Mason Bentzel wakes up each morning to a sheet of paper on his ceiling that reads "states." The Spring Grove junior has set his goals high -- literally and figuratively.

But it's not hard to project success for the Rockets. They return 13 starters, including nine individual district qualifiers, from a team that made the District 3 Class AAA team quarterfinals last season. The Rockets have also cruised to three easy victories early this season.

Their latest came against New Oxford, which the Rockets beat 67-3 on Wednesday at Spring Grove.

The point total wasn't even a season high. They scored 80 against Susquehannock.

New Oxford’s Shane Hoff holds his ground against Spring Grove’s Tyler Miller on Wednesday in the 152 weight class.
New Oxford's Shane Hoff holds his ground against Spring Grove's Tyler Miller on Wednesday in the 152 weight class. (THE EVENING SUN--CLARE BECKER)

"We've got good balance," Rockets coach Tony Miller said. "I have a great group of juniors and seniors. I've got some young kids that are stepping in, too. I would say anywhere in our lineup, on any given night, could be the strength of our lineup."

There were few weaknesses Wednesday.

Charlie Hoffman started the match for the Colonials (2-1, 2-1 YAIAA I) with a 9-4 decision against Tyler Beckner at 195 pounds, but the Rockets won the next 13 matches. Mike Lentz earned a forfeit at 220 for a 6-3 lead his team wouldn't lose.

Highlighting the closing stretch were Alex Guinn (34 seconds), Alec Zorbaugh (1:38), Bentzel (1:02), Austin Barley (46 seconds), Jon Gross (31 seconds) and Andy Melhorn (25 seconds), all of whom earned first-period pins.

"We're very solid the whole way through," Bentzel said. "We don't have any holes this year. There's nobody that comes up and you say, 'Oh, man, this kid is going to lose.'"

The Rockets (3-0, 3-0) hope to reach the state tournament -- which they missed by two wins last year -- and place there. They see this season as an opportunity, which has become their motto.

"We have a great opportunity to do the best as a team as we've ever done," Bentzel said. "We have an opportunity to beat Central Dauphin. It's all about opportunity. If the team gets there, we get there. If we don't, it was a lost opportunity."

Returning a large core has helped the Rockets, who lost just Levi Luckabaugh from last season.

"Last year, we bonded as a team," Bentzel said. "This year, the bond is even stronger."

Colonials coach Dave Conaway, when asked how strong the Rockets were, turned to look at the scoreboard, which had been turned off.

"Pretty tough," he said. "I would say real tough."

The Rockets will try to maintain their postseason goals but not overlook any teams in their division. They play host to consistently strong and division rival Dallastown on Saturday.

"I'm sure they want to get back to that point," Miller said. "But you don't look past anyone. I know Saturday night we have a heck of a match."
dpaulling@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, extension 139; Twitter: @DanielPaulling

 
at Spring Grove
SPRING GROVE 67, NEW OXFORD 3
   106 -- Tanner Sterner, SG, dec. Mike Rudisill, 4-0; 113 -- Derek Carlisle, SG, maj. decision Lake Laughman, 10-1; 120 -- Zack Clingan, SG, won by forfeit; 126 -- Alec Zorbaugh, SG, pinned Zach Schreiber, 1:38; 132 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, tech. fall Guy Nitchman, 3:57 (15-0); 138 --Mike Hartman, SG, dec. Joel Zepp, 5-4; 145 -- Mason Bentzel, SG, pinned Slade Storm, 1:02; 152 -- Tyler Miller, SG, maj. decision Shane Hoff, 12-4; 160 -- Austin Barley, SG, pinned Eli Myers, 0:46; 170 --Jon Gross, SG, pinned George Bell, 0:31; 182 -- Andy Melhorn, SG, pinned Connor Rhodes, 0:25; 195 -- Charlie Hoffman, NO, dec. Tyler Beckner, 9-4; 220 -- Mike Lentz, SG, won by forfeit; 285 -- Alex Guinn, SG, pinned Trey Altland, :34.