HERSHEY - Northern Lebanon apparently picked the wrong time to clash with Greenville on the wrestling mat.
The Trojans earned big points right through the strength of the Vikings' lineup to take an early lead, and used that advantage to hand NL a 39-28 defeat in the first round of the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships on Thursday afternoon at Giant Center.
"I'm pretty surprised, actually," Greenville coach John Reynolds said. "Our kids wrestled dynamite."
That was also the conclusion reached by Northern Lebanon coach Rusty Wallace Jr.
"I don't think our kids were flat," Wallace said. "You have to give credit to Greenville. They battled us the whole way and were getting right up in our grill. Even the matches we won they gave us a real dogfight."
Most observers would say that the stretch from 160 through 285 is normally a real strength for the Vikings. During that span, the Trojans fought Northern Lebanon to a 15-15 standstill, and after adding in a pin at 152 - where the contest began - Greenville had a 21-15 lead.
Reynolds said, "We had some early pins and our kids wrestled really well at 152 and 170. That pin at 170 by (Gavin) Wilkerson was huge."
It was huge not only because Wilkerson defeated one of the Vikings' best, Quinn Blatt, but it also came with one second left in the bout. Blatt had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the match 4-4 early in the third period. But Wilkerson took him down in with a fireman's and eventually beat the buzzer with his pin.
Before it got to 106, the Trojans had scored two more pins, Gage Gladysz decisioned Matt Vines 9-5 and Greenville's Brenden Calvin held Luke Funck to an 11-4 decision.
Wallace said, "Even against our better kids they were tough and saved some bonus points. At this stage, everyone is tough and bonus points make a huge difference. They got some and also held some of our kids to regular decisions."
In addition to Funck's win, Luis Negreiros took a forfeit at 160 and George Thompson scored a pin at 182 for Northern Lebanon. Thompson scored a second-period takedown to take the lead, then rolled Mason Horne to his back for a pin with seven ticks left.
The Vikings pulled to within 27-25 after back-to-back wins by Dustin Breidegan at 113 - an 8-0 major decision - and a pin by Colin Leonard at 120. Leonard zipped to a 12-0 lead after one period, then finished off Braydon Knauf with a cradle in 3:17.
But Greenville then notched a pin, plus a key 3-0 decision at 132, with Mike Lineman stopping a red-hot Trevor Leonard thanks to a second-period cradle. The Vikings' Zach Kelly hit a takedown in overtime for a decision at 138, but that enabled Greenville to clinch the victory.
"Strategy-wise, we had our lineup pretty well set," Wallace said. "But they got wins at some of the weight classes where we normally score points. I'm sure we could go back over the results and find 11 points we should have had, but that does you no good now."
Northern Lebanon will face Montoursville, which lost to Brookville, in a first-round consolation round match Friday morning at 8 at Giant Center.
Greenville 39, Northern Lebanon 28
152 – Joshua Christner (G) p Stephen Herb, 5:06. 160 – Luis Negreiros (NL) won by forfeit. 170 – Gavin Wilkerson (G) p Quinn Blatt, 5:59. 182 – Luke Funck (NL) d Brenden Calvin, 11-4. 195 – Blake Reynolds (G) p Hunter Wallace, 0:35. 220 – Gage Gladysz (G) d Matt Vines, 9-5. 285 – George Thompson (NL) p Mason Horne, 3:53. 106 – Aarron Gelvin (G) p Kyler Anspach, 2:42. 113 – Dustin Breidegan (NL) md Bryce Knauf, 8-0. 120 – Colin Leonard (NL) p Braydon Knauf, 3:17. 126 – Mason Karpinski (G) p Gavin Schaeffer, 1:58. 132 – Mike Lineman (G) d Trevor Leonard, 3-0. 138 – Zach Kelly (NL) d Mason Wilkerson, 4-2 SV. 145 – Brady Gentile (G) d Blaise Bressler, 7-4.