Ship is in position to reach district team tourney
Tony Yaniello expected his Shippensburg wrestling team to have several close matches Saturday at the six-team Gettysburg Duals.
And that's exactly what he got.
Fortunately for the Greyhounds, they came out on the winning end four times, and that's the end result Yaniello was looking for. The 4-1 record boosted Ship (8-2) into the No. 12 ranking in the District 3 Class 3A rankings, one spot behind Chambersburg.
With only one dual meet left before the cutoff - a likely win over West Perry - and a field of 16 teams, the Hounds (8-2) have likely earned their first-ever District 3 team championship tournament berth.
"There was a lot parity (Saturday), so that made it exciting," Yaniello said. "We have six or seven good kids, so it's important to us to win the coin flip and get the matchups we want.
"In the losses against Big Spring (39-36 in December) and Bermudian Springs (39-30 on Saturday), we didn't win the flip and they were able to move some kids away from our top guys. I wanted to move some of our guys up, but I couldn't."
Shippensburg had four wrestlers go 5-0 for the day: Chandler Olson, Levi Shoemaker, Cole Forrester and Cameron Tinner. Olson rolled up five pins and was given the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
"Eddie Ocker pinned a kid from Bermudian that he had lost to earlier this year, and Jeffery Russell had a good day, too," Yaniello said.
TOUGH ROAD: Chambersburg has competed in the Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock South for several years now, and it's grown in stature every year.
The Trojans got a first-hand look at how strong the event has become.
"We took 11 kids down there, and six of them were beaten by a finalist," Chambersburg coach Matt Mentzer said. "We had two kids lose to guys ranked No. 1 in the country and another lost to a No. 2-ranked kid. So we got to wrestle against the best there is, and some of our kids wrestled them tough.
"They got a look at what the next level looks like."
That would be true for Drew Peck as well. Peck is ranked high in the state and in the top 20 nationally, and for the second time this year he faced Michael Beard of Malvern Prep, this time in the final. And both times, Beard won by tech fall.
Mentzer said, "Beard is the real deal. This match was exactly like the first one. He's just too good and too powerful. He made Drew look like he was in a lower weight class.
"Just to sit and watch those finals was really entertaining. The quality was that good."
COMING UP: The top dual meet this week should be State College at Chambersburg on Thursday at 7 p.m. These teams have had plenty of close matches and appear pretty evenly matched this year.
Greencastle-Antrim and Waynesboro compete in the New Oxford Tournament, an individual event, on Friday and Saturday. Also Saturday, Mercersburg Academy hosts Kiski in their annual grudge match, while James Buchanan wrestles both Cedar Crest and York Vo-Tech at Vo-Tech.