The Vikings' sensational season came to an end in a 32-29 loss to Montoursville on Friday morning
The ending wasn't what the Northern Lebanon wrestling team had envisioned when the state tournament began.
But that was about the only thing in the Vikings' 2015-16 season that didn't go as planned.
Northern Lebanon's memorable and championship-filled season came to an end on Friday morning via a narrow 32-29 loss to Montoursville in the opening round of consolations at the PIAA Class AA state tourney inside Hershey's Giant Center.
On the heels of an opening-round loss to Greenville on Thursday, the Vikings opened up a 15-9 lead Friday with the help of the 100th victory of Trevor Leonard's career at 132 pounds, and triumphs by Luis Negrerios (160) and Quinn Blatt (170).
But Montoursville took four of the next five bouts to pull in front for good, although Northern Lebanon did stay close throughout thanks to wins from George Thompson (285), Dustin Breidegan (113) and Colin Leonard (120).
"Today we battled," said NL coach Rusty Wallace. "On paper that is a three-point match every time either way. At this tournament , especially in that top bracket, three points can separate most teams every day. You could wrestle this tournament next weekend and have different results.
"It's bittersweet for me. Our kids are upset...they are hurting right now, but at the end of the weekend only one team leaves happy. Second, fourth, tenth...it doesn't matter. If you don't win you're hurting."
But the Vikings, who will now focus on individual competition beginning with sectionals next weekend, have plenty of salve for those wounds thanks to their many other accomplishments this winter.
There was a fourth straight Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three title, a dominating L-L tournament win, and the county's first district title, which came at the expense of five-time defending district champ Boiling Springs.
"Today's result does not take anything away from our season," Wallace said. "They can't see it now but one day they will look back and see how great they were. Fourth straight section title, league title, district title, return trip to states...they have done a remarkable job, and I am so proud of every single one of them."
"Our program truly is a family, and we have grown so much together. We have lots of wrestling left . We get a few days to switch gears to individual mode and sectionals begin next week. There are four weeks of winning left to enjoy."
Montoursville 32, Northern Lebanon 29
at Giant Center
132 — Trevor Leonard (NL) pinned Charlie Steinbacher, 1:40. 138 — Kyle Bennett (M) dec. Zach Kelly, 6-4 . 145 — Keith Batkowski (M) dec. Blaise Bressler, 5-1 . 152 — Jacob Strassner (M) dec. Stevie Herb, 7-2 . 160 — Luis Negrerios (NL) dec. Michael Forney, 8-3 . 170 — Quinn Blatt (NL) pinned Jacob Riedy, :57 . 182 — Garrett Hoffman (M) dec. Luke Funck, 1-0 . 195 — Gavin Hoffman (M) pinned Hunter Wallace, 2:05 . 220 — Ben Cerney (M) maj. dec. Matt Vines, 8-0 . 285 — George Thompson (NL) dec. Dalton Tubbs, 5-1. 106 — Wyatt Lutz (M) maj. dec. Kyler Anspach, 16-3. 113 — Dustin Breidegan (NL) pinned Isaiah Gingerich, 1:55 . 120 — Morgan Comini (M) pinned Jarrett Huber, 4:38 . 126 — Colin Leonard (NL) tech. fall, Gable Crebs, 16-1, 3:03 .