HERSHEY -- For Bermudian Springs, the trip to the Giant Center for the PIAA team wrestling championships is a familiar one. For Spring Grove, it is a brand new experience altogether.
And the results for Thursday's opening round of the 2013 version of the state duals tournament mirrored that fact.
The Eagles, in Hershey for the second consecutive year, won the first four bouts against Burrell, including a big pin from Chase Mueller at 113, to ease past the visitors from the west, 34-29, Thursday afternoon.
The Rockets, making the program's first appearance in the big arena, ran into the buzzsaw that is Canon McMillan, the state's No. 1-ranked Class AAA team, and dropped a 42-22 decision to the defending state champions.
At 10 a.m. today, the Rockets (23-2) will meet Downingtown East (24-3) in a Class AAA consolation match. The Cougars dropped a 38-17 decision to District 10 champ Erie McDowell.
Bermudian (24-5) moves into today's Class AA quarterfinal round against Redbank Valley at noon. The District 9 champions (10-0) knocked off District 2 champion Western Wayne, 45-30.
Eagles coach Dave McCollum, sporting the same bleached hairdo as nearly every one of his wrestlers, knew winning in the lightweights would be the only way to knock off the District 7 power that beat Bermudian in the 2008 state final.
"We felt we needed to be strong from 106 to 126. We felt their strength (in the upper weights) was going to be against our strength. ... It worked out fantastic for us," he said.
Mueller opened the day with a first-period fall against Cody Brown in the 113-pound weight class. Dalton Becker (120), Ted Marines (126) and Jake Ford (132) followed with regular decisions, building up a 15-0 lead. Burell won the next three, two by major decision. But just when the District 7 champs looked as if they were going to make a match of it, Bermudian countered with three straight wins to seize control again.
At 160, Colton Dull registered a late takedown to earn a 12-4 major decision over Nick Pattock. Tristan Sponseller (170) followed with a 37-second pin of Zachery Smith with a tight 2-on-1 tilt before a second-period takedown provided Jake Slonaker (182) with the necessary points for a 4-1 decision over Cory Klems.
Winning the toss allowed Bermudian to then forfeit to returning PIAA finalist Dakota Deslauriers at 195 and bump Brock Linebaugh to 220 in search of a clinching victory. And the Eagle senior responded, turning Shane Cornuet almost at will during the second period before registering the fall at 3:37.
"I thought I was going to stick him eventually I was just working for back points. When he left his back open, I just took advantage of it," Linebaugh said.
With the victory secured, McCollum forfeited the last two bouts, something he hates to do.
"I don't like forfeiting but I know (the kids) understand at this point. It's the state meet," he said. "If we needed to not get pinned, we would have sent (regular 220-pound starter) Sam McCollum out (at heavyweight)."
Marines said the win over another of the state's small school powerhouses was a great way to start of the trip to Hershey.
"It's a real confidence booster. You know you can wrestle with all the teams here," the Eagles junior said. "Burrell's a really tough team, but we really took it to them today."
Spring Grove also got off to a great start against the Big Macs, ranked by some services among the top 10 scholastic teams in the country.
The YAIAA Division I champs got wins from Tyler Miller (152) and John Gross (170) and also were able to get Andy Melhorn away from Cody Wiercioch, returning state champion and No. 2 wrestler in the country at 170 behind Kennard-Dale's Chance Marstellar.
And Melhorn looked on his way to win No.3 for the Rockets, leading Steve LaFrance in the last 30 seconds of the match. But the Big Mac senior was able to hit a headlock and produced a fall with just 12 seconds left in the match, solidifying a nine-point swing.
"We won the flip and got what we wanted," Rockets head coach Tony Miller said. "Tyler wrestled a great match to start us off. ... Andy was wrestling good but he got caught and thrown (to his back).
"But that (pin) didn't end up (being the difference). They were just better than us."
