My top 10 moments from 2013

By on January 1, 2014

Todd Ruth, Ephrata Review Sports Editor

Todd Ruth, Ephrata Review Sports Editor

As another year comes to a close and families throughout northern Lancaster County celebrate the holidays, what better way to ring in the New Year than by looking back at the Top 10 local sports stories throughout 2013.

Here are my personal top 10 sports moments from 2013, counting down from No. 10…

10. The Trifecta: The Ephrata American Legion baseball team held off a late Penn Manor rally to claim a 4-3 victory in the District 10 League championship game at War Memorial Field in mid-July. The title was the Post 429’ers third-straight League title. Ephrata went on to advance to Regionals for the third-straight season where the team came within one victory of repeating as Region Four champions.

9. Kill Two Birds With One Stone: Ephrata senior wrestler Todd Dumas entered the Lancaster-Lebanon League Wrestling Tournament in late January needing four wins to reach 100 for his career. The quickest, and perhaps most dramatic path to that mark would have been to sweep through his 120-pound weight class and clinch both his first L-L title while reaching the Century Mark with a victory in the finals. And that’s exactly what he did.

Dumas pinned his way to the finals before using an eight-point second period to down Garden Spot freshman Chance Norris to earn a 12-6 finals triumph, netting him not only the 120-pound title but his 100th-career win. He also became just the seventh athlete in Mountaineer wrestling history to reach that milestone, joining former greats Nick Rock (123 wins), Shane Hyman (120), Nate Rock (119), Jason Frable (102), Pat Detweiler (102) and current Manheim Township Coach Tim Rice (101). Unfortunately, there would be no post season for Dumas, who was sidelined the rest of the season with a wrist injury.

8. A Game For The Ages: Neither the Ephrata nor Cocalico boys enjoyed great success on the hardwoods in the 2012-13 season, however, when they got together on the same court they provided spectacular theater.

In their first match-up in Denver in early January, Ephrata clawed its way back from being down 13 points in the fourth quarter to set up a spectacular finish.

With the time running out and the score tied 52-52 in this back-yard Section Two battle, then-Ephrata sophomore Nate Zimmerman got an open look from about 15 feet away and drilled the game-winner just as the buzzer sounded to give the Mounts a 54-52 upset win.

That was the best game of the year…until the two teams met up again in Ephrata in early February.

In that one, which would go down as one of the greatest single games in the long history between the two schools, Ephrata built a huge lead before Cocalico battled back.

Then-Eagle senior Brock Gosling, who would go on to a career-high 30-point effort, led a huge Cocalico comeback, and they would actually lead late in regulation before all of the fun got started.

The Eagles led 44-39 with 20 seconds to go before Aaron Hubbard’s three-point play cut it to two with nine seconds to go. Then after Cocalico freshman sensation Tucker Lescoe missed a pair of free throws, Ephrata sent it to OT on a Hubbard lay-up at the buzzer.

Ephrata then looked to be in good shape in the first OT. The Mounts held a 51-47 lead with 47 seconds to go, but a Lescoe lay-up got the Eagles to within two with 32 seconds left. Then after Roman Heckstall missed a pair of foul shots at the other end, Lescoe, who had just six points through regulation but scored 23 when it was all said and done, drained a three from NBA range to put the Eagles suddenly on top, 52-51 with 18 seconds to go. But Hubbard would extend it to a second overtime with a free throw in the final seconds, and the Mounts carried the momentum into the period, taking a 64-59 lead into the final minute of OT number two.

But Cocalico responded yet again. Oliver Denlinger drained a three with 50 seconds to go to cut the deficit to two. Then after Ephrata went back up by four with 37 seconds to go, Denlinger nailed another three-point bomb to cut it to one with 26 seconds left.

Ephrata’s Aaron Huston converted a lay-up to put the Mounts back up by three with 14 seconds left, but Lescoe’s off-balance three tied it with nine seconds to go to send it to the third extra period.

It was there where Cocalico that finally took control, and the Eagles did it from the line to put away their amazing win. After a Denlinger three made it a 76-73 Eagle lead, the Eagles went 9-for-10 from the line in the final two minutes to open the lead to five with three seconds to play. For good measure, Hubbard nailed an NBA three at the buzzer, but the Eagles prevailed 85-82 in what was the game of the year.

