A-C's Inman golden again
HERSHEY >> Competing in three consecutive district championship matches is a great achievement. Winning two straight? That's downright impressive.
After losing in his first taste of the District Three Wrestling Championships in 2013 to last year's PIAA champion, Hanover's Ian Brown, Annville-Cleona's Jeffrey Inman responded with his first district championship last year at 138 pounds.
As an encore, Inman defeated Boiling Springs senior Tyler Kauffman on Saturday at Hersheypark Arena to claim the 152-pound district crown. It came unceremoniously by medical default in just 24 seconds after Kauffman injured his knee and was unable to continue.
About 15 seconds into the action, Inman hit a high single on Kauffman looking for a takedown. Kauffman jumped to avoid Inman's leg sweep and injured his knee in the process. After a minute and a half of injury time it was decided Kauffman could not continue.
"It was kinda bittersweet," said Inman of his second consecutive gold medal and the way it ended. "You never wanna go out and hurt your opponent. ... It just really, really sucks that it happened so early in the match because we really didn't get to wrestle. It makes it really bittersweet."
Injuries are no stranger to Inman, who missed a portion of this season and the state tournament last season with injuries of his own.
"I definitely do (feel for him)," said Inman when asked if he can relate to Kauffman's situation. "Last year with that concussion, that put me out; my season was over. I didn't even go to states. I really hope he can recover from this and go on to regionals.
"I told him to get well. He's got a week to heal up because he's gotta be ready for regionals. You can't miss that; it's his senior year I'm pretty sure."
Inman wasn't the only Lebanon County grappler in the finals – a pair of Northern Lebanon wrestlers, Luke Funck (160) and Matt Vines (220), also competed in championship matches, each coming out on the losing end of things. Funck dropped an 8-1 decision to Boiling Springs' John Vaughn while Vines lost 5-0 to Bermudian Springs' Sam McCollum.
In the semifinals, Funck advanced to the championship with a 5-1 victory over Susquenita's Dalton Group after a 3-1 decision over Bermudian Springs' Noah Fleshman in the quarterfinals.
Vines, meanwhile, notched a 3-1 win over Delone Catholic's Michael Rider in the semifinals after a fall in 1:14 over Boiling Springs' Rickie Ott in the quarterfinals.
In all, 10 Lebanon County wrestlers will compete in next week's PIAA southeast regional tournament at Wilson High School with Northern Lebanon sending six and Annville-Cleona four.
In addition to Funck and Vines, the Vikings will also send Dustin Breidegan (106), Quinn Blatt (138), Craig Spitler (182) and Evan Daub (170).
The six place-winners propelled the Vikings to a third-place finish in the team standings with 98 points. Boiling Springs won the team title with 166.5 points while Bermudian Springs was second with 117 points.
The Little Dutchmen advanced Inman, Josh Renninger (132), Matthew Darok (138), and Mark Wagner (160).
Despite his championship match not going the way he wanted it, Inman took a moment to let his second straight district title sink in.
"Right after the match? Not really," said Inman. "You can have these screaming fans and stuff, but two in a row is still awesome. It's an awesome feeling to have this gold medal around my neck."
A gold medal is great, so surely he would want another one next week, right?
"Oh yeah, definitely."
Contact Andrew Mease at 771-2022