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The Spring Grove wrestling team's chances of making the team PIAA tournament took an unexpected hit Tuesday night.
Taking on Shippensburg at home in the District Class 3A team quarterfinals, the Rockets were stunned, 37-35, by the 11th-seeded Greyhounds. The Rockets entered the tournament ranked third and beat Governor Mifflin, 51-15, in the first round on Tuesday immediately before the quarterfinals.
The Rockets will now enter the consolation bracket and attempt to finish in the top four to make states. Their first consolation bout will be at home Thursday against Big Spring. Shippensburg, which beat Dallastown in the first round Tuesday, will face second-seeded Exeter Township in the semifinals Thursday at Spring Grove.
"We did not get it done in a whole bunch of places," Spring Grove coach Tony Miller said. "We didn't have a good match and they wrestled a great night. This was not our best, so it's up to (the team) before Thursday to say, 'Where are we going to go?' It's the end of the year and one more mistake and it's all over."
After starting the match with a tech fall by Trent Baker at 160 pounds, Spring Grove had to forfeit at 170 because of injury. The Rockets lost three of the next four matches to trail by 10 points going into the 106-pound bout. While the Rockets are typically strongest at the light weights, they weren't able to string together enough wins there on Tuesday.
The turning point came at 126, where Spring Grove freshman Brady Pitzer put himself in a bad position and was pinned by John Adams early in the second period. The loss erased a two-point lead the Rockets had taken the previous bout and put them in a four-point hole they never recovered from.
The dagger came three bouts later at 145, where Shippensburg's Philip Torres clinched the win with a pin against Tristen Smyser.
"I'm not going to put it all on Brady, there were a bunch of places where we got pinned or gave points up," Miller said. "It shouldn't come down to (the final bouts). My kids all year long have stepped up for each other and they just didn't tonight. We're on the other side of the bracket and it's not where we want to be but it is what it is and we've got to wrestle now."
Shippensburg coach Tony Yaniello said he didn't view either of his team's wins on Tuesday as major upsets. While the Greyhounds entered the tournament ranked 11th, they only lost two dual meets in the regular season to powerhouses Big Spring and Bermudian Springs. They also just returned Torres to the starting lineup, according to Yaniello.
While the Greyhounds won only six matches that were actually wrestled, their four pins and one win by forfeit narrowly gave them the victory.
"This is the first time we've had all of our kids in a dual meet this year,' Yaniello said. "That match could have gone either way, but that's wrestling. I was pretty sure that we would have a shot in both matches and our kids had no doubt that we could wrestle with anybody."