Bermudian duo earns District 3 titles
All week long, Bermudian Springs senior Noah Fleshman listened to teammate Austin Clabaugh joke about their respective histories at the District 3 tournament.
Fleshman entered this weekend's tournament having never made it past the district semifinals, while Clabaugh made the finals his freshman and junior seasons. Now however, both are leaving Hershey with matching gold medals.
In Saturday's District 3 Class 2A finals at the Giant Center, Clabaugh and Fleshman both earned the first district titles of their careers. They were the lone York-Adams wrestlers to win gold medals in 2A, with four others earning silvers.
"I've been hearing that all week, 'I've been in there twice already,'" Fleshman said. "So I said, 'Alright, you've got to win.' I was actually excited, I was pumped. It's another accomplishment, and since it's my last year, it's really important now."
Clabaugh and Fleshman highlighted a strong overall Bermudian Springs performance, with eight Eagles finishing in the top seven to qualify for districts. Bermudian also finished third in team points behind Northern Lebanon and Newport.
In the 126-pound final, Clabaugh overcame an early deficit to beat Boiling Springs' Kollin Myers, 8-4. After allowing a takedown in the first period, the Eagles senior turned Myers for back points in the second and repeated the move later in the third.
Despite finally earning a title after coming up one match short last season, Clabaugh barely cracked a smile as he discussed his win.
"Getting taken down is never part of the plan, but when it happens it seems to not be as bad for me as it would normally be," Clabaugh said. "It gives me the incentive that I need to score on top and it makes me a lot more willing to take the risk to get the turn. After three times, I'm definitely happy to get this one."
Fleshman, on the other hand, pumped his fists and let out a roar when he beat Boiling Springs' Austin Taylor, 9-1, in the 195-pound final. Fleshman dominated the match, picking up a second-period reversal before putting Taylor on his back to increase his lead.
After receiving a forfeit during Bermudian's dual meet victory over Boiling Springs this season, Fleshman had plenty of motivation to win on Saturday.
"(Taylor has) always been a little bit heavier than me, so I never got to wrestle him," Fleshman said. "I was ready to prove something, send a message. It's just a mind game and you've got to out-wrestle him. He's got a lot more strength than me and more muscle, but apparently I had a better game plan."
The York-Adams wrestlers who earned silver medals in 2A were Kennard-Dale 145-pounder Andrew Barnett, Bermudian Springs 152-pounder Ashton West, Delone Catholic 160-pounder Brian Shermeyer and Littlestown 170-pounder Carl Harris.
The most thrilling match of the day was the 160-pound final, where Shermeyer lost a 10-9 heartbreaker to Wyomissing's Tanner Vogel. Trailing by one late in the match, Shermeyer completed a reversal but was reversed himself at the buzzer.
"He got loose, I tried to cut him and give up one not two, but it didn't work out in my favor," Shermeyer said. "I've got to get better muscle endurance, my arms were dead tired the entire third period."
The rest of the York-Adams finalists didn't come as close, with Bennett losing by technical fall to Bishop McDevitt's John Pipa and Harris losing, 10-6, to Susquenita's Dalton Group. West dropped a 9-3 match to undefeated Susquehanna Township sophomore Edmond Ruth, the younger brother of former Penn State three-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth.