The bleachers in the Spring Grove High School gym got quite a workout during Wednesday's dual meet between the host Rockets and rival South Western.
Fans of both teams packed the bleachers to the point that many fans had to sit in front of them or stand in the upstairs balcony to watch Spring Grove pull out a 31-24 victory for the YAIAA Division I title. They jumped and banged on the bleachers all night long, cheering — or booing — every point scored in a tense dual meet that featured four matches decided by one point.
The bleachers especially got a stability test as consecutive matches went to overtime late in the dual. South Western's Tom Aumen won the first one 7-6 in double overtime to put the Mustangs up by 11 points. Then Spring Grove's Andrew Lawson escaped from the clutches of Scotty Dickmeyer with five seconds left in an ultimate tiebreaker to start an 18-0 Rockets run to win it. He stood up, clapped his hands together and did a "dab," a trendy hip-hop dance move in which he dropped his head and raised his arms, toward his elated student section.
“I was pretty much zoned out the entire time, but I heard (South Western’s fans) start yelling, ‘South West!’ and our fans started yelling ‘sucks!’" Lawson said. "I heard it and I was like, ‘I’m ending this right now.’”
Spring Grove sealed the victory and the league title soon after as Clay Baker rallied from an 8-4 deficit entering the third period to beat Adam Leib 12-8 at 113 pounds, in a match sandwiched between two South Western forfeits.
The Mustangs don't have a 106-pounder on the roster and were also forced to forfeit at 120 pounds because they bumped usual 120-pound starter Chase Mowery up to 126 pounds to wrestle the first match of the day. It was part of a strategy in which coach Nate Murren bumped wrestlers up one weight class in each of the first seven matches.
“The strategy was to get the best matchups we could and win a lot of swing matches," Murren said. "We were showing our hand right from the get-go because of where we started. When we bumped Mowery up to 126, that showed them what we were gonna do and basically said, ‘come and get it.’”
The strategy initially worked well as South Western took a 21-0 lead by winning the first six matches, five by decision and one by a Derek Wilson pin.
“My guys definitely stepped up to the plate," Murren said. "I’m extremely proud of how they handled themselves and what they did on the mat today.”
But they couldn't score enough bonus points in those matches, or win enough matches later on, to offset the 12 points they forfeited on the back end.
“We hit the meat of their lineup right away," Spring Grove coach Tony Miller said. "That’s where their strength is, so I knew we were gonna be down. I told our kids when it was 12-0, ‘don’t worry about it, it’s a tied score.’”
Ryan Daugherty scored Spring Grove's first points with a major decision at 170 pounds, followed by a decision by 182-pounder Jared Barley and a key pin by 195-pounder Josh Cribbs.
Both teams have one more divisional dual meet on Thursday night, as South Western heads to Central York and Spring Grove heads to New Oxford.
“It’s always a goal to win the division title," Miller said. "But we have another match tomorrow night, so we’re not gonna get too complacent here. It’s an exciting night but we’ve got to go to New Oxford tomorrow.”
Spring Grove 31, South Western 24
at Spring Grove High School
126 — Chase Mowery (SW) dec. Jake Meyer 3-2. 132 — Derek Wilson (SW) pinned Jacob Rappoldt 0:28. 138 — Gavin Smith (SW) dec. Anthony Hinson 8-2. 145 — Owen Wherley (SW) dec. Tanner Sterner 6-1. 152 — Jordan Shepard (SW) dec. Trent Baker 9-4. 160 — Gage Thomas (SW) dec. Marcus Kehr 6-5. 170 — Ryan Daugherty (SG) md. Tyler Osborne 9-1. 182 — Jared Barley (SG) dec. Cole Stremmel 8-2. 195 — Josh Cribbs (SG) pinned Thaddeus Davis. 220 — Tom Aumen (SW) dec. Nathan Young 7-6 (2OT). 285 — Andrew Lawson (SG) dec. Scotty Dickmeyer 3-2 (3OT). 106 — Noah Colehouse (SG) won by forfeit. 113 — Clay Baker (SG) dec. Adam Leib 12-8. 120 — Dalton Rohrbaugh (SG) won by forfeit.