For the first time in a long time, 2002-2003 to be exact, the PIAA Team Wrestling tournament will be contested without a YAIAA Representative in either Class AA or AAA.
Over the course of that 10+ year run 6 different squads represented the league. In AAA, Spring Grove (most recently in 2013), and Dallastown (2006). In AA, Bermudian Springs (2013), Biglerville (2011), Hanover (2006) and Delone Catholic (2005).
In the opening rounds of the District 3 AAA playoffs, Red Lion didn't last long as the Bulldogs of Big Spring took down the Lions 62-8.
Also in the opening round was a fantastic YAIAA clash, as good as their first one, between No. 2 seed New Oxford and No. 15 seed South Western. The Mustangs were able to avenge a 35-31 loss to the Colonials with a 36-29 "upset" victory.
The Mustangs hoped that victory would propel them to their first ever PIAA team tournament appearance, but fell short later that night to Exeter, 30-27. The loss pushed them to the consolation bracket where they lost two nights later to Wilson, 35-23.
That left just Spring Grove with the opportunity to make the PIAA tournament in AAA and after demolishing Milton Hershey and Governor Mifflin 53-18 and 47-24 respectively to move onto the semifinals.
In the semi's they ran into perennial power Cumberland Valley and lost 46-16 quickly which sent them to the consolations opposite Wilson. The Bulldogs ended the Rockets season with a 34-29 victory and effectively the hopes of YAIAA representation.
In the AA portion, Bermudian Springs took care of longstanding District 3 rival Schuykill Valley 54-16 in the opening round before running into another rival, Boiling Springs.
In what some see as a travesty to the sport, the Bubblers and Eagles were forced to wrestle one round sooner than most deemed necessary, and in the process one team was going to miss out on a PIAA state tournament berth.
Unfortunately for Eagle fans, that happened to be them as they fell for the second year in a row to the Bubblers on criteria D (most individual bouts won, 8 to 6). Last year they lost 31-30, this year a 32-31 heartbreaking defeat.
In fact, the Eagles have lost to the Bubblers in the District tournament four consecutive years, and are 0-6 against them in postseason action.
Time for the final team power rankings of the season:
1. Spring Grove (LW: 2): After a loss to South Western, the Rockets rebounded to to Class AAA Semifinals, but ultimately saw their season come to a close a week earlier than they wanted.
2. Bermudian Springs (LW: 3): The Eagles gave the state-ranked Bubblers (4th) all they could handle and then some before succumbing on criteria. Eagles should still be wrestling if it weren't for power ranking system that had the Eagles 4th in the District.
3. South Western (LW: 1): Did South Western do anything to lose this spot? Absolutely not as they wrestled extremely well in the District 3 tournament. The Rockets were impressive in first two rounds and the Eagles had a thoroughly dominating first round. Yeah, this is more style points.
4. New Oxford (LW: 4): The Colonials got the short end of the top 4 seeds as they drew a very, very talented South Western team and subsequently exited early. The Colonials can still earn their share of the Division I title with a win this Wednesday against Kennard-Dale.
5. Biglerville (LW: 5): The Canners had a good season, not quite to the lofty standards the program has come to expect and just missed out on the District 3 tournament by percentage points. Expect a handful of individuals to make some noise.
Next 5: 6. Red Lion, 7. Delone Catholic, 8. West York, 9. Dallastown, 10. Dover/Central York/Kennard-Dale
How would you rank the top 5 teams? Comment below or tweet me your picks @ameaseYDR !
Come back next week for a look ahead at the individual postseason as wrestlers chase dreams and gold medals!