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Three claim medals at League Tourney
While there were no Ephrata or Cocalico wrestlers who collected gold, there were bright spots on both sides from the L-L League Tournament held this past weekend at Garden Spot High School.
Ephrata’s Cameron Eisenhauer led the local contingent, winning a third-place medal in the 195-pound weight class. Following a tough 17-2 technical fall loss to Hempfield’s Tommy Bennett in the semifinals, Eisenhauer wrestled back and claimed the bronze with a 5-1 victory over Griffin Schultz of Manheim Township in the third-place match Saturday afternoon.
“Cam is having a great season and wrestled really well,” Ephrata Coach Josh Clair said of the senior. “Except for the loss to Bennett he went out and dictated the action and wrestled the way he wanted to wrestle. He stayed very physical and did a great job of putting constant pressure on all of his opponents.”
Eisenhauer’s teammate Mike Pacheco claimed the Mounts’ other medal, finishing seventh overall at 145 pounds. And Cocalico’s lone medalist was Hilton Martin, who wrestled back for fifth place at 152 pounds.
Neither team figured in the team standings as Cocalico placed 18th with 44 points while Ephrata tied Elizabethtown for 19th place with each team collecting 39 points.
Eisenhauer (26-5) opened the tournament with a pin (1:48) over Lebanon’s Gian Fabian, and followed up with a 3-0 decision over Schultz to earn a spot in the semifinals opposite Bennett.Unfortunately, the Ephrata senior couldn’t get anything going against Bennett, who quickly took control with a takedown 12 seconds in and kept piling on the points. Bennett added another takedown and three back points to lead 7-1 after one period. Bennett had Eisenhauer on his back twice more in the second to build a 15-2 lead before getting the takedown early in the third to clinch the big victory.
Eisenhauer did regroup and hammered Zach Fox of CV, 13-2 in his first consolation bout to advance to his second match-up with Schultz in the consolation finals.
“This was the second time Cam loss to Bennett, who is wrestling very well right now,” Clair said. “Bennett was able to dictate the action and wrestle his style. He is a very long wrestler and since he was able to wrestle the way he wanted he took Cam out of his game. Sometimes styles make the match and that style was tough to overcome, but Cam was able to rebound and wrestle back for third, which is his highest place.”
At 145, Pacheco (17-11) pinned Elco’s Alex Achey in 1:20 to open the tournament before losing to eventual champion Ben Metzler of Manheim Central by a respectable 9-4 decision in the quarterfinals.
In his first consolation bout, Pacheco earned a victory when opponent Preston Greener of Hempfield went out by injury default. Pacheco then held a 3-0 first-period lead on Luke Funck on Northern Lebanon in his next bout. However, the tide quickly changed early in the second when Funck reversed from the bottom and stuck Pacheco on his back for the fall in 3:36.
The Ephrata wrestler did go out on a winning note, pinning Chris Xakellis of Manheim Township in 2:46 of the seventh-place match.
“Mike is wrestling really well right now and wrestled Metzler very tough,” Clair said, summing up Pacheco’s weekend. “Mike lost to Funck from Northern Lebanon on Saturday morning in a match that he was winning. Had he been victorious I think he could have come back to finish third, but he had to settle for seventh. In his last match Mike came out firing and wrestled a great match and kept the action going the way that he wanted it to.”
Three other Ephrata wrestlers&tstr; Austin Jones (106), Dakota Rohrbaugh (152) and Bryan Rohrbaugh (170)&tstr; all fell one win short of wrestling for a medal. All three were eliminated in the third round of consolations.
“We knew we didn’t have the best draws to start the tournament and we let that get to us a little, but we still went out and gave everything,” Clair said of his team. “This, in my opinion, was one of the deeper L-L tournaments in recent memory. We know what we need to work on to continually improve, and we will get right back to work to finish strong in our final two matches prior to going in to the Sectional Tournament.”
Cocalico’s Martin, who was the lone Eagle senior entered in the tourney, capped off a strong weekend with a pin against Jake Kelly of L-S in the fifth-place match at 152.
He opened the tourney the same way he closed it, with a pin of Kelly in the first round Friday night. However, Tanner Pyles of Annville-Cleona ended Martin’s pursuit of gold in the quarterfinals with a fall in 5:10.
Martin (23-11) did recover in consolations, pinning both Dakota Rohrbaugh of Ephrata and CV’s Ilya Dariychuk to advance to the consolation semifinals opposite David Fantom of Manheim Central. Martin’s bid for a possible third place came to an end when Fantom scored an 8-2 decision over the Cocalico wrestler, setting up his final bout vs. Kelly for fifth.
“I thought Hilton did a nice job coming back for fifth place,” Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said. “He wrestled tough and stuck to his game plan and was able to get some nice wins. He picked up a lot of falls, and even pinned a kid (Dariychuk) that beat him earlier in the year.”
A total of eight of the 11 wrestlers Cocalico entered this weekend had a shot to claim a medal if they could have gotten one more win. Unfortunately, only Martin was able to break through to capture a medal.
Still, Fittery said his team can take away a lot of positives from the experience.
“Overall, I thought we certainly could have had a better performance,” Fittery said. “There were a few guys that lost close matches that cost them a medal. I actually thought we started off pretty well. The good news is that everyone that we brought, other than Hilton, was a sophomore or freshman, so hopefully they can use that experience to improve for the future.”
“Some are right there already and just made some critical mistakes. Brady Maxwell was beating the eventual fifth place winner the entire match and then got caught in a roll and was pinned. Abdul Saad lost by a point to the eventual fourth place finisher and was winning his second match when he got caught and pinned. Adam Miller could have had a better tournament, but he did lose to the third and fourth place finishers. I was also happy to see some of the others pick up some nice wins. (Ramon) Plotnikov, (Justin) Moyer, and (Darin) Youndt all wrestled well picking up two wins. (Lukas) Lees is giving up a lot of weight, but was still able to get a win to get himself into the final round on Friday night. Max Martin and Nate Quinn were also able to pick up wins to get themselves into that round as well. We certainly need to clean up some mistakes, but there is a lot to build on.”
In addition to the L-L League Tournament, Ephrata also was in action last Wednesday in a Section Two dual meet vs. Lebanon where the Mounts earned their first Section Two win of the season in a 66-12 rout.
Pacheco (145), Dakota Rohrbaugh (152), Nick Hatch (160), Bryan Rohrbaugh (170), Eisenhauer (195), Charles Sanmartin (220) and Thomas Evans (126) all earned falls to lead the Mounts, who improved to 1-6 in section play.
Ephrata hits the road Thursday night to face Cedar Crest (7 p.m.) before returning home next Tuesday for its final dual meet of the year against Warwick (7 p.m.).
As for the Eagles, they’ll host Annville-Cleona Thursday (7 p.m.) before squaring off against Elco at home on Feb. 6.