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Double the joy Dumas claims L-L League title, reaches Century Mark in wins
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Todd Dumas was undeterred.
The Ephrata senior wrestler entered the Lancaster-Lebanon League Wrestling Tournament held this past weekend at CV needing four wins to reach 100 for his career.
The quickest, and perhaps most dramatic path to that mark would have been to sweep through his 120-pound weight class and clinch both his first L-L title while reaching the Century Mark with a victory in the finals.
Dumas reached the finals impressively, thanks to three first-period falls through the semifinal round. Then in the finals against Garden Spot freshman Chance Norris, Dumas put together an eight-point second period to pull away for the eventual 12-6 triumph, netting him both the 120-pound title and a piece of Ephrata history.
"This feels awesome," Dumas said after receiving his gold medal Saturday night, "and everybody got to see it. I’m proud of myself, my mom is proud and my coaches are proud…I tried my best to get to this point, and to do this is pretty amazing."
Dumas, who was a runner-up as a junior and took fifth place as a sophomore, is Ephrata’s first L-L League champ since 2008 when both Jared Becker and Blake Crowther each won crowns. He also became just the seventh athlete in Mountaineer wrestling history to become a member of the 100-win club, joining former greats Nick Rock (123 wins), Shane Hyman (120), Nate Rock (119), Jason Frable (102), Pat Detweiler (102) and current Manheim Township Coach Tim Rice (101).
"For Todd, (reaching 100 wins and winning a league title) were two of his biggest goals this year," Ephrata Coach Josh Clair said. "To achieve them at the same time takes a lot off his shoulders. For him to do it (in the finals of the league tournament) is a rare thing and truly a great feeling. Both are great achievements and he accomplished them both at the same moment, that’s awesome."
Dumas (27-3) was one of five place winners for the Mounts, who went on to finish a respectable ninth place in the team standings with 108 points.
In addition to Dumas, fellow senior Riley Eidemiller closed out a strong tournament with a runner-up finish at 126. Juniors Joey Sarmento (113) and Ethan Sipe (145) both earned fourth-place finishes while Cameron Eisenhauer took sixth at 195.
"Going in I felt we could place five individuals and finish in the top 10," Clair said. "Well, we placed five and finished ninth as a team out of 22."
Cocalico, which placed 18th in the team standings with 42 points, had a pair of wrestlers place at the tournament. Freshman Adam Miller closed out a fine first L-L Tourney with a fifth place showing at 106 pounds. And junior Hilton Martin finished sixth overall at a strong 145-pound weight class.
"Overall, I think we could have done better," Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said of his team’s weekend, "but we have a young team and were just a few little mistakes away from having a couple more medalists."
Dumas, the top seed at 120 pounds, opened the tournament with a 14-second pin of Warwick’s Marcus Tout in the first round. He later followed up with a 1:45 fall against Hempfield David Good to reach the semifinals opposite Donegal’s Darren Miller.
He wasted little time vs. Miller, decking him in 1:27 to reach the finals for the second-straight year. However, this time, Dumas would not be denied his gold against Norris (24-8), who edged Manheim Township’s David Graves, 2-0, in the semifinals.
Dumas drew first blood, getting in on the legs of Norris eight seconds into the bout for a quick 2-0 lead. He later sandwiched another takedown between a pair of escapes by Norris, and led 4-2 late in the period.
However, as the period was winding down, Norris shot in at the edge of the mat, and Dumas, thinking the period was over, fell to the mat. After a quick discussion, it was ruled that Norris got the takedown before the buzzer, and all of a sudden it was tied up at 4-4.
"I heard the ref say, ‘time,’ but all of a sudden he awarded him two," Dumas said. "That kind of got me fired up."
After escaping to regain the lead at 5-4 to open the second, Dumas eventually secured another takedown and parlayed that into a cradle, to fully take command of the bout. He cruised from there and held on for the biggest win of his career.
"I wrestled really well on my feet and tried my best," Dumas said when asked about his big second period. "He shot into my leg, I scooted around, locked the cradle and just turned him."
Clair said a less-composed wrestler may have been affected by giving up the takedown at the end of the first, but not Dumas.
"Todd has been through so much throughout his high school career," he said. "He is 100-30 and has been in very similar situations. Mentally he is very focused and has maintained his composure throughout this season. He knows what needs to be done and how to do it, so whether he is winning, losing, or tied he has that confidence that he can get the job done through all situations."
As far as the rest of the season is concerned, Dumas now has his eyes on qualifying for the State Tournament for the first time.
"I want to make it to States," he said. "My coaches say I have the potential so I just keep trying my best every time out on the mat. I lost a couple matches to some real good kids. I mean, they beat me by one so I’m right there. They are all state qualifiers, so I’m right there at the border line."
Eidemiller (24-6) was nearly equally impressive as was Dumas through the first three rounds. He opened with a first-period pin against Donegal’s Taylor Johnson, before landing a spot in the semifinals with a 10-5 decision over Matt Schneider of Penn Manor.
In the semifinals, and opposite second-seeded Caleb Blatt of Northern Lebanon, who came in with just one loss on the year at 31-1, the Ephrata senior came out and quickly dropped Blatt on his back for a stunning 37 second fall to punch his ticket to the finals.
"That felt good," Eidemiller said of his semifinal win. "I knew that kid was going to be tough so I’m glad I put it away early."
