Heading to Hershey

By on February 19, 2014

Eisenhauer takes silver, clinches District berth

Ephrata senior Cameron Eisenhauer had beaten Griffin Schultz of Manheim Township in their two prior meetings this year.

And it was Schultz who stood in his way of advancing to the District Tournament for the first time when the two squared off in the semifinals of the 195-pound weight class Saturday afternoon at the Section Three Tournament held at Hempfield.

But late in the third meeting, Eisenhauer found himself trailing the Blue Streak junior 4-3, with less than 30 seconds to go. Eisenhauer needed a break, and he got one when Schultz was called for stalling with four seconds to go to force overtime.

Ephrata’s Cameron Eisenhauer (right) squares off with Hempfield’s Tommy Bennett in the finals of the Section Three Tournament Saturday at Hempfield. Photo by Mike Shull

Ephrata’s Cameron Eisenhauer (right) squares off with Hempfield’s Tommy Bennett in the finals of the Section Three Tournament Saturday at Hempfield.
Photo by Mike Shull

The Ephrata senior then took advantage of his opportunity, and punched his ticket to Hershey in the process when he got the sudden victory takedown with 25 seconds to go in the extra period to capture a 6-4 decision.

Eisenhauer (28-8), the eventual second-place finisher after he was pinned by top-seeded Tommy Bennett of Hempfield in the finals at 195, will now set his sights on Districts and a first-round match-up against Big Spring junior Tommy Rayhart (18-6).

“We felt that Cam should advance to the finals and to Districts,” Ephrata Coach Josh Clair said. “He had a tough match in the semis, it was the third time he beat Schultz this year. It is always difficult to beat someone three times in a year and Cam was a little tight in that match. Just knowing what was on the line he had some nerves, but he wrestled well when it mattered.”

And now he’ll get a shot to compete at Districts for the first time.

“This was a big goal for Cam,” Clair said of Eisenhauer moving on. “He has been close in the past, but hasn’t advanced to the District Tournament. The biggest goal (for next week) is to go out and wrestle. There is no pressure and he needs to relax and do what he has done all year. If he does that, good things will happen.”

Good things definitely happened for Eisenhauer in his first two bouts Saturday. After receiving a bye in the preliminaries, the second-seeded Eisenhauer had little trouble vs. McCaskey’s Ricky White in the quarterfinals, pinning him in 2:57.

But Schultz (23-13) proved to be a tough out in the semis. After a scoreless first period, Eisenhauer opened the second with an escape for the 1-0 lead. However, late in the period, Schultz scored the first offensive points with a single-leg takedown with 33 seconds to go. Fortunately for Eisenhauer, he earned a big escape point with 10 seconds left in the period to even it up at 2-2 heading to the third.

Schultz appeared to take command early in the third when he reversed from the bottom to go up 4-2, but Eisenhauer picked up another big escape point 20 seconds later to draw to within 4-3. Then, with Eisenhauer on the aggressive, looking for the takedown, Schultz was hit with a stall warning with 24 ticks to go. Eisenhauer continued to push on, and did enough to get a second stall call on Schultz to knot it up and send it to OT.

That’s when Eisenhauer shot in, and scooted around the Manheim Township wrestler and secured the winning takedown.

In the finals, Bennett made quick work against the Ephrata wrestler, working a single-leg into a cradle 25 seconds into the match. Eisenhauer fought to stay off his back before Bennett finally got the pin with 48 seconds to go in the initial period.

“(I think) Cam was relaxed knowing that he already qualified for Districts,” Clair said of the finals match-up. “Bennett came out aggressive and got the cradle locked up quick and it was tight. Cam fought it for a while, but in the end there was too much time in the period to fight it off.”

This was Eisenhauer’s third-straight loss to the lanky Bennett this year. Clair was asked why he feels Bennett is a difficult match-up for Eisenhauer.

“Styles make the matches,” he said. “Bennett’s style is just tough for Cam. He is so long that he has such great leverage, which neutralizes Cam’s strength which is his physical strength.”

Eisenhauer was the lone Mount to advance, although a few other EHS wrestlers got close.

At 145, fellow senior Mike Pacheco majored Donegal freshman Tyler Snyder, 12-3 to earn a semifinals match vs. Penn Manor freshman Jonah Barley. Pacheco tied the bout 2-2 on a locked hands call early in the second before the Comet wrestler slipped in a half and turned Pacheco for the fall in 2:31.

Unfortunately, Pacheco lost his next consolation bout and was eliminated. Austin Jones (106) and Vince Evans (120) also won matches on the day for Ephrata.

“For some of those guys being their first sectional tournament I think nerves may have gotten to them,” Clair said. “What it comes down to is we will work on getting better. We will get stronger and we will continually work on our technique. Come next year those guys that were close will be able to take the next step.”

The District Three AAA Tournament will be held this weekend, Feb. 21-22 at Hersheypark Arena. Action gets underway Friday afternoon at 3:15 p.m., and continues Saturday at 10:15 a.m.

Todd Ruth is the sports editor for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at truth.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4422

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