Eidemiller caps career with 1-2 performance at Districts
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Admittedly, Riley Eidemiller was a bit wide-eyed when he strolled out onto the mat in Hersheypark Arena last Friday afternoon.
Making his first trip to the District Three Meet, either as a competitor or a fan, Eidemiller, had no idea of the atmosphere or the quality level of competition he was about to face.
The Ephrata senior soon learned, and although he held his own and won his first bout, saw his season come to a close with a pair of losses late Friday night.
"It was pretty sweet and a really great experience," Eidemiller said, looking back on his first District experience. "I really didn’t expect it to be like that at all. The competition was pretty tough, that’s for sure."
Eidemiller (29-9), hampered by an ankle injury suffered late in the regular season after missing the last two post-seasons because of ailments, started off the tournament with an impressive 10-7 victory over West York sophomore Noah Townsley.
Trailing 4-2 late in the second period, Eidemiller hit his signature pancake, which resulted in five points and gave him a 7-5 lead heading to the final period.
He then earned a quick escape and took down Townsley early in the period and rode it out for the victory.
"I knew I needed something to get back in the match," Eidemiller said. "I was looking for (the pancake) like I usually do. He didn’t fall for it the first couple times but eventually I got him."
According to Ephrata Coach Josh Clair, Eidemiller’s slow start vs. Townsley came down to a couple factors.
"He had wrestled Townsley twice last year and they were very familiar with each other," Clair said. "He also hesitated a little with his ankle still bothering him. But when it came down to it he was able to hit his pancake, which he has done so many times before to turn the match around."
Eidemiller added, "Everybody is good up there so any win or any good match you have it feels good. I felt like my injury did hold me back a little bit but everyone is good and if you are not 100 percent it can effect you."
That certainly was the case in his quarterfinal match vs. Big Spring’s Dustin Rook, the number one seed at 126 who would eventually go on to lose 10-5 in the finals to Manheim Township’s Courtland Schuyler.
Rook (17-2) had it going early against Eidemiller, scoring three takedowns and a tilt in the first to grab a commanding 8-2 lead after one. Rook would add a tilt and a five-point move late in the period to up the lead to 15-3, and would finish Eidemiller off early in the third for a 19-4 technical fall.
"Rook is a very long wrestler, which always is a tough match-up for Riley," Clair said. "He controlled the action and took Riley out of his game."
With the loss to Rook, Eidemiller moved to the consolation bracket where he met up with Northern freshman Jonathan Ross.
It turned out to be a very frustrating match for the Ephrata wrestler, who had a hard time mounting any attack on the talented freshman. Ross scored the lone points of the first with a takedown, and added an escape and another takedown for a 5-0 lead heading to the third.
From the bottom, Eidemiller struggled to get out in the third, finally escaping but with just 31 seconds to go. But any thoughts of a late comeback were erased when Ross got a takedown with 25 seconds remaining on his way to a 9-2 victory.
"I felt (Ross) was very similar to me, and he wrestled tough," Eidemiller said. "He was really good at tying my hands up, and once he had me down I couldn’t get out. I just needed to be on my feet more but it just didn’t happen."
Clair added, "Ross is a very tough and talented wrestler from Northern. He just controlled the match how he wanted and he frustrated Riley. It is always tough to rebound from a slow start in a match when your opponent dictates the action."
Despite being eliminated, Eidemiller, who is getting looks to continue wrestling at the collegiate level, said he enjoyed the experience and was pleased with his overall season.
"It was just exactly what I wanted this year," he said. "I almost reached my 30-win goal but fell one win short of that. But besides that, it was such a great year. I had so much fun. I definitely won’t be upset leaving on that note." More EIDEMILLER, page B-3