When Hanover wrestling coach Dave Cataldo looks at Bermudian Springs' wrestling program, he sees where he wants to take the Nighthawks.
On Thursday night, the Nighthawks took on Bermudian Springs, and the Eagles handed Hanover its first loss of the season, 52-21, at a packed Hawk House.
Thursday night's match also showed the greatest weakness of Cataldo's Hanover team: experience.
Hanover (3-1, 1-1 YAIAA Division II) jumped out to a 12-0 lead after a Bermudian forfeit at 138 pounds, and wins from Ian Brown and Tyler Shafer in matches that went the distance.
However, after that, it was all Bermudian as the Eagles (8-2, 4-0 Division II) outscored Hanover 52-9, with Hanover winning only one more match that wasn't forfeited.
"A lot of our kids wrestling in the upper weight classes, this is their first year of wrestling," Cataldo said. "That's a big part of it. We don't have a lot of the experience that other wrestlers do. We are wrestling a lot of tough opponents, and that will only help us get better."
Bermudian won all six matches between 160 and 285. Colton Dull and Tristan Sponseller picked up wins by forfeit at 160 and 182. In between, Jake Slonaker grabbed a 5-0 lead over Hanover's Josh Martin at 170 before finishing him off with 49.5 seconds left in the first period.
Wrestling at 195, Bermudian's Brock Linebaugh earned four three-point near falls to take a 14-0 lead in the opening period of his match with Tyler Wentz.
Linebaugh gained control early and finally flipped Wentz onto his back 52 seconds in, holding him for the five-count. Wentz twice nearly escaped, but both times, he got to a standing position and Linebaugh slung him back down to the mat and held for five seconds.
Linebaugh closed the technical fall with a two-point near fall just 28 seconds into the second period.
Bermudian stretched the lead to 35-12 after first-period pins by Sam McCollum and Brady Linebaugh at 220 and 285, respectively.
"I was really pleased with the way Briton Shelton wrestled against Ian Brown and Jared Spahr against Tyler Shafer, keeping those to three-pointers," Bermudian head coach Dave McCollum said. "We had a total team effort. Even with the matches we lost, we didn't give up bonus points to their really good kids, and I think our other wrestlers responded."
It was a particularly impressive performance considering that, according to McCollum, Bermudian was missing its 106- and 138-pound wrestlers and had to forfeit both matches.
"We are fighting adversity," McCollum said. "We're hoping to get our best lineup four this weekend's tough tournament at Lancaster Catholic. Both of them will be back by Saturday."
The forfeit at 106 stopped the bleeding as Hanover closed to 35-18.
During the next match, literal bleeding began as the nose of the Nighthawks' Giuliani Graziosi was bloodied during an intense stretch of grappling with Bermudian's Chase Mueller in the second period of the 113-pound match.
With the bleeding stanched, Graziosi held on to win a slow-paced 2-1 win.
Bermudian won the last three matches, with pins coming from Dalton Becker and Jake Ford and Ted Marines recording a technical fall.
Still, Cataldo remained positive after the match.
"We're sprawling a lot better and not getting our feet caught in the mat," Cataldo said of his young wrestlers. "We're still making some mistakes that you see in elementary school, but there is a lot of improvement that you see. A lot of them are starting to get a feel and hang for this sport, and that's really hard to do."
BERM. SPRINGS 52, HANOVER 21
138 -- Travis Golden, Han, won by forfeit; 145 -- Ian Brown, Han, dec. Briton Shelton, 8-3; 152 -- Tyler Shafer, Han, dec. Jared Spahr, 5-2; 160 -- Colton Dull, BeS, won by forfeit; 170 -- Jake Slonaker, BeS, pinned Josh Martin, 1:10; 182 -- Tristan Sponseller, BeS, won by forfeit; 195 -- Brock Linebaugh, BeS, tech. fall Tyler Wentz, 2:28 (16-0); 220 -- Sam McCollum, BeS, pinned Logan Hamm, 1:26; 285 -- Brady Linebaugh, BeS, pinned Ryan Bowman, 1:59; 106 --Sasha Watson, Han, won by forfeit; 113 -- Giuliani Graziosi, Han, dec. Chase Mueller, 2-1; 120 -- Dalton Becker, BeS, pinned Devon Bell, 0:31; 126 -- Ted Marines, BeS, tech. fall Caleb Garland, 4:49 (15-0); 132 -- Jake Ford, BeS, pinned Zach Barnes, 1:39.