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Chad Lammer, Dumas and Wolf all earn silver at L-L Tourney
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
With time winding down Saturday at Conestoga Valley and trailing Pequea Valley’s Drew Jackson by a 3-2 score, Ephrata’s Chad Lammer tried desperately to finish off the bout with one final takedown which would have given him the win and ultimately the gold medal at 138 pounds.
He, and the Ephrata coaching staff thought he had it. Unfortunately, the referee didn’t agree.
Lammer’s late takedown attempt at the edge of the circle was denied and the Ephrata senior’s outstanding run in the L-L League Tournament fell just short of gold.
"It wasn’t just at the end," Ephrata Coach josh Clair lamented when asked about the final seconds of the match. "There were a couple times in scramble situations, which is Chad’s strength, we thought that he was in position for the takedown but obviously he didn’t get the call. There was just some hesitation by the official and any time there is any hesitation it’s never going to turn out the way you want it to."
Despite the narrow defeat, it was a solid day overall for the Mounts on Saturday. Ephrata had eight-place finishers while finishing fifth in the team standings with 117 points. Solanco easily captured the title with 258 points, with Manheim Township (199.5) a distant second.
For the Mounts, Chad Lammer and junior Todd Dumas (120) each led the way with silver medal performances. Seniors Mike Lammer (145) and Danny Matos (285) both earned fourth place finishes while junior Riley Eidemiller (126) placed fifth. Freshman Randy Wintersohl (106), sophomore Ethan Sipe (132) and fellow 10th grader Cameron Eisenhauer (195) rounded out the place winners, finishing eighth.
"We started slow and it wasn’t the greatest first day on Friday, but we kind of really caught fire on Saturday morning," Clair said. "And overall the kids did very well.
"Eight place winners is the most I could find that we ever placed in school history. And since I’ve been here, fifth place is the highest that we’ve finished. Yet at the same time I think we could have done so much more. We are happy but we are never satisfied."
While Ephrata collected plenty of hardware, Cocalico had a disappointing finish to the weekend. At one point Saturday afternoon, the Eagles still had seven wrestlers with a shot at earning medals. In the end, senior Teddy Wolf was the lone place winner as he claimed second at 152 pounds, losing an 8-3 decision to Solanco’s Joe Welk in the finals.
"Overall, our team did not perform very well," Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said. "I was happy when we had two guys in the semifinals and five in the third round of consolations, but then we had a bad round and all five of those guys lost. We had the potential to get a few of those guys into the medal round, but we just didn’t get the job done."
Wolf (21-2) scored three-straight decision victories to gain his finals bid opposite Welk, who earlier this year gave the Cocalico senior his lone loss (a 5-4 decision on Dec. 9) prior to Saturday. Wolf knocked off Hempfield’s Andrew Wardrop, 6-0 in the first round before downing Manheim Central’s Ben Wise, 5-3, in the quarters and Lancaster Catholic’s Stephen Loiseau, 3-2, in the semifinals.
In the finals, Wolf fell behind 2-0 after one period and never found his rhythm. Welk hit another take down in the second and earned back points to open up a big 7-0 cushion heading to the third. Wolf did finally get on the board with an escape and takedown but Welk wrapped up the 11-3 victory with a four-point period himself.
"Teddy did not do as well as he could have," Fittery said. "Hopefully he can use that as a learning experience and use it as motivation to reach his post-season goals. It doesn’t matter if you lose to a guy two or three times in the regular season, if you beat him in the post season, that is all that really matters."
Cocalico senior Kam Mueller also was in line to earn a medal after advancing to the semifinals. However, following his 6-5 loss to Lancaster Catholic’s Isiah Taltoan, Mueller was disqualified for the remainder of the tournament and therefore did not have an opportunity to receive a medal.
Cocalico wrestlers who advanced as far as the third round of consolations were: sophomore Ethan Miller at 112; freshman Mike Reitenbach at 126; sophomore Hilton Martin at 138; sophomore Austin Fromm at 182; and Dan Mullins at 195.
"It was nice to see some of the younger guys pick up some wins, but I think we all could have improved on our performance," Fittery said.
