Rams fall to Spartans
WYALUSING - Entering the team portion of the wrestling postseason, the defending District Four champion Wyalusing Rams earned the fifth-seed in the District Four bracket with their 14-4 record, but standing the way of the defense of their title were the 12th seeded Hughesville Spartans (11-9).
With several of their matches this season coming down to the wire, the Rams knew that everything was going to have to fall their way in order to make a 13th straight trip to the quarterfinals in Milton. When the dust settled, it was the Spartans going away with a 39-26 win to advance to the quarterfinals.
"Hughesville's got a nice team," said Wyalusing coach Gary Haley. "We knew that we were going to have to win the close matches to be able to get the win and we just couldn't get that done."
Knowing that both teams would be forfeiting at least one weight somewhere in the upper classes, the Rams opted to get theirs out of the way early, giving the Spartans' Robert White the win at 182 to get things going.
Dakota Gee. Trailing 9-8 to Wyalusing's Zane Vaskas at 195 in the second period, fought off his back and reversed the Ram senior to his back before coming away with a fall in 3:51 and a 12-0 Hughesville lead.
Dylan Otis made quick work of Jacoby Foresman at 220, earning the fall in just :40 before the Rams' Dalton Chilson received a forfeit at 285 to knot the score at 12-12.
This Spartans regained the lead at 106 when Jacob Snyder outlasted the Rams' Jacob Sandfort for an 8-6 decision at 106, putting the Spartans back in the lead at 15-12.
Trevor Sones extended that lead to 21-12 with a 2:53 fall over Wyalusing's Tracey Brown at 113 before the Rams' Collin Edsell picked up an 11-1 major decision win over Matt Heinrich at 120 cutting Hughesville's lead to 21-16.
Zach Fry made a first-period escape and takedown stick as he held on for a 3-2 decision over the Rams' Brandon Kelley at 126, extending the Spartans' lead to 24-16.
Justin Haley then rolled to a 14-4 major decision win over Hughesville's Houston Bryant at 132, cutting the Spartans' lead to 24-20 with five bouts remaining.
A third-period reversal gave the Rams' Dave Brown enough to hold off Eric Heller for a 5-4 decision win at 138, getting the Rams to within one at 24-23.
Ryan Force then gave the Rams their first, and only lead of the night at 26-24 with a 10-5 decision over Nick Gorg at 145.
Next up at 152 for the Spartans was returning PIAA runner-up Kyle Barnes and the Rams, needing to keep things as close as possible, sent out senior captain Tyler Fenton, but Barnes proved to bee too much, coming away with a fall in 1:55 and giving the Spartans the lead for good at 30-26.
Dakota Nixon followed with a :49 fall over Jake Minturn at 160 to seal the win before Matt Herr capped the night for Hughesville with a 4-2 decision over Justin Griffith at 170.
The Rams, who clinched a share of their second-straight NTL Large School title on Saturday with a 40-30 win over Towanda will now take a 14-5 record into their final dual meet of the season next Thursday at Northeast Bradford looking to seal up sole possession of the title.
The individual post season will begin on Saturday, February 16 with the North Section tournament at Sayre, where the Rams are the defending champions.
Hughesville will travel to Milton on Saturday for a quarterfinal matchup with fourth-seeded Lewisburg.