YORK SPRINGS -- Nothing came easy for the Bermudian Springs wrestling team in its 37-22 victory over Wyomissing in the semifinal round of Wednesday's District 3 Class AA team wrestling championships.
What should have been a big celebration for the Eagles' return to the district final after a two-year absence turned into a more subdued, relieved reaction caused by too many close losses in individual bouts.
All five close bouts in the first seven matches went the Spartans' way, including two in overtime. It was something that even had Eagles head coach Dave McCollum a bit nervous.
"We lost those (early) close ones and that put us behind the eight-ball," he said. "At 220, I thought we could win, but we lost to a .500
"I was a little concerned at that point."
Bermudian, the second seed, finished strong by winning five of the last seven bouts to finally put away the No. 6-seeded Wyomissing squad that knocked off No. 3 Upper Dauphin in the earlier match Wednesday.
The victory puts 25-1 Bermudian into Saturday's Class AA final against top-seeded Boiling Springs (20-0), which earned its berth with a 44-24 win over Biglerville on Wednesday evening. The championship is set to start at 11 a.m. at the Spartan Center on the Milton Hershey campus.
Just as important is the automatic berth in the PIAA team wrestling championships which start next week. The top two teams from District 3 qualify for the state event.
Getting to the state championships for the first time since 2009 was a major goal for the squad, according to senior captain Tyler Fitzkee.
"All the seniors wanted to make states really bad," said the 170-pounder who wasn't on the last Eagles' team to get to Hershey. "Right now, we're going to celebrate getting to be states. (Thursday) we'll start focusing on Boiling Springs."
Wyomissing (14-8) took a 15-12 lead when Alec Torres edged Dalton Becker, 7-5, in overtime, in the 106-pound bout.
Becker had a 5-4 lead against the district-ranked competitor but couldn't keep him down for the last 41 seconds of regulation and then gave up the decisive takedown 27.5 seconds into overtime.
Despite the loss, McCollum was pleased with his sophomore's effort.
"I'm really excited with Dalton wrestling the way he did against Torres. (Dalton) hasn't wrestled anyone of his caliber and he could have easily won it," said McCollum.
The lone Eagle wrestler to win a close decision was freshman Brit Shelton at 126.
Shelton jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Angel Canela only to see the Spartan sophomore tie it at four heading to the third period. The 126-pounder regained the lead with a reversal 31 seconds into the final period before salting
"(Brit) has got a good wrestling background for a freshman," McCollum said. "He started the season at 138 and has dropped to 126. ... He was on tonight."
Austin Jackson followed that decision with a 4:34 technical fall over Gavin Arredondo in the 132-pound bout. Two bouts later Noah Blasone capped the night with a first-period decking of Chris Eaton.
In the quarterfinal round 62-9 destruction of Milton Hershey, the Eagles won 12 of 14 matches, 11 of which produced bonus points. Tristan Sponseller (182), Becker (106) and Brad Farley (120) each turned in sub-one minute falls against the Spartans.
at Bermudian Springs H.S.
BERMUDIAN 37, WYOMISSING 22
160 -- Sandro Sanchez, Wyo, dec. Jake Slonaker, 2-0, OT; 170 -- Tyler Fitzkee, BeS, won by forfeit; 182 -- Tristan Sponseller, BeS, pinned Marcos Urena, :26; 195 -- Josh Naylor, Wyo, dec. Brock Linebaugh, 4-2; 220 -- Ben Wertz, Wyo, dec. Jose Arriola, 3-0; 285 -- Malcolm White, Wyo, dec. Jon Jimenez, 2-1; 106 -- Alec Torres, Wyo, dec. Dalton Becker, 7-5, OT; 113 -- Ted Marines, BeS, won by forfeit; 120 -- Brad Farley, BeS, technical fall over Jaquan Gordon, 4:52 (15-0); 126 -- Brition Shelton, BeS, dec. Angel Canela, 8-4; 132 -- Austin Jackson, BeS, technical fall over Gavin Arredondo, 4:34 (15-0); 138 -- Mason Smith, Wyo, major dec. Jared Spahr, 9-1; 145 -- Cory Rank, Wyo, dec. Colton Dull, 4-2; 152 -- Noah Blasone, BeS, pinned Chris Eaton, 1:58.
at Bermudian Springs H.S.
BERMUDIAN 62, M. HERSHEY 9
152 -- Noah Blasone, BeS, major dec. Brandon Houser, 15-4; 160 -- Jake Slonaker, BeS, dec. C.J. Stitt, 4-3; 170 -- Tyler Fitzkee, BeS, technical fall over Marcus Summers, 4:25 (15-0); 182 -- Tristan Sponseller, BeS, pinned Jermaine McQueen, :43; 195 -- Brock Linebaugh, Bes, major dec. Spencer Gallitz, 12-0; 220 -- Jose Ariola, BeS, pinned Salahadine Grove, 1:18; 285 -- Omri Johnson, MH, pinned Jon Jimenez, 4:53; 106 -- Dalton Becker, BeS, pinned Joe Araujo, :42; 113 -- Ted Marines, BeS, pinned Craig Donley, 1:55; 120 -- Brad Farley, BeS, pinned Nathan Hauser, :29; 126 -- Brition Shelton, BeS, major dec. Bryan Varra, 9-1; 132 -- Austin Jackson, BeS, pinned Charles Alvino, 2:59; 138 -- Jared Spahr, BeS, pinned Jerardo Deleon, 2:26; 145 -- Sharron Townsend, MH, dec. Colton Dull, 8-2.