The District 3 Class 2A Championships are in the books with only a few days to prepare for Saturday’s Southeast Regional Tournament at Central Dauphin East. Nine Times Area wrestlers have made the cut and are seeking top-five finishes that would lock them in to the PIAA East Super Regional, to be held the following weekend in Pottsville.
Before we get to regionals, and just what that newfangled super region might look like, here’s a final glance at what we saw at CD East on Sunday:
HAINES MAKES IT 3-FOR-3: Biglerville junior Levi Haines left Central Dauphin East with a District 3 gold medal, which he can add to the other two he’s already earned. Haines rolled up eight takedowns against Brandywine Heights’ Noah Frack in the 145-pound finals on his way to a 16-6 major decision and put himself in position to become just the 19th wrestler in the history of the District 3 Championships to win four titles should he prevail next season.
One of the 18 four-timers is former Biglerville great Brian Pitzer, who ruled the district from 1993-96. Haines was one of eight Canners with a pair of titles to his credit prior to Sunday, and now stands as the only three-time champ behind Pitzer.
Biglerville has 33 district champions to its credit, fourth-most among Class 2A programs. Hanover sits atop the pile with 46 champs, the last being Caleb Garland (126) in 2016. Boiling Springs is second with 43 champs, followed by Bermudian (40), Biglerville (33) and Brandywine (33).
In Class 3A Manheim Central is out front with 90 champs, including Will Betancourt who won his fourth title last year. Cumberland Valley (72), Hershey (58), West York (49) and Central Dauphin (48) complete the top five, although Hershey and West York spent a number of seasons competing in Class 2A.
BROWN IN GOOD COMPANY: Littlestown senior Connor Brown repeated as a district champ when he edged Boiling Springs’ Kobin Karper with a sharp takedown in the closing stages of their 138-pound bout on Sunday. Brown joined an exclusive club by taking the top step of the podium, as he became the third Littlestown wrestler to claim two District 3 titles. Warren Roberston won gold in 1976 and 1977 at 167 pounds, and Mike Anderson was the D3 kingpin in 2003 and 2004, competing at 112 and 119 pounds, respectively.
BRAGGING RIGHTS: Bermudian Springs senior Savauri Shelton (215) added a district title to his sparkling season, which includes a spotless record to date. The D3 crown was Savauri’s second straight, quite an accomplishment by any measure.
Unfortunately for him, he won’t own bragging rights over older brother Briton, who nabbed three district titles while competing for the Eagles in 2013-2015.
Savauri could still have the last laugh if he’s able to work his way back to states and land a top-three finish; Briton’s best PIAA showing was fourth at 160 in 2014.
GERLACH FINDS ANOTHER GEAR: Hanover’s Malcolm Gerlach wasn’t having a senior season to remember. The veteran was coming off sophomore and junior campaigns in which he went 21-10 and 26-9, yet found himself entering last Saturday’s sectional tournament with a pedestrian 9-5 record. Things didn’t start well at Susquenita as Gerlach was pinned Biglerville’s Ethan Slaybaugh in the opening round.
But Gerlach found something in the consolations where he ripped off three straight wins, including a pin of Slaybaugh in the third-place bout.
The following day, Gerlach stretched his winning streak to four with a pin in the quarterfinals at districts before losing by fall to Boiling Springs’ Michael Duggan. In the consys, needing a win to earn a spot in regionals, Gerlach found a couple of cradles that vaulted him to a 9-2 decision that locked up a top-four finish.
Cracking the top five at regionals won’t come easy but Gerlach finally has some momentum on his side, which can prove to be an invaluable commodity.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Forgive Boiling Springs sophomore Michael Duggan if he’s had enough of Hamburg’s senior Gimbor twins. Last season, Duggan dropped an 8-3 decision to Bailey Gimbor in the D3 finals at 145. On Sunday, Duggan was nipped 4-3 by Dalton Gimbor in the 152-pound title match.
The district title was Dalton’s first, while Bailey was a repeat champ.
Joining the party for Hamburg was Brant Mason who followed the Gimbors with a title at 172, allowing the Hawks to surge past Boiling Springs for the team title, 110-5 to 101.5. The Bubblers pushed five wrestlers into the finals but failed to produce a champion.
CAN’T GET MUCH BIGGER: Bishop McDevitt sophomore Riley Robell won a second D3 championship on Sunday, but on a larger scale. A much larger scale.
Robell won gold at 182 pounds a year ago before deciding to add 75 pounds to his hulking frame. The Crusader didn’t sacrifice much agility or quickness, and he needed both to edge Bermudian Springs’ Hogan Swenski in the finals, 3-1.
Swenski knows a thing or two about adding muscle, having gone from a 132-pounder as a freshman to a full-sized 285 just three years later.
MOYER RIGHT THERE: Jacob Moyer didn’t do much – if anything – wrong at CD East. The Fairfield senior wrestled aggressively, attacking at the right times to produce three pins. Unfortunately, he also came away with a medal that wasn’t the shade he was hoping for at he finished third a year after winning gold.
Moyer (17-3) dropped a 5-1 decision to McDevitt’s Robell in the semis, a bout that stood at 3-1 before Moyer yielded two points while attempting to knot the bout with a late takedown.
The Green Knight is on par physically with Robell and Swenski but has suffered all three of his losses this season at the hands of the two powerhouses. A third shot at Swenski could come in Saturday’s regional semis if both win their openers, with Robell sitting pretty on the other side of the bracket.