HERSHEY — Its first trip here for the PIAA Wrestling Team Championships was a dream come true for Spring-Ford.It took on nightmarish proportions Friday, the Rams handled by a powerhouse Nazareth program in the Class AAA quarterfinal round, 43-15.
But they put a happy ending on the day's proceedings — and extended their stay in Chocolate Town — with a consolation-round win over Wyoming Valley West.
Scoring 36 points on a roll through eight weight classes, Spring-Ford banged out a 42-18 victory over the Spartans to stay alive in the double-elimination tourney. It proved an effective response to the 43-15 setback handed them by the District 11 champion Blue Eagles.
"We felt we were in a good spot here,' Ryan Hayes said afterward, "but the loss kind of put us in a bad situation. Some of the matches were big losses, which affected us. But with a bad match, we just have to look beyond it.'
The match with Wyoming Valley didn't get off to the best of starts, either. Spring-Ford (22-3) found itself down 10-3 through three weight classes, Frankie Krauss' decision at 152 putting the Rams on the board.
But Brendan Zimmie electrified the Spring-Ford faithful with a 15-second pin of T.J. Pashinski at 182. Following West's forfeit of 195 to Nick Perri, Mason Romano worked out a 4-3 decision at 220 and Josh Boyer used all of 28 seconds to drop Wyoming Valley West 285-pounder Matt Dubaskas.
Jimmy Frank added another one-point win at 106, and Hayes took Wayne Smith to the mats 1:58 into their tussle at 113. Decisions by Hunter Mitch (120) and Matt Krieble (126) effectively sealed the deal, putting the Rams up 39-10 three bouts shy of the final.
"I thought we matched up pretty well with them,' Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove said. "The kids did a solid job, picking up pins.'
The Rams got off to a promising start against Nazareth, building a 15-11 count midway through the weights. But the Eagles (14-3) ran the table the rest of the way, scoring 32 unanswered points with help from three pins and two major decisions.
"The kids were a little bit down,' Seislove said, "but in this sport you can't mope about it, because you may have another match coming up in a couple hours.'
"We came in excited but didn't wrestle well,' Krauss added.
After Nazareth opened with a technical fall at 145, Frankie Krauss got Spring-Ford on the scoreboard with his 7-4 decision of Tyler Tarsi at 152. Taylor Westlake countered the Eagles' decision at 160 with a 3-0 sweep of Connor Williams at 170 before Danny Krieble scored a 1:08 pin on Matt Madara at 182.
Mason Romano added a narrow 3-2 decision on Josh Golden to give Spring-Ford a 15-11 lead through 220.
"We knew Nazareth was going to be tough,' Seislove said. "We took some beatings, but the kids responded well and got the job done.'
West's Cody Cordes reached the 100-win mark for his scholastic career by taking the 160-pound bout. ... Adam Dombrosky's 4-1 decision on Jon Lagoski at 138 served a triple purpose. In addition to giving Spring-Ford its final three points, the win put Dombrosky one away from the 100 mark in addition to ending the Ram senior's four-bout slide.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.