HERSHEY >> Colton Dull can remember one time that his father, Dan, wasn't in his corner of the ring coaching him.
Dan Dull, a Bermudian Springs assistant coach and the long-time coach of the Bermudian Springs youth wrestling program, started coaching Colton when he was in kindergarten. Dan's been in Colton's corner — literally — for almost every match in the past 13 years, but Colton smirks as he recalls one particular match that Dan missed.
"There's actually been one match, at one tournament, he had to work and it was (in New Jersey)," Colton said. "So my mom coached me. I ended up winning the tournament, so she knows what she's doing a little bit."
On Saturday, Jen Dull watched from the stands while Dan sat alongside Eagles coach Dave McCollum in Colton's corner, as the Bermudian Springs senior won the final match of his high school career. The 1-0 victory earned Colton third-place in the 182-pound weight class at the AA championships, his best state placement ever, and was also his 150th high school win. As Colton headed up the medal podium for his final time as an Eagle wrestler, Dan draped the third-place medal around Colton's neck.
"(Having my dad there) makes everything that much better," Colton said. "I know it means more having my dad there to put the medal around my neck. The end of my senior year, to have him in the corner coaching me, it means a lot."
The Dull family is loaded with wrestlers. Dan wrestled for Spring Grove, on a Rockets team that also included six of his cousins. Another cousin, Tim Myers, was a sectional champion for New Oxford. And, fortunately for the Eagles, Colton has two younger brothers, Chase and Caden, who have had success wrestling in youth leagues. Chase will be a freshman at Bermudian Springs next season.
So far, though, Colton's state success — he placed seventh last season — is unprecedented in the family.
"My kids are far better wrestlers than I ever was, they have a lot more drive than I do," Dan said. "We pushed them hard when they were young, and they just kind of took off and they push themselves."
It took very little time for him to see that Colton was capable of the 150-33 record he put together in the last four years.
"He was a natural, really," Dan said. "He had a good natural ability from the time he was young, it was just a matter of how much hard work he was gonna put in."
The work Colton put in often extended outside of the practice room. He said he wrestles with his dad and brothers in the house, the living room in particular, everyday.
"Me and my dad go at it, we've broken couches. We've broken windows, chairs, everything," he said. "We throw little Caden around like a rag doll, and he keeps coming back for more, so he's gonna be tough when he gets here."
While his high school career is over, Colton isn't done wrestling. He'll compete for Millersville University next season, where he'll have to get used to not having his dad in his corner. Dan will have to get used to watching from the stands, and both he and McCollum will have to get used to not having Colton in the practice room.
"I'm certainly gonna miss him, he's been a big part of our program the past four years," McCollum said. "But fortunately for us he has a younger brother coming up who's awful tough, so hopefully the Dull legacy will continue."
NEWBERRY ALSO ENDS CAREER WITH WIN >> Biglerville junior Nate Newberry finally scored a takedown on Saturday, but he didn't really need it.
After only scoring five points in his first four matches of the weekend, Newberry had another close, low-scoring bout in the 145-pound seventh-place match. The match went to overtime tied at 1, and Newberry found himself ahead 2-1 as the clock wound down on the second 30-second overtime period. That's when Hughesville's Zach Fry took a shot, and Newberry battled to end up on top and was awarded a takedown as time expired for a 4-1 win.
"That almost equaled my whole points total for being here (in overtime)," Newberry joked.
The win ensured that Newberry finished the tournament with a winning record — 3-2 — and a seventh-place medal.
"It's big. Everything's a little nicer and sweeter when you win your last match of the year," coach Nate Becker said. "That's what we talked about, there's not many kids who get to win their last match of the year. It's a rarity, and I'm really proud of him."
MCCOLLUM, BARSHINGER FALL IN PLACEMENT MATCHES >> Bermudian Springs senior Sam McCollum had a chance to avenge his only loss of the season — a Friday loss to United's Tyler Oliver — in the 220-pound third-place match, but lost another close match to Oliver.
McCollum ended up on his back for a few seconds during a second-period scramble and couldn't make up the four points he allowed in that stretch for a 5-3 loss. His fourth-place finish was an improvement from eighth place last year.
Eastern York senior Lucas Barshinger, who said he's been dealing with a shoulder injury all weekend, also lost his placement match — falling by pin to Elizabeth Forward's Luke Fournier. The sixth-place medal Barshinger earned was his first state medal and the second-highest placement ever by a Knights wrestler.
"Tremendous improvement, tremendous will to win," Eastern York coach Dan Garner said of the three-year wrestler. "He started off and set goals and did everything to reach those goals. The work ethic, out of season, in season, was tremendous."