Eagles flex muscles, deck Penn Manor 52-18

By on January 18, 2017
Cocalico’s Seth Fritz (top) puts the squeeze on Penn Manor’s Noah Rohrer in the first period of their bout at 106 pounds last Wednesday. Photo by Denise Mitchell

Cocalico’s Seth Fritz (top) puts the squeeze on Penn Manor’s Noah Rohrer in the first period of their bout at 106 pounds last Wednesday. Photo by Denise Mitchell

If the rest of Section One didn’t take notice when Cocalico thumped perennial contender Solanco, 47-24 in late December, this one certainly got their attention.

Last Wednesday night at home in a battle for first place in Section One with fellow unbeaten Penn Manor, Cocalico wasted little time in flexing its muscles.

The Eagles, by virtue of five falls in the first six bouts, built a commanding 30-6 lead and never flinched on their way to an eye-popping 52-18 triumph over the Comets, who were the top-ranked team in the District coming in.

The Cocalico victory left the Eagles (4-0 section, 7-2 overall) as the lone remaining unbeaten team in Section One. Penn Manor dropped to 4-1 on the year.

“There are still a lot of tough ones left but I think it’s a real statement win for us,” Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said. “They are one of the top teams in the section, but really there are no easy ones for us, which is why we were excited to come up to Section One.”

Penn Manor actually struck first when Dante Jones led 3-1 over Wyatt Gehman before taking the Cocalico wrestle to his back for the fall with 46 seconds to go.

However, the Eagles quickly overcame that deficit, and then some. First, Nate Quinn evened it up at 6-6 when he cradled TJ Keener at 195. Ben Fromm (220) and Brady Maxwell (285) followed suit, collecting a pair of falls to turn it into an 18-6 Eagle advantage heading to the lightweights.

Seth Fritz (106) and Kayde Althouse (113) closed out the impressive start with two more pins to up the lead to 30-6.

“Before every match Coach Fittery always tells us to wrestle our hardest, keep being on the attack and wrestle hard to set the tone and set the pace,” Maxwell said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

Fittery added that gaining the early momentum was key.

“It was an awesome start,” Fittery said. “I mean the guys wrestled tough. This was probably our best match of the year…at least one of them, and they really delivered. We tell them bonus points are huge, so when we are getting those pins that’s great because you are getting that momentum and everybody feeds off of that. It’s exciting.”

The bout of the night came at 120 where Cocalico’s returning State qualifier Josiah Gehr, who has struggled going just 4-3 since returning from an injury, edged Jordan Harsh by an 8-5 score.

Gehr built a 3-0 lead with a tilt at the end of the second period, but Harsh went up 5-3 when he hit a cradle to start the third. After an illegal hold and a Gehr escape tied it at 5-5, Gehr was awarded a stall point before securing a takedown in the final 11 seconds to claim the confidence-building victory.

“This will help me a lot,” Gehr said. “That’s the first time I’ve beat him (in three tries). It just kind of opens my eyes that I can really stay with the best guys. I know that he’s a real good wrestler and I like like those battles.”

Leading 33-6, Cocalico continued to pour it on as Grant Swann (126) captured a 2-0 decision before Nate Fritz (132) won a 9-0 major over Alex Laughlin to close out the Eagles’ incredible run at 40-6.

Penn Manor did get the next two bouts as Nick Baker won a 4-2 decision over Cocalico’s Seamus Finnegan at 138, before Justin Rupp held on for a 10-7 win over Alex May at 145.

Cocalico’s Max Martin (152) and the Comets’ Jonah Barley (160) both traded falls before Cocalico’s Devin Sensenig ended the evening with a pin against Penn Manor’s Marcus Sweigert in 2:57.

Up next, Cocalico will look to keep it going with a pair of road tests this week, at McCaskey Wednesday and at Conestoga Valley on Thursday, in a makeup of a December date postponed by the fire at CV.

Cocalico also will host the annual Denver Duals Saturday at the high school. The teams that will be competing include: Pool A- Emmaus, Central Dauphin, East Pennsboro, Wyomissing and Cocalico; Pool B- Garden Spot, Wilson, Downingtown East, Strath Haven and Northern Lebanon.

Action begins at 9 a.m.

 

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