Ephrata matmen take Barons to brink

By on January 8, 2014

Thursday’s upcoming Manheim Central-Garden Spot tussle was and is, for all intents and purposes, deemed the “Match of the Year” in Section Two.

But Ephrata almost threw a wrench into things Monday night at home when the Mounts came within a whisker of upsetting the Barons.

The Mounts came out inspired, and went toe-to-toe with the Barons for most of the night. In fact, after Thomas Evans came back to win his bout vs. Justice Prall at 126 pounds, Ephrata had a 27-25 lead with just three weight classes to go.

Ephrata’s Charles SanMartin broke open a tight 3-3 match by scoring back points and eventually pinning Joseph Giffin of Manheim Central in 4:16 of the 285-pound bout Monday. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Ephrata’s Charles SanMartin broke open a tight 3-3 match by scoring back points and eventually pinning Joseph Giffin of Manheim Central in 4:16 of the 285-pound bout Monday. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Central did get the lead back on an Ephrata forfeit at 132, but David Donnelly kept the Mounts’ hopes alive with a 2-0 win at 138 to draw his team to within 31-30 with one bout to go. Unfortunately, Ben Metzler’s pin against Ephrata’s Mike Pacheco at 145 saved the day for MC as the Barons sealed a hard-fought 37-30 Baron victory.

While, in the end the Mounts fell to 0-3 in section play (2-6 overall), there were a lot of positives on the Ephrata side when it was all said and done.

“It was easily one of the best matches we wrestled all year,” Ephrata Coach Josh Clair said. “It was one of the best matches we wrestled in a while because not only did the kids wrestle well, they wrestled very smart in their matches. They just didn’t make as many mistakes as they have been making, which was a real positive sign.”

Ephrata senior Ethan Sipe set the tone in this one, holding off Central’s David Fantom, 1-0 in the opening bout of the night at 152. Sipe, who missed the first month of the season, saw his first action of the season at the Donegal Christmas Tournament and remains undefeated at 5-0.

Ephrata’s Ethan Sipe (back) works to tighten his grip in the closing seconds of his 1-0 victory over Central’s David Fantom. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Ephrata’s Ethan Sipe (back) works to tighten his grip in the closing seconds of his 1-0 victory over Central’s
David Fantom. (Photo by Mike Shull)

His return to the lineup, Clair said, has helped solidify some things in a big way.

“It’s definitely helped us,” Clair said. “Even just having him in the room, since he’s been back has helped some of the kids regain some of their focus. There are certain kids other kids feed off of, so obviously having him in the lineup is a plus for us.”

Following Sipe’s win, Ephrata’s Dakota Rohrbaugh won by forfeit at 160 to up the lead to 9-0 before the Barons got on the board.

Tyler Rhoads got things going for Manheim with a pin against Bryan Rohrbaugh at 170, and J.J. Sanchez followed with a 14-3 major decision over Bobby Nye, which gave Manheim Central its first lead, 10-9.

However, the Mounts dug in.

Ephrata’s Cameron Eisenhauer defeated Brock Fittery 4-1 in the 195-pound match to put the Mounts back in front, 12-10. Then, after a forfeit to the Barons’ Rey Lasanta at 220, Ephrata’s Charles SanMartin pinned Joseph Giffin in 4:16 in the heavyweight battle. With the score tied at 3-3, SanMartin took Giffin to his back just 16 seconds into the third for a fall which put the Mounts back up by an 18-16 score.

“We decided to take our chances and forfeit to Lasanta, who is a pretty good kid, and give Charles the match with the heavyweight,” Clair explained. “Charles has been wrestling smart this year. The kid tried to roll him, but Charles threw a half in and pinned the kid which was big.”

Ephrata’s Austin Jones followed with a fall against Ryan Gandy in 4:51 in the 106-pound match to give the Mounts a 24-16 advantage before the Barons’ Caleb Enck gained some momentum back for his team with a first-period pin against Cameron Terry in the 113-pound bout to make it 24-22.

One of the most critical bouts of the night came at 120 where MC’s Kyler West took advantage of a third-period stalling point by Mount senior Joseph Sarmento to gain the edge and earn a 3-2 decision which gave the Barons the lead back at 25-24.

That set the stage for Evans’ big win at 126. With the match tied at 4-4 late in the third, Evans snapped the deadlock with a four-point reversal to clinch an 8-4 decision.

“Something is clicking with Thomas,” Clair said when asked of his recent success. “Going into the Donegal Tournament he was 2-8, and out of the seven kids he was the seventh seed. He went 3-2, finished third and has just wrestling really smart, really well. His match (vs. Prall) was tied with about 15 seconds to go…earlier in the year that’s where he would lose the match but he reversed the kid to his back and ended up winning. Something is just clicking for him right now. He’s just wrestling really well.”

And while the Mounts, in the end, couldn’t hold the lead, Clair definitely believes his squad can build off of its latest effort.

“That’s what we are hoping for,” he said. “We got L-S (Wed.), Cocalico (Thurs.) and Hempfield (Sat.) this week…it’s a busy week. And since we have the Cocalico Duals next week we have another six matches…hopefully wrestling a good Manheim team as tough as we did, the kids are starting to get a little bit of confidence and hopefully carry that over in these upcoming matches.”

While Monday’s match was Ephrata’s lone action of the week, Cocalico competed in the Hamburg Duals this past weekend where the Eagles notched three team wins, defeating Tamaqua (45-30), West Perry (34-32) and Muhlenberg (64-10).

In the victory over Tamaqua, the Eagles held a 33-30 advantage with two weight classes to go before getting a pair of forfeit wins from Noulong Lor (220) and John Fry (285) to clinch it. Max Martin (138), Darin Youndt (145) and Grant Gehlert (170) all earned falls to pace the Eagles, who received a total of five forfeit victories in the match.

The match vs. West Perry was tight throughout before Brady Maxwell’s forfeit win at 185 put the Eagles up 34-29 with one bout to go. In that final match, Justin Moyer did his job, staying off his back in a 4-0 loss to clinch the Cocalico team victory. Hilton Martin (152) and Abdul Saad (195) both collected falls to lead Cocalico. Adam Miller (12-2 major at 120) Andrew Weston (6-4 win at 126) and Fry (4-2 victory at 220) also were winners for the Eagles.

Cocalico dominated vs. Muhlenberg, claiming all but two bouts in the big win. Max Martin (138), Hilton Martin (152), Lukas Lees (120) and Nathan Quinn (132) all earned falls for the Eagles while Cameron Steffy (11-6 decision at 160), Lor (12-4 major at 220) and Weston (8-6 win at 126) also were winners for Cocalico.

The Eagles also had five forfeit victories to close things out.

Cocalico also competed in the Damascus Tournament in Maryland over the holidays where the Eagles finished 11th as a team with 71 points.

Individually, three Cocalico wrestlers placed at their respective weight classes, led by Hilton Martin’s third-place finish at 152. He went 5-1 for the tournament.

Fry earned a fifth-place medal at 285, going 4-2 in the tourney, while Saad claimed sixth at 182 with a 2-3 record.

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