Gladfelter's pin helps Bermudian knock off N. Lebanon
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
For Bermudian Springs senior wrestler Lucas Gladfelter, a long-sought dream became reality on Wednesday night.
Bermudian won its first two matches in the District 3 Class 2A team wrestling tournament to reach the championship match.
"It's amazing. I couldn't think of anything better to be doing right now," Gladfelter said.
Wednesday's wins — 50-21 over Delone Catholic, and 34-32 over defending district champion Northern Lebanon — also earned the Eagles an automatic trip to the PIAA state tournament.
"As a senior, it's the most amazing feeling I could imagine," said Gladfelter, who wrestled in one of the pivotal bouts of the semifinal against Northern Lebanon.
The Vikings held a 23-22 lead when Gladfelter stepped up to the mat to take on Stephen Herb at 145 pounds, with the student section roaring.
Herb got the jump with a two-point takedown 1:22 into the first period.
Starting in the down position for Period 2, Gladfelter struggled to get free of Herb's grasp, finally catching him in a reverse 30 seconds in.
He tilted Herb for 42 seconds, long enough to earn back points.
He never got them.
Gladfelter finished the pin before the points were even awarded, earning the victory while still down 2-0 on the scoreboard.
Immediately, Gladfelter jumped up and raised a finger in the air, walking over to point at his home student section.
"The student section is the best part of it," Gladfelter said. "They always get me pumped by screaming my name, and I can always hear them because they are so loud. It gets me really pumped up as an individual."
Ashton West's pin of Kie Whitman late in the first period at 152 pounds pushed Bermudian to the brink of the state berth. Northern Lebanon needed at least a pin and a tech fall in the last two bouts to force a tie.
However, Trace Grim wasn't about to let that happen.
The Eagles' 160-pounder played exceptional defense on Blaise Bressler, who entered with a 33-5 record on the season.
Grim frustrated Bressler and kept him to three takedowns and no back points, while scoring one takedown of his own.
The 6-2 decision for Bressler clinched the state birth for Bermudian.
"Grim is tough to score on," Bermudian head coach Dave McCollum said. "He's long and lanky. He'll tie you up. He's a fighter."
The Eagles will take on Bishop McDevitt in the championship match at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Milton Hershey.