The past five months, Spring Grove High has developed a wrestling culture.

Aspects of the program have changed for the better, thanks to a more all-around commitment from everyone involved.

Rocket head coach Tony Miller has incorporated Cross-Fit workouts into the Rockets' offseason schedule, helping his grapplers pack on muscle through a steady routine of pushups, pull-ups, and squats.

There's been some extra hours in the weight room and an increase in student interest.

And while a youth-laden Spring Grove core has quickly meshed, a traveling fan base has materialized along with it.

So, when Spring Grove entered New Oxford High's gymnasium on Tuesday, its devout fan base was able to stab some of the senior night spirit out of the Colonials.

The Rockets handled matters on the mats, cruising to a 56-18 YAIAA Division I win.

"With our student section, we're sort of used to all that noise and all that constant ruckus," said Spring Grove junior Tyler Miller, who pinned New Oxford's Charlie Hoffman in 4 minutes, 42 seconds. "Honestly, this wasn't really much for us. I think, because of our student section, the noise never gets to us. We're able to zone it out and hear the coaches."

Miller stayed aggressive throughout his pursuit of the pin. He kept the pressure on, heeding his coaches' instruction amid eardrum-piercing screams.

"I just tried to beat him up legally," Miller said, "just like we're coached. Once I locked that first cradle, and didn't get the pin, I got that extra confidence boost.


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I just went after him even harder. When I found that second opportunity, I didn't let go of it."

Tony Miller said shoring up some of the oft-noticed flaws was key during a league meet of this magnitude.

"What we look for is improvement every week and every match," the head coach explained. "I see them get better. That's the goal from Week 1 until you get into sectionals and you're on the last tournament of the year. You're trying to improve."

Tony Miller added, "We made some mistakes in there, so that's what we're going to look at. With wrestling, it's a team sport, but there's a lot of individual things. Overall, I'm happy with our team's performance. New Oxford doesn't have the number of kids, but they have some really quality kids. We had some good matches tonight."

Dakota Laughman, who has been working diligently to clean up his technique, pinned New Oxford's Anthony Lippy in 5:39. A marquee 126-pound bout between two fundamentally sound grapplers had fans in the standing room-only gym on the edge of their seats. Laughman has made a concentrated effort to finish his shots, sustain momentum and better his positioning.

"He knows what he's doing out there, but he was in a battle," said Tony Miller, who has implored Laughman to become a more physical threat on the mats this season.

Tyler Miller's pin extended Spring Grove's lead to 20-9. The Rockets rattled off six straight bouts as Austin Barley pinned George Bell in a whopping 48 seconds, wrapping up the 160-pound division.

New Oxford's Joel Zepp was able to return the favor in the 132-pound division. Zepp pinned Spring Grove's Taylor Gardner in 3:17. In the 138-pound division, Mason Bentzel made quick work of Jake Martin. The feisty and agile Bentzel, who has posted three pins in less than a minute this season, laid down a lethal 19-second pin.

A young team that doesn't seem to get fazed much, Spring Grove silenced New Oxford's student section.

"We reacted well," Laughman said. "I didn't see a lot of nerves with anybody. We've had a lot of big matches already this year, so we could relate to the pressure."

 
at New Oxford
SPRING GROVE 57, NEW OXFORD 18
   106 -- Zack Clingan, SG, pinned Lake Laughman, 4:32; 113 -- Derek Carlisle, SG, pinned Guy Nitchman, 2:57; 120 -- Slade Storm, NO, dec. Alec Zorbaugh, 7-2; 126 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, pinned Anthony Lippy, 5:39; 132 -- Joel Zepp, NO, pinned Taylor Gardner, 3:17; 138 -- Mason Bentzel, SG pinned Jake Martin, :19; 145 -- Michael Hartman, SG, dec. Shane Hoff, 2-1; 152 -- Tyler Miller, SG, pinned Charlie Hoffman, 4:42; 160 -- Austin Barley, SG, pinned George Bell, :48; 170 -- Jonathan Gross, SG, pinned Tate Emlet, 1:10; 182 -- Brody Honeycutt, NO, dec. Levi Luckabaugh, 3-0; 195 -- Shawn Jacoby, NO, pinned Ian Piety, :35; 220 -- Michael Lentz, SG, won by forfeit; 285 -- Tyler Beckner, SG, won by forfeit.

zsmart@eveningsun.com