Defenders' run ends with loss to Crusaders

Feb. 10—HERSHEY — Warrior Run has nothing to hang its head over.

For starters, the Defenders came into the PIAA Class 2A team wrestling championships as the two-time defending District 4 champions with an undefeated record.

However, the Defenders' time at the Giant Center came to an end on Saturday morning after a 36-21 loss to Notre Dame-Green Pond in the third round of consolations.

After making it to the third and final day of the team competition, the Defenders were one of eight 2A teams still wrestling. Warrior Run ends its dual-meet season with a record of 23-2. The Defenders lost their first dual meet of the season on Thursday to Fort LeBoeuf before downing Berks Catholic and Clearfield on Friday.

"Today doesn't diminish that," said Warrior Run coach Jeremy Betz. "They're really good, and we knew that going in. We had a couple close matches up top, and we needed to win a couple of those to roll the dice in the middle there to potentially bump Cam (Milheim) up to (160 pounds), put ourselves in a position to have to win one of the last two matches there, which I think we could've competitive in those last two matches."

The Crusaders claimed the first six matches to go out to a 26-0 lead. The match started off with decisions at 215 and 285. In the heavyweight match, Stone Allison took Gino Guerrisi to overtime with the bout knotted at 1-1. Each wrestler picked up an escape during the extra periods, but Guerrisi secured another escape in an ultimate tiebreak for the win.

The Crusaders then grew their lead to 18-0 after a pin at 107 and a forfeit at 114. Cooper Feltman (121) and Tanner Berkenstock (127) then earned back-to-back major decisions to make it 26-0.

Max Wirnsberger put Warrior Run on the board after holding off Gavyn Kelton in a 2-1 decision. Wirnsberger's win was the start of four consecutive victories for the Defenders.

Tyler Ulrich gave Warrior Run another four points after defeating Stephen Bialek in a 9-0 major decision. Ulrich's major made the score 26-7.

Wirnsberger and Ulrich each finished the tournament 4-0.

"(Wirnsberger and Ulrich) have been here individually, they've had success, individual success," Betz said. "You would expect them to be able to come down in this environment and wrestle well."

Reagan Milheim handed the Defenders their second major decision of the match at 145 after besting Nino Morici by a margin of 18-5. Cameron Milheim also picked up a major decision at 160 after knocking off Nathan Thomas 18-6. The Milheims made things interesting by pulling the Defenders within 26-15.

The Crusaders clinched the match at 160 after Dominic Sumpolec secured a 9-0 major decision against Eli Butler. The Crusaders led 30-15 with two matches remaining.

Each team picked up six points to end it. At 172, Keegan Ramsey pinned Isaac Butler to make it 36-15. The Defenders then picked up a forfeit at 189 to conclude their time at Hershey.

For Wirnsberger, competing as a team at the Giant Center was a new experience. Wirnsberger wrestled for Meadowbrook Christian as a freshman last season, so the team environment has been different for him.

"It was much more fun having a team around me, having brothers, being able to do it with other people," Wirnsberger said. "It was fun, and it was a new experience that I'm glad I got to be a part of."

Now that its dual-meet season is over, Warrior Run will move onto the individual postseason. The Defenders will compete in the District 4 Class 2A South Sectional next weekend at Southern Columbia High School with nine other teams from the Valley.

"We had a lot of guys who wrestled ranked guys, and wrestling ranked guys and being able to compete with them, I think gives you a level of confidence," Betz said. "Even in losing efforts, we had guys that emerged the state dual meet tournament last year, and they had a whole lot more confidence and they didn't win a match down here. But (they) got to scrap with some top-level guys, and I think going into the individual postseason, there's no rest, but it gives you a level of confidence.

"What you lose in rest, you gain in confidence there, so I think the guys will be pretty confident and ready to go come sectionals next Saturday."

Warriors also make it to Day 3

Montoursville, which fell to Warrior Run twice (once during the regular season and once in the district final), also represented District 4 during all three days of the 2A team tournament.

The Warriors started off with a 41-25 loss to Bishop McDevitt on Thursday, but bounced back with wins against Burgettstown and Fort LeBoeuf on Friday. Montoursville was eliminated from the tournament after a 42-19 loss to Reynolds on Saturday.

Repeat champs

For the second consecutive year, Bethlehem Catholic and Faith Christian each won state team titles. Bethlehem Catholic won its third straight Class 3A championship after knocking off fellow District 11 squad Easton 33-24.

Saturday was the third meeting between Bethlehem Catholic and Easton. The Red Rovers claimed the first meet 30-26 on Jan. 10, but the Golden Hawks won the next two. Their second meeting took place during the District 11 championship in which the Golden Hawks won 32-23.

Bethlehem Catholic has won 10 3A titles and 14 titles overall since the inception of the team championships in 1999.

Central Mountain earned third in 3A after defeating Pennridge 28-24 in the third-place bout.

In the Class 2A final, Faith Christian won its second consecutive title with a 46-18 rout over Bishop McCort.





215: Connor Smalley (NDGP) dec. Connor Parker, 12-6; 285: Gino Guerrisi (NDGP) dec. Stone Allison, UTB 3-2; 107: Jacob Volpe (NDGP) pinned Ryan Kemock, 2:25; 114: Ayden Smith (NDGP) won by forfeit; 121: Cooper Feltman (NDGP) maj. dec. Caden Snyder, 9-1; 127: Tanner Berkenstock (NDGP) maj. dec. Gavin Hunter; 133: Max Wirnsberger (WR) dec. Gavyn Kelton, 2-1; 139: Tyler Ulrich (WR) maj. dec. Stephen Bialek, 9-0; 145: Reagan Milheim (WR) maj. dec. Nino Morici, 18-5; 152: Cameron Milheim (WR) maj. dec. Nathan Thomas, 18-6; 160: Dominic Sumpolec (NDGP) maj. dec. Eli Butler, 9-0; 172: Keegan Ramsay (NDGP) pinned Isaac Butler, 2:32; 189: Jalan Hall (WR) won by forfeit.