NL's defense of district wrestling title ends
Bermudian Springs wrestling coach Dave McCollum discusses how the team's difficult schedule this season has prepared the Eagles for a postseason run. Bermudian will face Bishop McDevitt for the Class 2A team championship on Saturday. Matt Allibone
YORK SPRINGS – There were two ways Northern Lebanon could have reacted to its 34-32 loss to Bermudian Springs in Tuesday's District 3 Class 2A wrestling semifinals.
The Vikings could have hung their heads and despaired over not defending their district title, or they could look at the bigger picture, in which they are still alive for the state team tournament.
Northern Lebanon head coach Rusty Wallace chose the latter.
Wallace said, “At the end of the day, this match was not important to our goals. We have to come out and win Saturday, and then start a new tournament."
The Vikings will wrestle against Upper Dauphin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the third place match, with the winner advancing to the PIAA Class 2A tournament.
Northern Lebanon (16-3) looked to be in good shape for a return to the district final, holding a 23-22 lead over the Eagles (21-1) with four weight classes to go.
But at 145, after the Vikings' Steve Herb took a 2-0 lead in the first period, Bermudian Springs' Lucas Gladfelter turned a reversal and then earned a pin at 3:12.
Aston West continued the momentum for the Eagles with a pin at 1:48 against Kai Whitman at 152.
Blaise Bressler won the 160 bout for Northern Lebanon 6-2 against Trace Grim, but by then the Vikings needed a pin to stay mathematically alive.
Earlier, there had been two key weight classes the teams split.
Ryan Forsythe won the 285 match with a pin at 1:57 against Kyle Sonnen to put the Eagles up 12-10.
Then at 106, Kyler Anspach put the Vikings back on top 13-12 with a 9-8 decision over Korey Smith. Anspach took a 7-6 lead early in the third period with an escape. Smith went ahead by a point with a takedown with under 20 seconds left, but Anspach scored a quick reversal for the win.
“Heavyweight and 106 were going to be toss-up matches,” Wallace said. “Splitting those made it about a wash, but they got some bonus points...[Bermudian] did a good job on not giving up bonus points.”
The Vikings recorded two pins in the semifinal. Luke Funck earned a fall against Dorian Steele in 20 seconds of the 195 bout, and Collin Leonard got a pin in 50 seconds of the 120 bout.
Northern Lebanon will hope to get a few more of those bonus points in their elimination match with Upper Dauphin.
“Our guys will be focused,” Wallace said. “In the team tournament, like the individual tournament, the key is having a short memory.”
The trip to Bermudian Springs was not a waste for the Vikings, as they did beat Newport 44-20 in the quarterfinals.
In that match, Northern Lebanon picked up three pins. Funck defeated Josh Mashcak in 43 seconds of the 182 bout, Trevor Leonard needed 56 seconds to down Darius Gonzalez in the 132 bout, and Bressler took 3:29 to pin Drew Paden in the 152 bout.