Barons crown two champions at Governor Mifflin Tourney

By on January 2, 2019

Benner’s bronze leads the Warriors

Manheim Central’s Will Betancourt decks his opponent en route to winning the gold medal in the Governor Mifflin Tournament’s 126-pound championship last Saturday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Manheim Central’s Will Betancourt decks his opponent en route to winning the gold medal in the Governor Mifflin Tournament’s 126-pound championship last Saturday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

For the first time in 49 years, Manheim Central was not the host of a holiday wrestling tournament this past weekend. Instead, the Barons went on the road to Shillington for the 45th annual Governor Mifflin Holiday Tournament.

Central made a splash in Berks County, with Will Betancourt and Cade Zeamer taking home individual titles while helping the Barons finish fifth in the team standings among 24 teams with 145 points. Boyertown Area High School captured the team title (188.5 points) and Hempfield (163) held Lancaster-Lebanon League bragging rights as they finished fourth.

Baron junior Will Betancourt picked up his 83rd career win in a 5-0 decision over Neshaminy High School senior Colton Jordan in the 126 pound championship bracket final. Betancourt was also awarded the tournament’s outstanding wrestler award in a vote by head coaches.

“It all starts in the (wrestling) room,” Betancourt said after the medal ceremony. “My mentality is that every match is the state championship match. That is my goal. It all comes down to who is working hardest in the room. I definitely think that’s me.”

Central’s second champion was crowned in the very next bout as senior Cade Zeamer out-pointed Hempfield freshman Reagan Lefevre 4-2 for the 132 pound title.

“Tournaments are more stressful than dual meets,” Zeamer said. “But the mindset stays the same. Wrestle your best, give it all you have and have fun. Don’t worry about winning or losing. Go out there and score points.”

“Both of them wrested tough in the finals,” Manheim Central coach Will Chamberlain said. “They both beat the guys that took second, third and fourth. That shows that they came from the toughest side of the bracket. That’s always an accomplishment.”

With only three weeks to go before the L-L League tournament, there is a shift in training and preparation for all wrestlers.

“The kids are switching up the little things we’re working on in practice,” Chamberlain said. “That’s what December is for.”

“January is all about the team,” he added. “Now we’re focused as a family. Towards the common goals in dual meets. And slowly but surely trying to keep technique building.”

Manheim senior Keegan McCord was the Barons’ third finalist at 182. McCord fell to champion Mason McCready of Hollidaysburg and had a 3-1 record for the weekend. Other Central medalists included junior Connor Zeamer (6th, 138), freshman Uriah Warner (7th, 106) and senior Josiah Lutz (8th, 120).

Warwick also experienced success at Governor Mifflin. The Warriors totaled 101.5 points, good for 12th place in the team standings. Junior Hayden Benner secured the bronze medal at 220, while fellow junior David Hnasko (170) came home in fourth place, as four Warwick wrestlers climbed the medal platform.

Benner lost to eventual silver-medalist Paolo DiSanto of Plymouth Whitemarsh in the Saturday morning semi-final. His second win of the weekend against Boyertown senior Jacob Sonder (2-1) wrapped up the bronze.

“The coaches really helped us out a lot,” Benner said. “They had us prepared. I think I wrestled pretty aggressively. I didn’t give up. I wrestled all three periods.”

Hnasko lost a 6-5 ultimate tie-breaker match to eventual champion Nathan Fisher of Hollidaysburg in Friday afternoon’s third round. He fought his way back through the consolation rounds to pick up his medal.

“I just believed in myself,” Hnasko said. “I always try to prepare myself for a two day tournament. I take the time to rest in between matches. Recovery is a big thing.”

Senior Mateo Chacon and junior Haydn Shreiner picked up sixth place medals for Warwick.

Up next for the Barons is a dual meet at Elizabethtown on Jan. 9. The Warriors, meanwhile, host Manheim Township on Saturday and Solanco on Wednesday.

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