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well in the finals against Manheim Township junior Courtland Schuyler, a two-time L-L champ going in. Eidemiller did come out aggressively, trying to lock on a headlock early in the match. Unfortunately, it slipped off and Schuyler (31-4) countered for a quick four-point move which led to an eventual 6-1 cushion for the Blue Streak after one period, and he cruised from there on his way to a 17-5 major decision and his third-straight title.
"I had a few moves," Eidemiiler said. "I was hoping some of my favorites would work for me but it wasn’t working like the other matches. (Schuyler) was just really good at countering all of my moves. He’s quick on his feet with the ankle pick."
Despite the loss, Clair said he was real pleased with the way Eidemiller performed.
"Riley was jacked after the match with Blatt in the semis," he said. "I thought he was going to break the scorer’s table while trying to sign his bout sheet. And he did carry over that emotion into the finals. Schuyler is just a buzz-saw. He has very few weaknesses and is good in all situations. What people don’t realize is that of Riley’s six losses, five are to guys ranked in the top 20 in the state. He has wrestled great competition and has beaten state-ranked kids. He does not and will not shy away from the top-tier kids and that is a huge benefit for him as we move toward the post-season."
Both Sarmento and Sipe had solid showings in wrapping up fourth place at their respective weights.
Sarmento (21-11) won his first bout before falling 10-2 to eventual finalist Austin Laws of Solanco in the quarterfinals. But the Ephrata junior came back strong in the consolations, winning three-straight bouts before falling by pin to Manheim Township’s Victor Kenderdine in the third-place match.
Sipe advanced to the semifinals after a pair of impressive wins in the first two rounds, and came within an eyelash of earning a trip to the finals. In the semis and trailing 3-2 to Solanco’s Kyle Hammond, Sipe furiously tried to get the potential winning takedown in the final seconds. However, Hammond, who was earlier warned for stalling, did just enough to hold on and avoid a second stalling call to close out the one-point victory.
Sipe did respond to earn a 10-5 victory over Cocalico’s Martin in his first consolation bout and avenge a loss earlier in the season to Martin. However, in the third-place match against Garden Spot’s Adam Finkey, the Spartan overcame a late 4-3 Sipe lead, pinning the Ephrata wrestler with just 14 seconds to go to claim third.
Like Sipe, Eisenhauer (22-11) won his first two bouts of the tournament handily to earn a semifinals appearance opposite top-seeded Jeff Pickel of Lampeter-Strasburg. Pickel, undefeated at 26-0 and the eventual champion, fought off Eisenhauer’s upset bid en route to a 9-4 decision.
The Ephrata junior then dropped a 14-2 decision to Manheim Central’s Rey Lasanta in the consy semifinals, before losing a 2-0 decision to Warwick’s Carson Snavely in the fifth-place match.
Cocalico’s Miller (18-9) wrestled back from a first-round loss to Manheim Central’s Caleb Enck to reach the fifth-place bout opposite Enck (19-14). In the rematch, with the score tied 2-2 in the third, Miller hit a headlock off a takedown for a big five-point move late to earn a 7-2 victory and fifth-place overall.
"Adam wrestled a great tournament," Fittery said. "It was great to see him come back and beat a kid that he has lost to twice. That shows a lot of heart and shows that he is constantly getting better. He proved that he can wrestle with some of the best 106 pounders around. Hopefully he can carry that momentum into the post-season as well."
Martin (19-10) opened the tournament with a pin against Annville-Cleona’s Dalton Himmelberger, but was knocked to the loser’s bracket after getting techfalled by Manheim Central’s Jared Siegrist in the quarterfinals. He would go on to meet Siegrist again in the fifth-place match.
In that one, Siegrist (24-5) held a 4-0 lead before ending it with a pin against the Cocalico junior in 2:27.
Miller was one of three Eagles to go down in the quarters, joining Trevor Fichtorn at 126 and John Fry at heavyweight. Noulong Lor, at 220, wrestled back for two wins after a first-round loss.
According to Fittery, had a few things gone their way, the Eagles could have very easily put a few more guys on the podium Saturday night.
"Hilton got a sixth-place medal which is good, but I think he could’ve done even better," Fittery said. "We also had a few young guys that were right there. Trevor was wrestling real well, but then just got a little sloppy and got caught in his last match. John lost a close one in his last match to a guy (Anthony Deyo of No. Lebanon) who went on to medal. And Noulong wrestled well picking up two wins. It was very disappointing when we lost all those matches the last round on Friday night, but overall the effort was there and most of the guys wrestled tough. We just have to take it as a learning experience and improve on it for sectionals."
In addition to the L-L Tournament, both Ephrata and Cocalico wrapped up Section Two play last Wednesday night.
The Mounts had an easy time of it against Lebanon in an eventual 62-15 victory. Ephrata took advantage of five forfeit wins and also added key pins by Dumas (120), Eidemiller (126), David Donnelly (132) and Sipe (145) to key the lopsided victory.
Cocalico, meanwhile, was on the wrong end of a 60-16 verdict against Lampeter-Strasburg.
Fry led the way for Cocalico with a pin at heavyweight while Fichtorn added a major decision victory at 126.
Both Ephrata and Cocalico will now compete in some non-league action in preparation for sectionals which will be held Feb. 16. Ephrata will close the regular season with dual meets at home vs. Cedar Crest Thursday before finishing it off with a meet at Warwick on Feb. 5, beginning at 7 p.m.
Cocalico will travel to Annville-Cleona Thursday before competing in the Eastern York Tournament this Saturday. The Eagles will close out the regular season Feb. 7 with a dual meet at Elco (7 p.m.). More WRESTLERS, page B-5