7. Freshman Phenom: Cocalico freshman thrower Emily Stauffer didn’t perform like your typical ninth grader.

In late May, after earning a Lancaster-Lebanon League crown in the shot put, Stauffer became the first female District champion at Cocalico in 20 years when she heaved the shot 40-7½ on her first throw of the day to capture gold at Shippensburg University. Stauffer. who in late February captured State Indoor gold, went on to win PIAA State silver medal in the shot, setting the stage for a very bright future.

6. Win One For Joan: Just four days after the sudden and unexpected passing of “Team Mom” Joan Seibel, the Ephrata ice hockey team won a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over Annville-Cleona in the CPIHL Playoffs.

With the score tied at 4-4 in the extra session, Trevor Seibel (Joan’s son) fed a pass to teammate Steven Zuziak on the wing. Zuziak then put a rising shot into the net to give the Mounts a thrilling and extremely emotional 5-4 victory.

5. Mounts Move To Section Three: After several years of futility, Ephrata announced its struggling football program will move from Section Two to Section Three for the next two years. Ironically, Cocalico was set to move to Three after the L-Ls bi-annual re-alignment. But, by virtue of the Hornberger Rule, which states that a school can remain in its preferred section if it finds a partner willing to make a switch, the Mounts and Eagles were able to go their their preferred sections.

It was a move that will benefit both programs.

4. Ephrata Field Hockey Gets Over The Hump: The Ephrata field hockey team has been knocking on the door for several seasons, and this past fall the Lady Mounts finally got over the hump and captured the Section Two title.

Cocalico had won five-in-a-row before this season, with the Lady Mounts finishing as runners-up three of those five years. However, in 2013, Ephrata led from start to finish, culminating with a 3-1 victory over Manheim Central at In The Net indoor complex in Palmyra on the final day of the regular season to clinch the section crown.

With the win, Ephrata finished section play with a record of 10-1-1 to clinch its first Section Two title since 2007. The win was extra special for Coach Rhoda Mountz, who would announce her retirement one month later.

3. For All The Marbles: The Cocalico and Ephrata girls basketball teams battled neck and neck throughout the entire season, and both finished 13-3 in league play, forcing a one-game playoff between the two to settle the Section Two championship.

That game was played at Garden Spot High School, and it lived up to its billing.

Cocalico took an early lead before Ephrata battled back with a big third quarter to take the lead for good in a defensive struggle. Ephrata held on for an eventual 37-28 victory, earning its sixth overall section title and first since 2009.

A team that played the entire season without injured point guard Joelisa Harvest and key reserve Hannah Raezer, got it done behind the senior trio of Sarah Haddon, Sarah Hoffer and Hannah Reimel.

Haddon scored 13 points and added 12 boards to pace the team in both categories in the playoff game. Hoffer contributed 11 points and nine rebounds while Reimel scored 10 points and was a thorn in the side defensively to Cocalico’s leading scorer Marissa Gingrich, who nailed a pair of late three pointers to finish with 12.

2. Down To The Finish: The Ephrata girls 4 X 400 relay team knew the stakes when it lined up for the last event of the day at the L-L League Track Championships.

A win in that event, and the Lady Mounts would upset favorite Hempfield and claim the girls team championship.

Mission accomplished.

Anchor Jordan Crills took the final hand-off from teammate Erica Voigt with a 30-yard lead. Crills did not give it up as she easily broke the tape first in a time of 4:01.71 to win the Lady Mounts sixth gold medal of the meet and clinch the overall team title.

Ephrata finished with 89 points to upset the Black Knights, who finished second with 85, giving Coach John Keller his first-ever League crown.

1. Mary Wins State Gold:

Ephrata distance runner put an exclamation point on what turned out to be a record-breaking career by winning the State gold medal in the girls AAA 300 hurdles in late May at Shippensburg University.

Witmer entered the 300 hurdles finals as the top seeded runner after setting the District Three record one week earlier with a time of 42.11. She lived up to the billing, posting a time of 42.90 to claim first place in the state and become the first EHS female athlete in school history to win gold at the PIAA Meet.

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