Betancourt Repeats

By on February 28, 2018

Two-time District Three Champ will join Zack Zeamer at States

Manheim Central sophomore Will Betancourt (left) gets his arm raised in victory after beating Northeastern’s Cole Wilson 2-0 for the 113-pound championship at the District Three Championships last Saturday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central sophomore Will Betancourt (left) gets his arm raised in victory after beating Northeastern’s Cole Wilson 2-0 for the 113-pound championship at the District Three Championships last Saturday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

For six minutes last Saturday, Manheim Central’s Will Betancourt had to put friendship aside.

The Baron sophomore and Northeastern’s Cole Wilson both agreed on the matter.

“He’s one of my really good friends,” Betancourt said, “and we talked before the match that whatever happens, we’re still going to be buddies.”

What happened was that Betancourt captured a second straight District Three Triple-A gold medal and improved to 32-0, defeating Wilson 2-0 in the 113-pound championship match at Hershey’s Giant Center.

When it was over, the two shook hands and no doubt wished each other well at States.

“I have much respect for him,” said Betancourt, who entered Districts as the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the State at 113 according to PA Power Wrestling .

Another wrestler for whom he has a lot of respect is close friend and teammate Zack Zeamer, who also punched his ticket to the PIAA Championships by placing third in the 132-pound brackets.

“It means a lot to me,” Betancourt said of qualifying with Zeamer for States. “We always work together and we’ve always dreamed to be there together, so it’s nice.”

When the PIAA Meet is held next Thursday to Saturday, March 8-10, Zeamer will be making his first appearance on the big stage. He fell just one win shy as a sophomore, then didn’t qualify for the District Championships in his junior season.

In his final shot last week, Zeamer (35-6) won five straight in the consolations to advance.

“Last year, I didn’t have the year I wanted at all,” he said. “That kept me so hungry in the summer and I think it’s showing now. There’s still work to be done, but I’m going to enjoy this moment for a couple days and keep working. I love it.”

Senior Garret Fittery (28-11) felle just one win shy of giving the Barons a third State qualifier, ultimately placing sixth in the 182-pound brackets. The top four place-finishers advanced to the PIAA C hampionships.

“I feel bad for any kid that isn’t able to get to where he wants to,” MC coach Billy Chamberlain said. “It’s rough.”

Mechanicsburg’s Jordan Ziats (12-11) certainly had a rough opening-round draw, as he was pinned by Betancourt in just 38 seconds.

It wasn’t nearly that easy for Betancourt in the quarterfinals, where he capitalized on a takedown with 48 seconds left in the third to knock off New Oxford’s Timothy Uhler (37-9) by a 3-1 score.

“That was the third time we had wrestled Uhler this year, so it’s hard wrestling kid three straight times,” Chamberlain said. “It’s also hard wrestling a good kid three times and a kid that’s very defensive as well.”

There was no shortage of offense for Betancourt in the semi-finals. His takedown with 1:42 left in the third extended his lead to 7-0 over Dover’s Matthew Rodriguez (19-7) and then he finished it with a fall in 4:57.

That set the stage for the championship match against his friend, Wilson. In a low-scoring affair, Betancourt took a double-leg shot which came up empty with just under a minute left in the first, and it remained scoreless after one.

“They stalemated it,” Betancourt said, “and that’s alright. Zero-zero going into the second, I’m fine with that.”

With Wilson on bottom in the second period, the goose eggs didn’t change, as Betancourt rode him out for the entire two minutes.

“He’s very explosive on his stand-ups, so I had to do a good job of returning him back on the mat and being smart with how I was wrestling,” the MC sophomore said.

Then with 37 seconds elapsed in the third, Betancourt finally broke through, reversing off of bottom to go up 2-0.

“That kid is good and that kid is big,” Chamberlain said of Wilson. “When kids are going to be defensive on you, it’s easy to get frustrated, to get overzealous and make a mistake, and (Will) didn’t. He kept on his offense, he kept the pressure on and he wrestled strong.”

In the final 31 seconds, each wrestler was hit with a stall warning, but Betancourt went on seal the 2-0 victory.

“This is really, really nice,” he said. “I’m happy with how I wrestled this weekend.”

“Will did what he had to do,” Chamberlain said.

Ditto for Zeamer, as evidenced by his five wins in a row following a first-round 7-2 loss to Spring Grove’s Clay Baker (34-7).

“That’s a champion right there,” Chamberlain said. “It’s awesome. He’s a fighter. He’s been working for this for years.”

His road back through the consolations began with a 10-4 conquest of Cocalico’s Grant Swann, and then Zeamer pulled out a tight 3-2 win over Cumberland Valley’s Russell Zimmerman to remain alive into Friday’s action.

There, he fell behind 2-0 in the first period against Penn Manor’s Caden Rogers, but rallied for a 6-2 decision, and then he punched his ticket to the third-place match — and guaranteed himself a State berth —by shutting out Chambersburg’s Seth Runshaw in the consolation semi-finals.

“I took it one match at a time and it all fit together,” Zeamer said. “I was hoping to make it to the finals and wrestle (Central Dauphin’s Andrew) Wert again, but Baker’s tough.”

With the bronze medal on the line, Zeamer gave up a second-period reversal to Dallastown’s Dalton Daugherty (34-12), but escaped and then went up 3-2 on a takedown with 10 seconds left in the middle period.

“The guy got in on a nice shot and instead of trying to be all defensive and shut it down, Zack went on his offense with it,” Chamberlain said.

“I knew he fires off shots and he’s tough on defense,” said Zeamer, who beat Daugherty 5-4 in the District Three Team Duals at the end of January, “but I think he made a little mistake and I capitalized on that and got a takedown and rode him out. I think that was the difference in the match.”

Daugherty tied the match 4-all on a takedown with 1:24 left in the third, but Zeamer escaped with 37 ticks to go, and then held on for the 5-4 win.

“I’m feeling real good defensively,” Zeamer said. “Not many kids have scored on me lately, so Coach is peaking me hard.”

In the 182-pound brackets, Fittery was pinned in 1:55 in the quarterfinals by Big Spring’s Blake Barrick (32-5), the eventual champion. But the Baron senior won back-to-back matches to advance to the consolation semi-finals. There, Manheim Township’s Carter Hasson (32-8) spoiled Fittery’s hopes for a State berth, capitalizing on a takedown at the end of the second to win 3-1.

In the fifth-place match, Fittery dropped a 5-1 decision to Warwick’s Logan Boring.

Sophomore 120-pounder Cade Zeamer (27-9), sophomore 126-pounder Conner Zeamer (22-16), senior 145-pounder Ryan McKee (26-14), junior 152-pounder Austin Sauder (19-15), and junior 195-pounder Keegan McCord (29-7) also competed for the Barons, helping the team finish 11th overall with 52 points.

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