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Wrestler's forfeit leads to opponent's milestone

The Chambersburg wrestling team won every match it faced Saturday at the Wilson Duals Tournament and came home carrying the team championship trophy.

But the Trojans also won a lot of respect for a bout they didn't even wrestle.

In its last dual meet of the day, Chambersburg took on Conestoga Valley. One of the Buckskins' top wrestlers, Lucas Ortiz, came out on the mat for the first bout of the meet at 152 pounds, and was awarded a forfeit victory.

It was the 100th victory of his high school career, and it will also be his last.

Ortiz had 99 career wins by the end of the season last February. It seemed like it would be simply a matter of a short time until he opened his senior year with the milestone victory.

Except that Ortiz, who will wrestle at Lock Haven next year, tore an ACL and damaged the meniscus in his knee in October and can't wrestle this year.

Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said, "Lucas has been on some freestyle teams in the offseason with some of our kids, so we know him, and he's a good kid. We had heard about him being stuck on 99 wins, and I had talked to him earlier this year (at the Carlisle tournament) and knew he was frustrated about it.

"I remembered that we were going to face them in the Wilson tournament. So when that match came up, I spelled out the situation with our kids and told them to go talk about it and see what they wanted to do."

The Trojans came back with an answer: Senior Matt Strunk agreed to forfeit his match at 152 to Ortiz, which would be the magic win No. 100.

Strunk said, "Some of our guys know Lucas pretty well and said he's a really good guy, so we wanted to do something for him. I told the guys that Colin (Runshaw) should go up to 160 and I'll give up the forfeit at 152. It wasn't a hard decision for me - he's a senior and was stuck on 99 wins and it was the right thing to do."

Ortiz said, "That meant a lot to me. Not so much because it put me at 100 wins, but it just shows that they are great guys."

"The guys put our team aside to help out somebody we consider a friend," Mentzer said. "That meant we were down 6-0 to start and it was a match we had to win to be the tournament champion.

"I've been around wrestling a long time and I've never seen that before. Matty Strunk gave up a potential win to do that for him. I was pretty proud of him and the whole team."

Strunk said, "(Ortiz) was very grateful. He came over and shook hands with the whole team, and the Conestoga Valley fans were standing up cheering for him."

Now Ortiz can concentrate on rehabbing his knee and getting ready for the next stage of his wrestling career.

"I was ready in case that situation would come up and I could take a forfeit," Ortiz said, "but I don't think it could have happened after Saturday, because of league meets (and the postseason). It was just nice that I knew some of the Chambersburg guys and they made it happen."