Warriors’ valiant effort falls a little short of States
That’s all Brett Kulp of Exeter Township managed against Warwick’s Devin Schnupp in the 106-pound quarterfinals at the District Three Triple-A Championships last Friday.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, it was enough.
Enough for Kulp to hold on for a 5-4 win.
With Schnupp (29-4) hobbled by a back injury, the Warrior sophomore then suffered a 10-4 loss to Conestoga Valley’s Jose Morales in the consolations, ending his hopes for a second straight trip to the State Championships.
“It’s a very tough District to get out of,” Warwick coach Ned Bushong said. “There’s no chumps.”
Warwick senior Josh Charles (27-9) and junior Austin Maguire (29-11) certainly know that as well.
Both grapplers won two matches and advanced to the second day of competition before ultimately falling just two wins shy of a State berth.
“The last eight kids in most weight classes, they’re all good,” Warrior assistant Gary Schnupp said.
Schnupp, Charles and Maguire are all good in their own right, combining to go 3-for-3 for the Warwick grapplers in Friday ‘s opening round.
At 106, Schnupp carried the momentum of his fall in 1:38 over Cedar Cliff’s Luis Tirado (21-12) into his match against Kulp (43-2). After the two wrestlers battled through a scoreless first, Schnupp appeared close to getting a reversal and back points early in the second period, but the Exeter Township sophomore won the scramble and capitalized on a three-point nearfall.
“You’re getting to the point in the season where you’re hitting the good kids,” coach Schnupp said, “and sometimes things happen and it’s whether you catch a break or not. Sometimes it can be one move. It can be that close.”
Kulp, who went on to win the 106-pound title while holding Solanco’s Connor Sheehan scoreless 1-0 in the finals, then had to weather a third-period rally by Schnupp, who scored two takedowns in the final 41 seconds.
With little time to recover, and battling an injured back, Schnupp faced off against Morales in his next match. Although the Warrior sophomore scored two takedowns, Morales was able to clinch a 10-4 decision to move on.
“I was impressed he came back and still got two takedowns when (Morales) was playing defense,” coach Schnupp said. “That shows heart … I saw two situations where he just didn’t have the hip action. It’s those fractions of seconds that can cost the match.”
Asked if Devin was wrestling at 50 percent health-wise, Gary said, “That would be a rough guess. He changed his style of wrestling on his feet and that’s where he excels.”
Charles was excelling in the 120-pound brackets while flattening Red Land’s Nate Green (16-15) in 2:44 and then giving South Western’s Owen Wherley (35-5) a run for his money in a 1-0 ultimate tiebreaker loss in the quarterfinals.
“To go overtime tiebreaker with (Wherley) I thought was a great match for (Josh) and then (Wherley) only lost in overtime,” Schnupp said, “so Josh is right there. It’s not like he’s not right there with the best. It just didn’t go his way.”
It did go Charles’ way in a 21-second fall over New Oxford’s Lake Laughman and he probably would have been considered the favorite against Manheim Township’s Victor Kenderdine, who Charles defeated 8-4 for the Sectional title.
This time, however, the Blue Streaks’ sophomore hit a four-point move in the first, added a takedown in the second and eventually ended Charles’ season with a fall in 3:24.
“Josh got behind early and he changed his style a little bit,” Bushong said. “Today it didn’t go his way.”
“You have to take chances when you’re down,” Schnupp said.
Maguire wasn’t down at all in an 8-4 first-round win over Northeastern’s Anthony Leese (20-13), but then he faced a tough opponent in Harrisburg senior Andrew Brown (34-5), the eventual bronze medalist, and suffered a 9-3 setback.
The Warwick junior kept his hopes alive with a dominant 7-1 win over Gettysburg’s Giovani Alvarado (22-16), but he came up a little bit short against Cumberland Valley’s Jackson Stanford (32-15), losing by fall in 2:07. Stanford went on to finish fourth, dropping a 1-0 loss to Brown in the third-place match.
For Maguire, though, there is a lot to look forward to as he returns next year as a senior.
“The experience of being here,” Bushong said, “knowing what it’s about and being able to go back and take that back to the team and work with them … every chance that you get to get experience, it’s important. Sometimes you learn more when you lose a match than you do when you win a match if you build on that experience.”
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.