Last season, the Eagles lost their opening-round match of the PIAA Class AA Team Wrestling Championships and responded with three consolation duals only to be eliminated one match short of a medal.
This time around, Bermudian reached the semifinals, but lost that one Friday evening and then dropped a 29-25 decision to Chestnut Ridge on Saturday, again finishing one spot away from the medal round.
"They wanted the medal. They came to wrestle. I didn't have to say much today," Bermudian coach Dave McCollum said. "I'm really proud of them and the effort they've given all season long."
Effort certainly wasn't lacking against the Lions, who went on to drop the consolation final to Fort LeBoeuf.
The Eagles (26-7) won the takedown battle 11-9 but just couldn't find enough wins against the tough District 5 squad, which won eight of the 14 weight classes.
Of the four bouts decided by three points or less, Briton Shelton was the lone Bermudian grappler to pull out a close win. The Eagle sophomore picked up a takedown near the edge of the mat with just eight seconds remaining in his 145-pound bout against Kyle Winegardner to earn a 4-3 victory.
Bermudian was still in it heading into heavyweight, trailing just 26-25. Noah Hakes, the backup 285-pounder in just his second year of wrestling, gave a tremendous effort against Austin Buttry, who entered Giant Center 27-1, but dropped a 2-0 decision.
The loss was the second one of the season to Chestnut Ridge. At the Chambersburg Duals, a short-handed Bermudian squad -- missing three starters -- dropped a 37-24 decision, so McCollum knew the match would be a good one.
"They have a solid lineup. ... You have to give Chestnut Ridge credit. Their kids didn't fold in those tough matches," he said.
Bermudian star Tristan Sponseller, who registered one of the two falls against the Lions, is still looking for that PIAA team hardware to go with the assorted individual awards he has earned.
"A team medal is different," said the returning PIAA medalist. "You can share it with the team. It's a lot nicer.
"We're not losing too many people, so I'm hoping we can get back here again next year."
Dalton Becker got the other fall at 113. Austin Jackson (138), Colton Dull (160), and Brock Linebaugh (195) were the additional winners for Bermudian.
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Champs crowned: Both favorites claimed repeat titles in Saturday afternoon's finals.
In Class AA, Bethlehem Catholic (17-0) won 10 bouts -- four via fall -- to cruise to an easy 43-16 win over District 10 power Reynolds (21-3). It is the third consecutive small school crown for the Golden Hawks out of District 11.
The Class AAA final between a pair of nationally-ranked teams in Canon McMillan and Central Dauphin lived up to its billing, coming down to the last bout at 106 pounds.
Canon Mac junior Brendon Price slipped by Central Dauphin's Zach Elvin, 4-3, to give the District 7 squad a 34-31 win. The Big Macs have won the last two titles, supplanting Central Dauphin as the top team in the state. The Rams had won the previous four PIAA titles.
CHESTNUT RIDGE 29, BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 25
106 -- Aaron Burkett, CR, major dec. Bayley Oberlander, 16-3. 113 -- Dalton Becker, BS, pinned Sam Shank, 2:31. 120 -- Derrick Claar, CR, pinned Chase Mueller, 1:27. 126 -- Trent Crouse, CR, dec. Ted Marines, 3-0. 132 -- Colby Hillegass, CR, dec. Jake Ford, 8-4. 138 -- Austin Jackson, BS, dec. Jerimiah Zimmerman, 6-1. 145 -- Briton Shelton, BS, dec. Kyle Winegardner, 4-3. 152 -- Conner Buttry, CR, dec. Jared Spahr, 4-0. 160 -- Colton Dull, BS, major dec. Bradi Bollman, 11-2. 170 -- Tristan Sponseller, BS, pinned Teddy Albright, :30. 182 -- Tyler Dibert, CR, major dec. Jake Slonaker, 11-3. 195 -- Brock Linebaugh, BS, dec. Brad Winegardner, 7-0. 220 -- Dan Albright, CR, dec. Sam McCollum, 3-0. 285 -- Austin Buttry, CR, dec. Noah Hakes, 2-0.