Metzler, Siegrist bring home titles from L-L Championships

By on January 30, 2014
Manheim Central senior Ben Metzler (top) takes the upper hand on his way to defeating Penn Manor’s Jonah Barley in the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s 145-pound semi-finals last Saturday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central senior Ben Metzler (top) takes the upper hand on his way to defeating Penn Manor’s Jonah Barley in the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s 145-pound semi-finals last Saturday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

‘Balanced’ efforts helps Barons place runner-up

There was one thing missing from Ben Metzler’s medal collection at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Wrestling Championships.

In his three previous trips to the tournament, the Manheim Central star had been on the medal podium every time.

But never with a gold medal.

That is, until last Saturday.

Thanks to a 4-3 win over Garden Spot’s Alex Aharonian in the 145-pound finals, the Barons senior clinched his first L-L crown.

“Definitely (a relief),” said Metzler, who previously won two L-L bronzes and a seventh-place medal. “I knew I was going to win it this year. I was pretty confident. I wrestled Alex before and I’ve beaten him, so I was ready to go.”

Sophomore Jared Siegrist, too, was ready to go in the 160-pound weight class, where the Barons’ No. 2 seed knocked off top-seeded Evan Daub of Northern Lebanon by a 5-1 decision to capture the gold medal.

In the end, Metzler (27-2) and Siegrist (23-3) led the Barons to a 2-for-3 finish in the finals, and Manheim Central, with nine medalists, took home a runner-up finish in the team standings with 164!-W points.

Senior Tyler Rhoads (17-9), seeded 3rd at 170, also reached the finals and settled for silver, while seniors Kyler West (15-13) and David Fantom (17-12) placed fourth at 120 and 152, senior J.J. Sanchez (22-7) was fifth at 182, sophomores Caleb Enck (13-14) and Brock Fittery (7-8) claimed seventh at 113 and 195, and Joseph Giffin (6-13) finished eighth at 285.

Solanco won the team championship for the fourth time in five years with 223!-W points.

The fact that the Barons claimed the second-place trophy at Garden Spot High School, where they fell 43-24 to the Spartans in a match for the Section Two crown just over two weeks earlier, was no doubt icing on the cake.

“After some disappointing dual-meet losses,” Manheim Central coach Troy Sunderland said, “and losing to Garden Spot the way we wrestled there, to come back here in that competition … I remember what I said to the team (Friday), ‘It’s a precursor to taking us into Sectionals and that’s where we’re ultimately building for is the post-season, so this is a step in the right direction.’”

The Spartans ended up placing third in the L-L team race with 156!-W points, and Metzler’s win over Aharonian had a lot to do with MC edging out their rivals for the second spot.

“Pretty sweet, for sure,” Metzler said.

His 10-4 decision over Penn Manor’s Jonah Barley in the semi-finals was pretty sweet, punching his ticket to the championship match. There, the No. 1-seeded Metzler carried a 2-0 lead into the third, courtesy of an early takedown, over 2nd-seeded Aharonian (33-4).

His two-point tilt with 1:43 to go in the final stanza gave him a little bit of breathing room, but Aharonian made things interesting with an escape, followed by a takedown with :17 remaining, making it a one-point match.

“I was starting to relax a little too much and he caught me there,” Metzler recalled.

The MC senior was cautioned for stalling with :05 left, but he held on for the 4-3 win.

“It was a hard-fought match, but (Ben) was pretty calm and collected out there,” Sunderland said. “I’m just happy for him as a senior to go out on top of the podium here today. I think he just relaxed a little bit more than what he should have, but he’s trying to be safe too and didn’t want to give up any big moves that could change the outcome.”

Siegrist, who placed fifth at 145 last year, didn’t give up any big moves to Daub (25-3) on his way to a 5-1 win in the 160-pound finals. Following a scoreless first period, Siegrist escaped and then caught the Viking junior for a takedown with :41 left in the second to go in front 3-0. He was still front 3-1 when his takedown with :30 remaining in the final stanza clinched the victory.

Although Daub was the No. 1 seed, Sunderland acknowledged that he and Siegrist are pretty close to one another ability-wise.

“Daub is obviously a strong competitor physically, and Jared was in on some positions that normally he’d finish on,” Sunderland said, “and I think to Daub’s credit, Jared wasn’t able to finish there. It was a different match. We hadn’t seen him before, we didn’t have any video of him, so I thought what Siegrist needed to do is what he did &tstr; (wrestle) a solid match in all three positions.”

Earlier, Siegrist pinned Pequea Valley’s 3rd-seeded Kyle Wanner (20-3) in 3:43 in the semi-finals. Overall, the Barons had five in the final four, including Fantom at 152, Rhoads at 170 and Sanchez at 182.

Rhoads took control early on in his match against 2nd-seeded Brady Mathias (19-9), grabbing a 5-0 lead in the first period, then capitalizing on a six-point second to cruise to a 17-3 major decision.

The Central senior had his work cut out for him against Garden Spot’s Ben Swarr, and the the Spartans top-seed executed a couple of first-period cradles and went on to defeat Rhoads 12-0 for the title.

“I’ve known Tyler and the ability he has,” Sunderland said. “He’s a deceiving wrestler and he was dominant in his efforts up to the finals. We knew it was a big challenge in Swarr, but he helped (the team’s cause) by getting to the finals.”

Fantom was pinned by top-seeded Will Finkey (30-2), of GS, in 4:56 in the 152-pound semi-finals, but bounced back to hammer Cocalico’s Hilton Martin in the wrestlebacks. In the bronze-medal match, Annville-Cleona’s Tanner Pyles (28-2) rallied from a 4-0 deficit and scored a takedown with :33 left in OT to defeat Fantom 6-4.

At 182, Sanchez was pinned in 1:13 in the semi-finals by the eventual gold-medalist Stephen Loiseau (30-0), but ended his tournament by defeating Cedar Crest’s Robert Beard 3-2 in the fifth-place match. His takedown with :54 left in the second period was the difference in the outcome.

West suffered an 8-5 loss to Hempfield’s David Good (23-4) in the 120-pound quarterfinals, but won three straight in the wrestlebacks to get to the bronze-medal match. There, he dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to Township’s Victor Kenderdine, who scored a takedown at the final buzzer to pull out the win.

Enck went 3-2 at 113, capped by a 13-4 major decision over McCaskey’s Manuel Canfijn in the seventh-place match, while Fittery won three of his five bouts at 195, including a fall in 2:51 over the Red Tornado’s Ricky White for seventh place.

At heavyweight, Giffin decked Annville-Cleona’s Austin Meyer in 2:01 to advance to the medal rounds, and he placed eighth following a 5-2 setback to Manheim Township’s Tim O’Hara.

“We talked about depth and balance and getting those guys coming back through and placing, so I think that was the key to our balanced effort and scoring a lot of points,” Sunderland said. “We scored a lot of falls (Friday) &tstr; that helped a lot as well.”

About lititzrecord

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *