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Eagles, Mounts gear up for L-L Tourney
With most of the regular season dual meet schedule in the books, Ephrata and Cocalico wrestlers will now turn their sights on the L-L League Tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25 at Garden Spot High School.
While neither team has been outstanding in the dual meet portion of the schedule, several wrestlers from both teams have eyes on a medal this weekend.
Cocalico (2-3 Section Two) enters the L-L Tourney with some confidence after two recent dual meet wins over Ephrata and Elizabethtown.
Coach Matt Fittery said he hopes that confidence translates to more of the same success as a team this weekend.
“Team-wise, I think it would be great for us to finish in the top half (of team),” Fittery said Tuesday.
The Eagles return a pair of wrestlers who earned medals a year ago at L-Ls. Sophomore Adam Miller (19-7 at 113) made his debut last year and finished fifth overall at 106 pounds. Senior Hilton Martin (19-8 at 152) placed sixth in a loaded 145-pound field a year ago.
Those two are probably the Eagles’ best bets, however others looking to make some noise this weekend include: freshman Lucas Less (9-8) at 120; sophomore Abdul Saad (12-14) at 182; and freshman Brady Maxwell (5-2) at 285 to name a few.
“I think Adam Miller and Hilton Martin are both capable of placing high at this tournament,” Fittery said. “Adam has been wrestling really well lately, going 7-0 last week with five pins and two hard-fought decisions over tough kids. Hilton has been a little up and down, but when he is on, he is really tough.”
“I also think we have a few dark horses to place,” he continued. “Abdul Saad has been improving at an incredible rate and I would not be surprised at all to see him on the medal stand. Brady Maxwell has also done a real nice job so far stepping in as a freshman at heavyweight. We also have a few other freshman and sophomores that could contend for medal and this will be a great opportunity for them to see where they are at. I am excited to see how they do.”
As of presstime, Ephrata was still trying to figure out a lineup for L-Ls, with injuries to several of its better wrestlers, including Ethan Sipe, Joey Sarmento and Charles Sanmartin.
According to Coach Josh Clair, whatever lineup he chooses will go out and battle and collectively will give it their best efforts.
“We are still sorting our line-up out at a few weights,” Clair said Tuesday. “As a team we are going in looking at everything on a match-by-match basis. We have dealt with a bunch of injuries and other setbacks this year, so we will attack each match one at a time. We are looking for our guys to go out and give their best effort and fight until the final whistle. We have has some young guys wrestling well as of late and we want to see that carry over this weekend into leagues.”
A year ago, the Mounts sent five wrestlers to the medal stand, including then senior Todd Dumas, who won his 100th career match and captured gold by winning the 120-pound weight class. Sipe and Sarmento won a pair of fourth place medals at 145 and 113 respectively, and Cameron Eisenhauer earned sixth place at 195.
When asked about his top challengers this year, Clair said Eisenhauer (21-4) was his best bet while he mentioned Austin Jones (14-10 at 106), Dakota Rohrbaugh (14-12 at 152) and senior Mike Pacheco (13-9 at 145) as potential dark horses.
“Cam Eisenhauer is wrestling really well, but will have an extremely tough 195-weight class,” he said. “He currently is 21-4 with 14 falls and is leading the team. (Jones, Rohrbaugh and Pacheco), depending on their draws, could make some noise as well.”
Wrestling gets underway on Friday at 3 p.m., then resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Both squads were in Section Two dual meet action last Thursday as the Eagles took care of E-town, 50-18, while Ephrata fell short in a 58-6 loss to Conestoga Valley.
In the Eagles’ victory, Miller (120) picked up a key pin while Cocalico used six forfeits to gain the easy win.
Justin Moyer (106) and Hilton Martin (152) both added bonus points with a pair of major decision victories for Cocalico.
In Ephrata’s loss, the Mounts’ lone bright spots were Pacheco and Eisenhauer, who captured their only wins on the night. Pacheco pulled out a 5-3 victory at 145 while Eisenhauer was a 14-8 winner at 195.