Back to Black: Clark repeats as Sectional champ; six Warriors qualify for Districts

By on February 21, 2018

Evan Clark was feeling some urgency.

Neither he nor Central Dauphin’s Carter Ulrich were scoring a lot of points in the District Three Triple-A Section Two 220-pound finals.

And the Warwick senior wasn’t excited about the prospect of going into overtime.

“I think when we both locked up,” Clark said, “we realized that was going to be a tougher match than both of us anticipated.”

Finally, with 1:26 left in the third period, Clark snapped a 1-1 tie by taking Ulrich down with a bearhug, then held on for a 3-2 victory to clinch the gold medal at Hempfield High School.

While earning his 90th career win, Clark (31-2) repeated as the Sectional 220-pound champion. It marked the third straight year he was in the finals.

“It’s still kinda surreal, but it will mean a lot tomorrow, I’m sure,” Clark said of repeating. “I just want to have my name on the Warwick wrestling wall at least one more time and try to give future generations inspiration as to what to work for.”

Seniors Logan Boring (182) and Ryan Stewart (HWT) also advanced to the finals and took home silvers. Three others also qualified for Districts — to be held this Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 22-24 at Hershey’s Giant Center — as senior Luke Hirtzel (32-7) won bronze at 152, while sophomores Haydn Shreiner (17-6) and David Hnasko (22-12) finished fourth at 145 and 160, respectively.

Senior Steven Seepaul (12-7) placed sixth at 195, but fell just short of a District berth. The top four finishers at each weight class advanced.

“It’s nice to be able to take six to Districts,” Warrior coach Ned Bushong said. “That’s real nice. The boys wrestled well.”

As the No. 2 seed at 220, Clark wrestled well while decking E-town’s Noah Myers in 3:11 in the quarterfinals, then getting a hard-fought 4-2 win over Township’s Myles Desha in the semi-finals.

Ulrich (33-10), who was coming off an upset of Milton Hershey’s top-seeded Dylan Byrd, was next.

Following a scoreless first, the two grapplers traded escapes early in the next two periods. All the while, Clark was figuring out the CD senior.

“We were kinda matching each other strength for strength,” Clark said. “He was really a fan of the front headlock and he got me in there a couple times, I got out and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Well, maybe one of these times I can sneak a bearhug up underneath him,’ and frankly it was right there.”

With 86 seconds to go, Clark executed it, and although Ulrich got within one on an escape at the 1:10 mark, the Warrior senior was able to hold on.

“Before I hit the bearhug, I was feeling a little urgent, I really was,” Clark said. “Honestly, I thought that was either going to go down into ultimate rideout or he was going to sneak a bearhug in on me. So after I got that takedown, I got a little bit of a sense of a relief, but not too much. You can’t lapse too much or I’d have been in trouble.”

Earlier, in the 182-pound finals, Boring (26-8) ran into a familiar foe in Lower Dauphin’s top-seeded Brendan Shaffer (29-3) with the gold at stake.

“I’ve known him since we were really young — we grew up wrestling together,” said Boring, who has an 86-42 career record. “We pretty much have the same styles.”

On this night, Shaffer went up 2-0 with 23 seconds left in the first, then eventually stretched his lead to 9-2 after two. In the end, the Falcon senior, proving tough to score against, secured a 12-4 decision for the title.

“We’re not as big as some other kids, so we did some hand fighting, we both took most of the shots we could, and he just ended up coming out with more points than I did,” Boring said.

After securing a 3-2 conquest of Central Dauphin’s Cian Blythe in the quarters, Boring went to OT against Manheim Central’s Garret Fittery and earned a 3-1 sudden victory in the semi-finals.

That avenged a 5-3 loss to the Baron senior in the L-L semi-finals in January.

“(The L-L loss) kinda just hung over me,” Boring said. “Being the only wrestler in the semis for Warwick not making it to the finals, it really hurt. So I just trained harder and I knew I could beat him.”

The win over Fittery also guaranteed him his first berth at Districts.

“I’m very happy,” Boring said. “I came for first, but I’m moving on next week and that’s all I’m really looking forward to.”

Stewart (32-2), who has 98 career wins, would probably look forward to a rematch against Lower Dauphin’s Kyler Wuestner (27-5) if he gets one at Districts.

In the 285-pound Sectional finals, the Warrior senior trailed just 6-4 after two following a wild flurry of action in the middle period.

Then with 12 seconds elapsed in the third, Stewart got a takedown at the edge of the mat to cut the deficit to 7-6. After Wuestner escaped, Stewart seemed close to getting a tying takedown, but the LD junior fought it off, turned the tables and went on to earn a 16-6 major decision.

“That’s a big guy that (Ryan) wrestled and he could wrestle,” Bushong said. “He made a couple of tactical errors and got caught.”

Stewart advanced to the championship match by decking Milton Hershey’s Rajuan Boyd (:40) in the quarters and then Central Dauphin’s Jaden Baylor (3:06) in the semi-finals.

Elsewhere, Hirtzel bounced back from a tough 3-1 OT loss to McCaskey’s Joey Battle (31-6) in the semi-finals to pin Penn Manor’s Kole Marley in 4:37 and then riding a six-point second period to a 9-0 shutout of Manheim Central’s Austin Sauder in the 152-pound bronze-medal match.

Shreiner also went for third at 145, but lost by fall in 57 seconds to MC’s Ryan McKee. In the semi-finals, the Warrior sophomore came up just short, 7-5, to Lower Dauphin’s Joey Stoak, but nailed down a spot at Districts by defeating McCaskey’s Andrew Vogerlbacher 3-1 in OT in the consis.

Turning to the 160-pound weight class, Hnasko had a long road back after falling in the quarterfinals, but he won back-to-back matches in the consis — decking E-town’s Javan Thomas (3:23) and Donegal’s Will Small (4:47) to extend his season. In the bronze-medal match, Central Dauphin’s Timmy Smith topped Hnasko on a fall in 2:17.

“We brought nine today and six moved on, so especially for where we were as a team earlier this season — we were struggling a little bit — that’s huge pushing that many guys into Districts,” Clark said. “And hopefully we’ll see a couple of them push into States as well.”


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