Spring Grove got bonus points in each of their remaining victories. Derek Carlisle (113) registered a major decision while Dakota Laughman (132) and Mason Bentzel (145) earned a pin and a forfeit, respectively.
"I think this was just new for us," said Miller. "I thought (the wrestlers) were pretty relaxed. I guess we'll see what we can do (today)."
PIAA Team Championship
at Giant Center in Hershey
Central Dauphin 40, North Allegheny 14
Parkland 49, Mifflin County 9
Franklin Regional 54, Jersey Shore 15
Owen J. Roberts 33, Delaware Valley 26
Easton 38, DuBois 25
Upper Perkiomen 54, LaSalle College 21
McDowell 38, Downingtown East 17
Canon McMillan 42, Spring Grove 22
CANON MAC 42, SPRING GROVE 22
152 -- Tyler Miller, SG, dec. William Pihiou, 2-1. 160 -- Sammy Minor, CM, dec. Austin Barley, 9-2. 170 -- John Gross, SG, dec. Nick Konyk, 5-1. 182 -- Cody Wiercioch, CM, pinned Max Copenheaver, 1:37. 195 -- Steve LaFrance, CM, pinned Andy Melhorn, 5:48. 220 -- Alex Campbell, CM, pinned Mike Lentz, :45. 285 -- Angelo Broglia, CM, pinned Alex Guinn, 4:21. 106 -- Brendon Price, major dec. Levi Witmer, 8-0. 113 -- Derek Carlisle, SG, major dec. Josh Minor, 11-2. 120 -- Dalton Macri, CM, dec. Zack Clingan, 13-7. 126 -- Conner Schram, CM, tech. fall over Alec Zorbaugh, 1:59 (17-2). 132 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, pinned Josiah Hritsko, 3:38. 138 -- Alec Hutchin, CM, dec. Mike Hartman, 8-6, OT. 145 -- Mason Bentzel, SG, won by forfeit.
Central Dauphin (22-0) vs. Parkland (15-3)
Franklin Regional (20-3) vs. Owen J. Roberts (15-0)
Easton (17-1) vs. Upper Perkiomen (19-7)
McDowell (13-1) vs. Canon McMillan (16-0)
Bermudian Springs 34, Burrell 29
Redbank Valley 45, Western Wayne 30
Bethlehem Catholic 81, Lower Moreland 0
Fort LeBoeuf 34, Central Columbia 12
Reynolds 35, Saucon Valley 29
West Branch 33, South Fayette 23
Chestnut Ridge 49, Benton 23
Boiling Springs 31, Saegertown 25
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 34, BURRELL 29
113 -- Chase Mueller, BS, pinned Cody Brown, 1:34. 120 -- Dalton Becker, BS, dec. Noah Hanna, 6-2. 126 -- Ted Marines, BS, dec. Damon Greenwald, 6-3. 132 -- Jake Ford, BS, dec. Zack Wolford, 7-5. 138 -- Steven Edwards, B, major dec. Austin Jackson, 18-7. 145 -- Phillip Marra, B, dec. Briton Shelton, 7-4. 152 -- Corey Falleroni, B, major dec. Jared Spahr, 13-2. 160 -- Colton Dull, BS, major dec. Nick Pattock, 12-4. 170 -- Tristan Sponseller, BS, pinned Zachery Smith, :37. 182 -- Jake Slonaker, BS, dec. Cory Klems, 4-1. 195 -- Dakota Deslauriers, B, won by forfeit. 220 -- Brock Linebaugh, BS, pinned Shane Cornuet, 3:37. 285 -- Allan Beattie, B, won by forfeit. 106 -- Jason Roberts, B, won by forfeit.
Bermudian Springs (24-5) vs. Redbank Valley (10-0)
Bethlehem Catholic (14-0) vs. Fort Leboeuf (13-4)
Reynolds (19-2) vs. West Branch (23-2)
Boiling Springs (18-1) vs. Chestnut Ridge (21-1)