With their first wrestling match of the season under their belts, the defending YAIAA Division I champion Spring Grove Rockets have sent a clear message to the rest of the division that the road to this year's championship must go through Spring Grove.
With their lower weights setting the tone for the match, the Rockets swept past the Dover Eagles, 53-15, on Wednesday night on the Spring Grove mat.
To make the win even more impressive, the Rockets recorded seven of their nine wins by pins, with all seven coming in the first period.
"For the first time out, we wrestled well," Spring Grove coach Tony Miller said. "We made some mistakes that we want to improve on, so it's kind of our message that we are happy to get out with a win. The places we made mistakes might have been because of first-match nervousness.
"I'm so happy our kids are where they are at and where they continue to go. We had a young team last year, but we still have a long way to go."
With the match starting at 106 pounds, the Eagles were able to grab their only lead when Brandon Rodriguez pinned Tanner Sterner in 1:39.
Spring Grove quickly answered when Derek Carlisle needed only 36 seconds to even the match by pinning Kyle Beamer at 113 pounds. It was the start of a run of six straight wins by the Rockets that gave them a 29-6 lead. Included in the run were three pins and two major decisions.
Following Carlisle's win, Zach Clingan used five takedowns to run up a 13-2 major decision at 120 pounds.
An aggressive Alec Zorbaugh then dominated at 126 pounds but had to settle for an 8-0 major decision and a 14-6 Spring Grove lead.
The Rockets were on a roll and Dakota Laughman continued the run by pinning Dover's Calvin Anderson at 132 pounds in 1:38.
The most competitive match of the match came at 138, where Mike Hartman used a lightning quick move to reverse Ross Drawbaugh early in the third period to gain a 4-3 lead. Drawbaugh managed an escape later in the period, but it wasn't enough as Harman came away with a 4-3 decision.
Mason Bentzel then completed the Rockets' run when he took a 9-2 lead in the first minute of his match against Derrick Wagaman at 145. Bentzel was finally able to put Wagaman on his back to earn a pin in 1:13.
Logan Ambrose was able to finally get some points for the Eagles with a 6-4 decision at 152.
The Rockets closed the match by winning four of the remaining six matches with all four coming by pins.
Getting the mat slaps were Austin Barley at 160, John Gross at 170, Andy Melhorn at 182 and Jacob Guinn at 220. The Eagles took two of the final three matches with Shaheed Mitchell earning an 8-3 decision at 195 and heavyweight Cameron Beckman taking a 7-2 decision.
"The match went pretty much as we expected," Dover coach Brad Brosius said. "We were hoping Drawbaugh would get a win at 138 pounds, but it was their way. We expected that we could win some at the upper weights and were able to do it.
"This is a tough way to start the season because they are obviously the best team in the league. We can only go up from here. "
at Spring Grove
SPRING GROVE 53, DOVER 15
106 -- Brandon Rodriguez, Do, pinned Tanner Sterner, 1:39; 113 -- Derek Carlisle, SG, pinned Kyle Beamer, 0:36; 120 -- Zack Clingan, SG, maj. decision Zachary Pelkey, 13-2; 126 -- Alec Zorbaugh, SG, maj. decision Nate Stauffer, 8-0; 132 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, pinned Calvin Anderson,