York, PA - Thursday's South Western-Spring Grove showdown for the YAIAA Division I wrestling crown lived up to its billing in every way but one -- the ending.
A terrific dual match that saw the Rockets jump out to big lead before the Mustangs stampeded back into it came to an end on a forfeit in the 120-pound weight class, giving Spring Grove a 33-28 victory and the league crown for the fifth straight year (The Rockets were tri-champs in 2009).
Mustang head coach Brad Zeigler did his best Nostradamus imitation during the weigh-ins.
"I was talking to my assistants, and I said, 'Watch it be tied going into the last match, and we have to forfeit,'" said Zeigler, who has two 120-pounders out because of injuries.
At 106, Logan Feeser caught Zach Clingan in a cradle to record a pin which put South Western (8-2, 8-2) up 28-24. But Rocket junior Derek Carlisle responded with a dominating 7-1 decision over Cole Sterrett to cut the deficit to one before Alec Zorbaugh received the forfeit and the winning points.
However, it didn't look like the forfeit would even play a part when Spring Grove (16-3, 10-0) jumped out to a 24-7 lead after the first eight bouts. Three close decisions were huge in helping the Rockets build the cushion.
After Spring Grove sophomore Michael Hartman registered a late takedown to clinch a 4-1 victory at 145, Tyler Miller found himself down 6-2 to Colton Rebert in the 152-pound bout. The Rocket junior came back, eventually tying the match at eight on a takedown with just 26 seconds left in the bout.
Instead of riding out the period and heading to extra time, Miller locked up a 2-on-1 tilt and got a pair of back points near the edge of the mat with just five seconds left to earn a 10-8 decision.
"I didn't want to go to overtime. I got the 2-on-1 tilt, and it felt tight," Miller said.
Three matches later, Levi Luckabaugh made his senior night a memorable one, using a power-half to earn three back points, which were the difference in the 7-4 decision over Mustang sophomore Logan Bowman.
Rocket head coach Tony Miller felt those two wins were more examples of what has enabled his squad to dominate the Division I scene recently.
"It takes a whole team to win a championship," he said. "In each of the (league) matches, we've had different guys shine. ... I couldn't be happier for the kids."
The Mustangs got back into the match when their big men hit the mats, getting pins from Jerome Beers (195) and Aram Moffitt (220) as well as a decision from Devin Ackerman (285).
Zeigler applauded both teams for performing well in front of a packed house at Spring Grove.
"Spring Grove battled deep like they always do. The energy level was through the roof," he said. "Kids stepped up who needed to step up. I'm proud of all my guys."
Miller echoed his colleague's thoughts.
"We knew it would be a tight one right down to the end. South Western had a great team effort tonight. They put it all together," Miller said. "We were fortunate to win a lot of close bouts."
at Spring Grove
SPRING GROVE 33, SOUTH WESTERN 28
126 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, maj. decision, Aaron Doll, 10-0; 132 -- Nick Klecker, SW, maj. decision Taylor Gardner, 8-0; 138 --Mason Bentzel, SG, tech. fall Brandon Lookinbill, 15-0 4:56; 145 --Michael Hartman, SG, dec. Bobby Wildasin, 4-1; 152 --Tyler Miller, SG, dec. Colton Rebert, 10-8; 160 --Tyler Cornbower, SW, dec. Austin Barley, 7-1; 170 --Jonathan Gross, SG, pinned Brady Shultz, 3:43; 182 --Levi Luckabaugh, SG, dec. Logan Bowman, 7-4; 195 --Jerome Beers, SW, pinned Ian Piety, 0:30; 220 -- Aram Moffitt, SW, pinned Michael Lentz, 5:40; 285 -- Devon Ackerman, SW, dec. Alex Guinn, 7-2; 106 -- Logan Feeser, SW, pinned Zach Clingan, 1:16; 113 --Derek Carlisle, SG, dec. Cole Sterrett, 7-1; 120 -- Alec Zorbaugh, SG, won by forfeit.