Wrestle Weekly: Power Rankings and Look Ahead
The start of 2014 has proven to be memorable for YAIAA wrestling teams and individuals, but the real season is about to heat up as postseason wrestling will be upon us before we know it.
Bermudian Springs senior 195-pounder Tristan Sponseller has continued to shine this season after forgoing the football season to focus on wrestling with the goal of state gold this season. Sponseller is undefeated this season.
Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller has also been perfect in the 2013-2014 season, mostly contested at 182 and 170 pounds. Marsteller has also posted a mind-blowing 13 first period pins this season.
This past weekend at the NHSCA Final Four Festival at the York Expo Center; Bermudian Springs, Spring Grove, Dallastown and West York got to take a shot at the No. 1 team in the country, Blair Academy out of New Jersey as well as No. 5 Wyoming Seminary from northeastern PA.
The previous weekends Canner Duals provided Biglerville, Central York and Delone Catholic the chance to see programs from around the state, including a talented Spring-Ford team.
Now that we recapped a few notable events from the weekend, let's move on to the first installment of YAIAA Power Rankings.
1. Spring Grove (15-1): The Rockets jumped into the top spot of the YAIAA rankings after I initially had them ranked No. 2 thanks to this past Saturday's 37-35 win over No. 2 Bermudian Springs at the NHSCA Final Four Festival. Zack Clingan picked up a key 14-2 major decision at 120 pounds over Dalton Becker that was the second of four straight Rocket victories. Alec Zorbaugh started the run and Levi Witmer and Dakota Laughman finished the run. The match came down to heavyweight. With the Rockets leading by 5 Eagle heavyweight Brady Linebaugh needed to tech fall or pin CJ Sterner. Sterner did his job giving up the points but not the pin as he lost 11-4.
Mason Bentzel (152), and Zack Clingan (120) are amongst the best wrestlers in their weight class in not only the YAIAA but in District 3. Dakota Laughman (132), Michael Hartman (145), CJ Sterner (285), and Alec Zorbaugh (113) have all performed well for the Rockets in 2013-2014.
2. Bermudian Springs (17-4): The Eagles had a pair of rough outings at the NHSCA Final Four as they won their first two before dropping to Blair Academy. They followed that up with consecutive two point losses. One to Spring Grove (37-35) and the other to Depaul Catholic (32-30).
The Eagles must regroup quickly as they have a tough week ahead facing York Suburban possibly for the Division II championship on Tuesday and then a date with District 3 Class AA rival Boiling Springs on Saturday. Tristan Sponseller (195), Colton Dull (182), and Briton Shelton (160) lead the Eagles on the mat.
3. New Oxford (11-0): Exciting freshman Zurich Storm has made an impact going 14-1 in the early going at 113 pounds, 6-0 this past week. Zurich is going to be a threat to make noise in the postseason as his lone loss of the season came to Huntingdon’s Collin Glorioso, a third place finisher in the 2013 PIAA Class AA tournament at 106. Charlie Hoffman (170), Lake Laughman (120), Nolan Poust (145) and Slade Storm (138) also lead the Colonials on the mat.
4. South Western (8-6): The Mustangs wrestle one of the hardest schedules including mat dates with PIAA state powers Cumberland Valley, Boyertown and Central Dauphin. They also have faced Mechanicsburg in dual tournament action. They have also traveled to the Top Hat and King of the Mountain individual tournaments in the early portion of the season. 120 pounder Owen Wherley leads the Mustangs with a 17-2 record at 120 pounds. His lone two losses came at the King of the Mountain tournament.
5. York Suburban (5-1): The Trojans are much improved this year, evidenced by their 5-1 record. The Trojans will have a chance to "prove" their improvement as they host No. 2 Bermudian Springs on Tuesday evening as the two remaining unbeaten teams in YAIAA Division II. Austin McMillan (113), Dustin Knaub (126) and Chaim Smith (220) have led the Trojans on the mat.
Watch out for: No. 6 Biglerville, No. 7 Dallastown, No. 8 West York, No. 9 Dover, No. 10 Red Lion
Upcoming key matches:
Tuesday, January 14th:
No. 2 Bermudian Springs at No. 5 York Suburban: With both teams undefeated in Division II action, the title will be on the line. Can the visiting Eagles take down a much improved Trojans team to push toward another Division crown?
Thursday, January 16th:
No. 1 Spring Grove at No. 3 New Oxford: This matchup will likely determine who will win Division I. Key matchups could include: 145 pounds Nolan Proust, New Oxford vs. Michael Hartman. 113 pounds. Zurich Storm, New Oxford vs. Alec Zorbaugh. Can the Colonials unseat the Rockets?
Saturday, January 18th:
No. 2 Bermudian Springs at Boiling Springs: A showdown of District 3 Class AA heavyweights, the Eagles and the Bubblers know each other extremely well.
No. 8 West York at No. 3 New Oxford: A key match that will not only effect the positioning of Division I but also on the District 3 Class AAA field. Don’t forget to join us for our livestream at 7:30 p.m.
District 3 Power Rankings:
The latest batch of District 3 Wrestling Power Rankings were released Friday night. In Class AAA Big Spring is the current No. 1 seed with a record of 6-0. New Oxford comes in at No. 4, one spot ahead of fellow Division I foe Spring Grove. York Suburban comes in at No. 14 with soon to be YAIAA foe Gettysburg one spot behind at No. 15. Dover, Dallastown, South Western, Red Lion, West York and Eastern York are all among the first 16 out. The top 16 qualify for the District 3 Tournament.
In Class AA Boiling Springs is the current No. 1 seed with a record of 4-1. The Bubblers will wrestle No. 3 seed Bermudian Springs this Saturday. No other YAIAA teams are in the top 8. On the outside looking in are 10-5 Biglerville as well as 4-5 Delone Catholic.