Steele, Bermudian Springs dominate 2A sectionals
Saturday's District 3 Class 2A Section 4 Tournament might as well have been called the Bermudian Springs Showcase.
Not only was Bermudian the host school, but the Eagles dominated the competition. Taking on seven other York-Adams schools, head coach Dave McCollum's squad won the team race by more than 100 points, sent 13 wrestlers to the finals and won six individual titles. All 14 of the team's wrestlers reached the top three to qualify for next week's district tournament.
Most of the Eagles' strong performances were expected. The team's star trio of 126-pounder Austin Clabaugh, 152-pounder Ashton West and 195-pounder Noah Fleshman all claimed titles, along with promising freshmen 106-pounder Korey Smith and 132-pounder Trenton Harder. But Bermudian's top highlight of the day belonged to Dorian Steele, who claimed the team's sixth title at 220 pounds.
A first-time wrestler as a senior, Steele entered the tournament with a 13-14 record on the season but won three matches to win the gold medal. Steele beat top seed Sean Sneeringer of Delone Catholic, 6-2, in the semifinals before taking down Biglerville's Brent Hayes, 3-0, in the finals.
"I never thought that I would be winning a sectional title, never," Steele said. "I had to wrestle more defensively, coming into sectionals I had to really wrestle the way I do, instead of focusing on team points."
A key cog for the Eagles' football team the past few seasons, Steele joined the wrestling team for the first time as a freshman but quit after two weeks. McCollum continued to pester him to come out again, finally succeeding this season.
It wasn't an easy transition at first, and the senior had the misfortune of getting pinned by two of the best kids in District 3 in Northern Lebanon's Luke Funck and Bishop McDevitt's Cole Nye in the team district tournament. But Steele persevered and now will contend for an individual district title.
"It was a rough few weeks at the end of the season," Steele said. "But it's been great (this season). I didn't want to quit this time. Coach McCollum is a great coach, and he's one of those coaches who if you wanted to quit, he'd encourage you and wouldn't let you. It's great to have a coach like that."
After Bermudian, Delone Catholic, Kennard-Dale and Biglerville all claimed two individual titles. The Squires finished second in the team race with 129 points, far off from the Eagles' 259.
It was still a successful day for Delone, which hadn't had a sectional champion since 2008. Brian Shermeyer pinned Bermudian's Darren Beall for the 160-pound title while Bryce Perkins pinned the Eagles' Ryan Forsythe at 285.
"It's a great example for the little kids coming up to see that it's possible," Perkins said. "There was a time when we didn't necessarily believe that we could do it but today helps us launch forward to our goals in the coming weeks."
Littlestown's Harris tops McNamee at 170
Arguably the marquee matchup of the day was the 170-pound final, where Littlestown sophomore Carl Harris took on Kennard-Dale senior Austin McNamee.
Both wrestlers have been near the top of the district rankings all season, but had never faced each other previously. Harris emerged victorious on Saturday, holding off a late rally for a 7-4 win.
"He's a strong kid," Harris said. "I was going through the motions, and I thought, 'This kid really isn't doing anything.' So I shot and shot again and was able to score."
After missing the state tournament by two spots last season, Harris is determined to make it this year. He'll enter the district tournament with a 28-2 overall record.
While Littlestown has struggled to fill out its lineup this season, the Bolts qualified four kids for districts.
Biglerville twins win titles
It's been a tough season for Biglerville, which struggled to a 6-14 regular season record under first-year coach Ken Haines. But the Canners have had two constants in Eli and Josh Tuckey, who both claimed titles on Saturday.
The two Biglerville sophomores don't just share a last name. They're also identical twins. On Saturday, Josh beat Bermudian's Landon West, 3-0, in the 113-pound finals while Eli pinned Bermudian's Tyler Rawson at 120.
While the two admitted they occasionally fight like most brothers, they were rooting for each other on Saturday. Neither wanted to be the only one to win.
"I'm mostly focused on my match, and I know my brother is going to do well," Josh Tuckey said. "I can't say (we get along) all the time but we're brothers and we love each other and push each other."