The season hasn’t started off well for the Elizabethtown Area High School wrestling team. However, after their first Lancaster-Lebanon League victory, along with some nice performances in an invitational meet, maybe things will start to turn around for the Bears.
Elizabethtown went on the road Thursday, Dec. 20, to face Ephrata. Both teams were undermanned; the Bears yielded the 132 and 170 to the Mounts and saw senior Zach Frank (160), senior Elijah Stackhouse (285), junior Ray Perez (195) and freshman Wyatt Mummau (113) get forfeit wins, while the 106, 138 and 220-pound weight classes went uncontested entirely.
However, when it came to the action on the mat, Elizabethtown came out a bit stronger, earning a 39-24 win to improve to 2-4 on the season. Senior Javan Thomas (182) pinned Drew Myers in the closing seconds of the second round for a win, while fellow senior Cam Olson (126) got a pinfall on Allen Swafford in extra time. Junior Cole Rice (152) also won via a 12-10 decision over James Ellis. Freshman Skyler Nagel (120) and sophomore Uriah Ginder (145) fell to Austin Brass and Tyler Hackman, respectively.
The Bears stayed active on Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, taking part in Donegal’s annual invitational tournament alongside seven other schools. While the Bears only finished seventh in the overall team standings, they did have three wrestlers earn top-three placements by the end of the event.
Rice was the high man, taking second in the 152. He opened his outing with a 10-second pinfall over Jadden Moore of Columbia, later picking up decision wins against Michael Gavin of Crestwood (9-0) and Gilbert Colon Valentin of McCaskey (12-5). His streak came to an end in the finals against Colby Rumjue of Susquehannock, who got the pinfall in 53 seconds.
Two more Bears each finished third in their respective classes. Olson won by a close 4-3 decision in the 126 over Eric Saenz of Susquehannock and got a 28-second pin against Luis Vega of Lebanon before losing via a 7-2 decision to Dylan Bowers of Donegal. He then held on with a 2-1 decision win in the third-place bout against Trey Zabroski of Crestwood.
Mummau scored three pinfall victories in the 113 against Janyssa Berrios of McCaskey, Andrew Baibos of Susquehannock and SkyBrunelle of Camp Hill, split by a technical fall loss to eventual winner Johnny Colon of Whitehall. He finished by facing Jansen Flohr of Donegal in a match that determined who would take second, taking the pin late in the third round.
Elsewhere, Thomas had a chance to finish highly in the 182, coming up just a bit short. He got a 10-4 decision win over Jonathan Freddrick of McCaskey and a pinfall against Derek Nell of Columbia, falling to Cael Rapp of Donegal and Chandler O’Farrell of Crestwood. Thomas’ final match against Paul Parise could’ve potentially put him in second place, but he ended up losing in a 6-1 decision to take fifth place.
Elizabethtown didn’t get much success elsewhere. Frank lost his first three 170 bouts before beating Jesse Tallarico of Columbia to avoid last place, taking seventh instead. Sophomore Bobby Walters lost four of his 145 matches but ended up in fifth due to Franklin Liriano Sena of Lebanon dropping out. Nagel (120), Ginder (138), Perez (195) and Stackhouse (285) unfortunately lost all of their matches.
The team is scheduled to compete in another invitational meet at Governor Mifflin on Friday, Dec. 28.