Sectionals set to kick off mat post-season
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
For the second-straight year, Ephrata and Cocalico will go their separate ways as Sectionals, the first leg of post-season wrestling, gets underway this Saturday.
Cocalico will once again travel to Berks County and is one of four teams to compete in the Section IV Tournament held at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. Ephrata, which used to go to Mifflin, will compete instead in the All-L-L Section III Tourney at Hempfield for the second year in-a-row.
Action gets underway at 8:30 a.m. at Governor Mifflin and 9 a.m. at Hempfield, and will continue through the evening. The top three place-winners from each site will advance to the District Three Tournament, which is set for Hersheypark Arena Feb. 22-23.
A year ago, Cocalico had a pair of wrestlers claim titles at Mifflin as then seniors Teddy Wolf and Kam Mueller both moved on to Districts.
This year, a young squad short of numbers enters the post-season. Cocalico will send eight wrestlers to sectionals with freshmen Adam Miller (23-10 at 106) and Trevor Fichtorn (17-13 at 126), as well as sophomore John Fry (15-15 at 285) representing the Eagles’ best shots to advance.
"My goal is to get at least three guys to Districts," Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said. "That may be a high goal, but I believe it is definitely attainable. We have some young guys that have really been improving throughout the year, and if they wrestle like they are capable of, they can make it through."
"We don’t really have anyone this year that is a lock to make it through, so it will come down to how we perform on Saturday," he continued. "We could have no one make it or we could have three or four. I think Adam Miller, Trevor Fichtorn, and John Fry have all been wrestling really well lately. They have been working hard and are constantly improving, so I think they all have a good shot to make it to Districts."
Other Cocalico wrestlers who will compete include: freshman Dustin Ebelhar, 3-19 at 132; sophomore Michael Reitenbach, 9-10 at 138; junior Alec Whitsett, 7-11 at 145; sophomore Nathan Smeal, 2-9 at 170; and junior Noulong Lor, 6-19 at 220.
Official brackets for Section IV are expected to be available Wednesday evening.
As for Ephrata, the Mounts sent three wrestlers to Districts a year ago in senior Sectional champion Mike Lammer, his twin brother Chad Lammer and current EHS senior Todd Dumas.
Only Dumas remains, but his status is a bit cloudy since claiming his 100th career win and first L-L League crown two weeks ago. Dumas (28-3 at 120 pounds) has been battling a season-long wrist injury that has been getting worse as the year has progressed. According to Ephrata Coach Josh Clair, Dumas will give it a go but there are no guarantees how long the wrist will hold up.
"Todd has been dealing with a wrist injury for several weeks," Clair said. "He was hampered by it during the league tournament and still had success. We are looking at every match one at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves, but we still fully believe that he has a legitimate shot at advancing all the way to the State Tournament."
In addition to Dumas, Ephrata has several others who have a shot to move on to Districts. Joey Sarmento (22-11 at 113), Riley Eidemiller (26-6 at 126), Ethan Sipe (28-6 at 145) and Cameron Eisenhauer (23-12) appear to be their best bets.
"As we did with leagues we want to leave (Sectionals) not having that ‘what if’ feeling," Clair said. "All that we ask is that every wrestler leaves it all on the mat and wrestles each match like it is their last. Because as we know if will be the last for many wrestlers this weekend."
"Besides Todd, Riley Eidemiller will have a great shot to get over this hurdle," Clair continued. "He was injured last year and missed the post-season. He might be the hungriest kid on the team right now next to Dumas. This is his last shot and he has had a tremendous season and he flat-out won’t let it end this weekend. The other three guys that have good shots will be Joey Sarmento, Ethan Sipe, and Cameron Eisenhauer. All three are sitting at talented weights that have four or five wrestlers who have great shots to advance on to Districts. It will all depend on who wants it more."
Other Ephrata wrestlers who will compete at Sectionals include: Vince Evans, 9-17 at 106; David Donnelly (9-12) or Brian Mulvenna (3-4) at 132; James Welch, 5-11 at 138; Nick Hatch, 2-25 at 152; Bryan Rohrbaugh, 2-26 at 160; Bobby Nye, 13-13 at 182; and Jeremiah Kreider, 2-22 at 285.
Official brackets for Section III will also be released Wednesday night.
Both Ephrata and Cocalico closed out the regular season with their final dual meet action this past week.
Last Thursday in a non-league dual at Warwick, the host Warriors got bonus points in eight of their individual bout wins to earn a convincing 52-22 victory over the Mounts.
Ephrata did get falls from Eidemiller at 126 and Hatch at 160, and a major from Sipe at 145 to lead the way. Mulvenna (132) and Nye (182) also were winners by decision for the Mounts.
Cocalico also was in action at Elco where the Eagles dropped a 57-17 decision to the Raiders.
Miller (106) and Fry (285) both pinned to lead the way for the Eagles. Reitenbach added a tech fall at 138 in the team loss. More SECTIONALS, page B-2