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Streaks outduel the Warriors
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
For one bout and two periods last Thursday, the Warwick wrestlers were liking their chances.
Marcus Tout was an underdog to Manheim Township’s David Graves, but he successfully managed to avoid giving up bonus points in the 120-pound weight class.
Logan Stroh was next, and although he brought a solid 15-3 record into the match, he had quite the challenge at 126 facing Matt Grossman, a returning PIAA State silver-medalist. Yet, through two periods, he was battling the Blue Streaks’ star junior to a scoreless tie.
But then things took a turn for the worse for Warwick.
Grossman’s fall in 5:26 started a run by Township in which they recorded four pins and a major decision, sending them to a commanding 31-0 lead and paving the way to a 38-34 victory in a showdown of Section One unbeatens in Lititz. Although Manheim Township forfeited three weight classes, their bonus points ended up being the difference.
"We weren’t on tonight," Warwick coach Ned Bushong said. "We just were kinda flat, but then we also hit some real studs. It’s frustrating. But we’ve got to go back and keep working at it to improve."
While Warwick (4-1 L-L, 12-3 overall) suffered its first Section loss, the Blue Streaks (4-0 L-L, 9-0 overall) kept pace atop the standings with Solanco (4-0, 5-0) and remained on a collision course with the Golden Mules for the Section One championship. Township and Solanco squared off for the crown last night (Wednesday) in Neffsville, with the Warriors remaining idle until next Wednesday, Jan. 23 when they host the Golden Mules.
"We knew what the standings were and the kids were talking about it this week," Township coach Tim Rice said. "But I made sure to remind them, standings and rankings don’t matter because that’s based on what happened last week or two weeks ago. It’s what matters tonight and every dual meet is different."
Based on what happened in the 120-pound weight class on Thursday, the Warriors were off to a good start. Graves (13-8) got a first-period takedown and a second-period escape on Tout (3-8), but that was it in a 3-0 decision in the 120-pound weight class.
"That was great," Bushong said of Tout’s performance.
Stroh, too, was great while holding his own in a 0-0 dual against Grossman at the end of two. Grossman (19-4), the top-ranked District Three Triple-A wrestler at 126, finally snapped the stalemate on an escape with 1:16 to go in the third, and then he managed to score a fall with just 34 seconds remaining to put the Blue Streaks up 9-0.
"Logan was wrestling so tough through two and a half periods and then he just held on a little bit too long. He tried to counter the double and hung on a little bit too long and got stuck," Bushong said.
"We weren’t counting on a fall there," Rice said. "We know Stroh is tough. That was a tight match, but for him to just be aware of positioning and get that stack pin was huge. That was a big moment. We weren’t expecting (bonus) points there."
It was huge for the Blue Streaks as well that they had another top-ranked District wrestler —and a returning PIAA State qualifier — in Cortlandt Schuyler (21-3) in the 132-pound weight class, and he pinned Ethan Quinn (7-10) in 1:17. And when Alex Smith (19-3, fourth-ranked District wrestler at 138) flattened Matt Mousetis (7-9) in 3:07, the Blue Streaks pushed their advantage to 21-0.
At that point, Manheim Township bumped Adam Smith (18-3, fourth-ranked District wrestler) out of the 145-pound weight class to face Warwick’s Colin Schnupp (11-6) at 152. In his place, the Blue Streaks’ Nick Hershey (11-9) faced Tyler Esbenshade (8-7) and he took a 7-0 after two periods before earning an 11-0 major with a reversal and two back points in the third period.
"I was expecting Smith at 145," Bushong acknowledged. "They moved him and it was a good move on their part. It could have been a toss-up match when you look at records. Esbenshade and Hershey have comparable records."
"We knew we’d rather have Adam Smith go up against Schnupp because Schnupp is a tough kid," Rice said, "and Hershey being a sophomore, first-year varsity (wrestler) … I’m hoping that really helps him turn the corner for us. He looked awesome. That’s by far the best he’s wrestled all year."
With Hershey getting a win at 145 and then Adam Smith following with a fall in 1:57 over Schnupp in the 152-pound bout, the move rewarded the Streaks with a big 31-0 advantage.
"Hershey was definitely going to be a swing bout," Rice said. "We knew Adam would be favored, but for him to pick up the pin was huge."
Steve Woolley (17-3) got Warwick on the board in the 160-pound bout when he decked David Schulz in 1:23, and then Ryan Gray (12-7) followed by pinning Township’s Nick McKnight in 1:22, cutting the Warriors’ deficit to 31-12.
But when the Blue Streaks’ Griffin Schultz outdueled sophomore David Brubaker (6-11) in the 182-pound bout, snapping a 2-2 first-period tie on a takedown with just 0.1 seconds left in the stanza and then pulling out a 5-2 victory, it left the Warriors with little wiggle room — even with forfeits coming at 220, 285 and 106.
"Schultz is a senior, he’s been around for a long time," Bushong said. "And he ended up going against our sophomore and I thought Brubaker was doing a real good job with him. That was a good bout for us. So we had some bright spots, but they weren’t bright enough."
By putting Schultz (14-7) at 182, John Shorter was able to match up with Carson Snavely (8-5) in the 195-pound bout, and his 9-0 major decision clinched the victory for the Blue Streaks, giving them a 26-point lead, 38-12, with just four bouts to go.
"It was a smart move on their part," Bushong said. "They moved their guys and that was it. There wasn’t anything we could do."
"The guys in the top half of the lineup stepped up for us, so it was a good match," Rice remarked.
Forfeit wins to Warwick’s Austin Maguire (6-6), Tom Devenney (15-0) and Devin Schnupp (19-0) cut the Blue Streaks’ lead to 38-30, and then Josh Charles (16-4) ended it with a dominant 18-5 major decision over Township’s Victor Kenderdine in the 113-pound bout. The Warwick junior took a big 9-1 lead in the first period on two takedowns and five back points and cruised to his 16th win of the season.
In the end, it wasn’t quite enough.
"The guys go out there and they wrestle hard and they all want to win, but it doesn’t always pan out," Bushong said. More WHS WRESTLERS, page B-2