The New Oxford wrestling team accomplished plenty with its relatively easy, 45-19 win at Dallastown on Thursday.
First, the Colonials broke a 13-season hex against the Wildcats -- one of the traditional wrestling powers of the YAIAA. The last time New Oxford beat Dallastown was in 1996, and it had never won in the Wildcats' home gym.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the Colonials took another step towards cementing themselves as the team to beat -- with Spring Grove -- in YAIAA Division I.
Really, it's the fruition of what New Oxford coach Dave Conaway saw coming years ago. Many members of the this group -- including Conaway's son, Jordan -- helped make up the top-ranked junior high team in the state three years ago. After going 8-5 last year, that group looks ready for the next step.
"My feeling was I figured it would take at least a year to get our feet wet at the high school level," Dave Conaway said. "It all kind of came to fruition in the South Western match."
In that match, the Colonials cruised past the Mustangs 43-19 -- a score strikingly similar to the one they posted against Dallastown. New Oxford also posted a 50-20 win against Dover.
What strikes you is just how balanced New Oxford is. Dallastown coach Matt Striebig said after Thursday's match that the Colonials "have no weak spots." Even when they lose matches, New Oxford generally makes things close. The Wildcats only had one major decision and one pin Thursday. That major decision came from undefeated 171-pounder Tyler Hoover against Jake Kennedy.
The standout, of course, is Jordan Conaway (the coach's son). He's been wrestling at 112 pounds this season, but moved up to 119 Thursday because Dallastown forfeited the 112-pound match. All Conaway did was rack up a huge lead before pinning Cameron Crawford at 3:31.
"I knew I'd be fine because of my quickness," Conaway said. "I wasn't intimidated or anything, I just had to wrestle my match."
Conaway, a junior, finished sixth in the state at 103 pounds last year. This year, he hopes to make it to the state finals. He's well on his way -- he's started the season 12-0.
Senior Nick Rebert (12-1) also continued his stellar start to the season Thursday, earning a decision over Dallastown's Josh Burg -- one of the Wildcats' better wrestlers -- at 160 pounds.
Jordan Conaway said the Colonials are shooting for a good team finish in districts, with the hope of making it to states.
First up, they'll go for a Division I title against the likes of Spring Grove and Red Lion. And as luck would have it, New Oxford hosts the Rockets on Thursday.