasn’t enough, top seed T.J. Miller of Camden Catholic is currently ranked ninth at in the country at 145 according to Amateur Wrestling News and Northern senior Zach Ross is listed second in the District Three Triple-A rankings at 145.
"That was a really tough weight class," Bushong said.
The Warriors returned to the mats last night (Wednesday) at Hempfield in a Section One showdown. They also travel to Mechanicsburg tonight (Thursday) for a non-league battle and then they host their annual Warwick Duals Tournament this Saturday. Schools competing will include McCaskey, Northern, East Pennsboro, Springfield Delco, Elco, Osbourne (Va.) and Thomas Jefferson School of Science. Wrestling gets underway at 8:30 a.m. Two former Warwick wrestlers will be on the sidelines as coaches on Saturday, with Clint Behling bringing Thomas Jefferson to Lititz and Tim Weaver leading the way for Osbourne.
"It is a real busy week and we just have to see what we can do," Bushong said. "That’s going to be a good tournament. We’re just looking at trying to do what we can with what we have. That’s all we can do. We’ll just go week-to-week, bout-to-bout, and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have some improvement in our boys." More SHOENBERGER, page B-4