Chad Lammer’s road to the finals was a treacherous one as the 138-pound weight class was generally considered the toughest of the tourney. He opened the tourney with a pin over Lancaster Catholic’s Skyler Munoz in 5:06.
He then knocked off Columbia’s Jordan Halter, a defending L-L champion, by a 7-5 score to earn a semifinals bid against Manheim Township junior Adam Smith (14-3), who was gunning for his third-straight L-L crown.
But Lammer (10-5) wasn’t going to be denied. Trailing 8-7 heading to the third, Lammer started on the bottom and appeared he was going to stay there. However, with just six seconds to go, Lammer came out from the bottom for the reversal and held on for the 9-8 win that sent shock waves throughout the CV gymnasium.
But Lammer couldn’t quite finish it off in the finals, as Jackson (22-4) scored early with a double and later added a second period escape for a 3-1 lead. Lammer escaped to open the third but couldn’t score the rest of the way, despite his efforts, and Jackson captured the win and later the Outstanding Wrestler Award for the tourney.
"Ultimately, we still have to be pleased with Chad’s performance," Clair said. "Silver is not what he wanted but he had to go through Murderer’s Row to get there. He beat two defending league champs and Smith was a two-time champ so Chad kind of ended the chance of (Smith) being a four-time champ which is very rare. In the latest rankings (Smith) was ranked seventh in the state so Chad definitely went through his toughest competition prior (to the finals). I think maybe the bright lights of the finals may have gotten to him a little. He was just a little slow out of the gate and any time there is a little hesitation to start your match you are not going to get the outcome that you want when you have a good competitor like Jackson."
Like Chad Lammer, Dumas (17-3) impressed on his way to the finals Saturday. He opened the tourney with an 11-4 decision over Manheim Central’s David Fantom, and then techfalled Lancaster Catholic’s John Fiorill 15-0 (4:16) in the quarters.
A familiar face in Hempfield’s Dakota Minnich, who earned his 100th win Saturday, awaited Dumas in the semis. This was the third time this year the two squared off, and the second straight in which Dumas was in full control on his way to a 9-0 victory and a spot in the finals.
Unfortunately for Dumas, his hopes of a title were derailed in the finals as Manheim Township’s Courtland Schuyler (18-3) used a big third period to capture the 120-pound crown. With the score tied at 2-2 heading to the third, Schuyler escaped before collecting a takedown and three back points to secure the win.
"Todd’s definitely stepped it up the last month or so but going into the finals you could tell he definitely wasn’t himself," Clair said. "I think the nerves were getting to him a little bit. That’s not an excuse but…Courtland Schuyler is a tough kid, a returning champ and he definitely kind of set the tone and controlled the match in the positions he wanted to be in. He took Todd out of his game a little bit and definitely made it a little more challenging than we hoped."
Mike Lammer (15-3) and Matos (20-11) both advanced to the third-place matches at their respective weight classes. However, Lammer dropped a tough 7-5 decision to Garden Spot’s Rob King at 145 while Matos was pinned in 16 seconds by CV’s Joey Bragg.
Eidemiller (21-11) wrapped up fifth place, taking a default win over E-town’s Owen Bradley at 126. Wintersohl (13-14), Sipe (16-11), and Eisenhauer (17-10) all dropped their seventh-place matches to place eighth at their respective weight classes.
"If you look at it we had a bunch of guys improve on their original seedings," Clair said. "Mike Lammer and Danny Matos both came in as fifth seeds and both place fourth. I thought they both didn’t wrestle their best matches in their final matches of the day. I had hoped they’d be able to sneak in and get that third-place finish, but again it was improvement. They also made improvements on their places from last year.
"The one that didn’t surprise us but probably a lot of other people was Riley Eidemiller. He came in as the ninth seed and ended up finishing in fifth place. He’s wrestling really well. His quarterfinal match with the top seed Owen Bradley, he lost by two and Bradley had pinned him previously. Randy Wintersohl improved on his seed, and Ethan Sipe and Cameron Eisenhauer both placed. It was nice to see those young guys get to the podium and get those medals." More TOURNEY, page B-4