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Eidemiller lone Mount to advance Injured Dumas makes tough decision
By: TODD RUTH & BRUCE MORGAN Review Staff, Staff Writer
The Section III Wrestling Tournament was a bittersweet one for Ephrata.
Prior to the tournament ever getting started, the Mounts learned that L-L League champion and 100-win senior Todd Dumas was forced to pull out of the tourney with a degenerative wrist condition, which officially put an end to his season.
On the bright side, fellow senior Riley Eidemiller, who was injured the last two post-seasons, went on to place second at 126 pounds to punch his ticket into the District Three Championships.
Unfortunately, Eidemiller was the lone Ephrata wrestler to advance to Districts, which get underway Friday, 3:15 p.m. at Hersheypark Arena.
Other hopefuls, Ethan Sipe (145) and Cameron Eisenhauer (195), both came up short of advancing to Districts while Joey Sarmento (113) was forced to default because of an injury.
"We came in and we knew we were injured and we walked away with even more," Ephrata Coach Josh Clair. "I mean, we had Joey Sarmento re-injured his ribs and was taken to the hospital for evaluation to make sure he didn’t have any more internal damage. And we just… We knew coming in we had to wrestle well to get more guys through to Districts and with the injuries we were dealing with, it was going to be tough to overcome. But it’s a tough sport, there’s a reason why not many kids do it and there’s a reason why not everyone can say they’re District qualifiers. So what we need to do now is we just need to get healthy and get these guys ready for the off-season and for next year."
"(At least) we weren’t shut out and that’s always a concern every year that every coach has and we’ve got one guy through," he continued. "We hoped to get more guys through, but in the end we have somebody continuing on, so we’ve got another week of work to do."
That somebody is Eidemiller (28-7), who was less than a 100 percent after suffering a sprained right ankle while taking on Warwick’s Logan Stroh in the Mounts’ final dual meet on Feb. 6. But the Mounts’ number two seed at 126 gutted it out, knocking off Manheim Central’s Jordan Esbenshade 11-6 in his first match, and then decking Penn Manor’s Matt Schneider in 2:37 in the semis.
Besides assuring himself a spot in the finals, his fall against Schneider enabled Eidemiller to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
"Basically, I had a lot of pressure, a lot of stress from knowing I was injured and I had a lot of doubts about going on to Districts, which I really wanted all year long," said Eidemiller, who missed last year’s Sectionals with an injured left ankle. "So by the time I was able to make it past (the semi-finals) and I knew I was guaranteed going to Districts, that was just a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I was able to just relax and wrestle like normal."
His task, though, was not an easy one, as Township’s top-seeded Cortlandt Schuyler (37-4), a PIAA State qualifier in 2012, was standing between Eidemiller and the gold. The Blue Streaks’ junior took control early, scoring the first of 11 takedowns with 1:34 left in the first period. In the end, Schuyler recorded a 27-10 tech fall in 3:39.
"I knew what he was going to do," Eidemiller said. "He’s so quick and with my ankle, he just made it probably a little bit easier for him to take me down. I’d say I was a little slower and he was quite a bit faster."
As he turns his attention to Districts, Eidemiller will get therapy for the ankle in the days leading up to the tournament. He figures that he will be about 80 to 90 percent when he steps onto the mat against West York Noah Townsley (26-5), a wrestler he has faced twice earlier in his career.
"(The ankle) is going to affect me, but I’ll fight through it," he said. "My goal is just to take it one step at a time and get my first win and keep winning, hopefully."
While Eidemiller will be moving on, Dumas will be left with the memories of what was turning out to be a great senior season before having it cut short.
He said he initially injured it prior to the L-L League Meet, which he went on to capture both the league title at 120 pounds and get his 100th-career win. However, the pain persisted so he went to the Dr., who diagnosed it as, "Kienboch’s disease," which is a disease of the wrist where the bone eventually dies.
"I sprained it but I kept wrestling and it kept getting worse and eventually formed into the disease," Dumas explained.
"Dumas sat out the remainder of the league season but was initially entered in Sectionals before deciding to pull the plug and bow out.
"Down in the wrestling room, every time I’d wrestle it would just put me in a lot of pain. I just couldn’t take it," he said. "It took me the whole week to (make the decision). I was talking to a couple of my friends, my coach, and I talked to my mom just to figure out what I should do. I just made the decision to sit out."
Clair added, "Obviously, he had aspirations to make it to States. He was a two-time District qualifier, but what it came down to is, he got a rare disease in his wrist and had severe amount of pain. He gave it a shot at practice this week and just realized that, he wants to try to go wrestle in college and he made a tough decision. He decided not to wrestle the post-season and try to get this taken care of ASAP and hopefully he can be prepared to wrestle in college."
Dumas is scheduled to see a specialist in New York in March, and if all goes well, would like go to E-town College and join former Ephrata teammates Chad and Mike Lammer, but it’s still in the wait-and-see phase.
Looking back, despite his premature finish to his season, Dumas said he still did accomplish some of his goals.
"I feel like it was still a pretty solid year," he said. "I’m so glad I was able to get my 100 wins, eventhough my wrist was hurting at the time. That was one of my main goals for this year. The other one was to make it to States."
Dumas finished with a career record of 101-30 to place sixth on the all-time career wins list at Ephrata.
In addition to Eidemiller, Ephrata’s David Donnelly (132) and Ethan Sipe (145) also advanced to the semifinals. However, both dropped their semifinal matches and were eliminated in their first consolation bouts.
Donnelly (10-14) decked Sage Shuman of L-S in the quarterfinals before getting pinned by CV’s Lucas Ortiz in 1:11. Then in the consolations, he dropped a 5-1 decision to Manheim Central’s David Fantom.
Sipe (29-8), who was also nursing a sore ankle, scored a 13-2 major victory over CV’s Ilya Dariychuk to open the tournament. But dropped an 11-3 decision to Solanco’s Kyle Hammond in the semifinals. He was then eliminated in his first consolation match as Jack Zimmerman of Penn Manor scored a 7-2 victory to end Sipe’s season.
Eidemiller’s District quest begins Friday afternoon at Hersheypark Arena, with first round action set for 3:15 p.m.