The 27th Lancaster-Lebanon League wrestling championships will be a one-day format today held at Manheim Township High School.
Here’s a look at each weight class.
Flatt (12-1) is the two-time defending champ, with his only loss coming at the hands of Williams (12-0). Third seed Owen Lehman (17-1) of Northern Lebanon was fourth here last year. No. 4 seed Trenton Ruble (11-2) of CV was third and seventh. Pequea Valley’s returning medalist Liam McGinley (10-1), Garden Spot’s Adam Hahn (13-3) and newcomers Marco Tocci (Warwick, 14-3) and Gabe Thomas (Manheim Central, 14-2) will all factor here.
Seeded second behind Williams (8-0), Northern Lebanon’s Owen Breidegan (17-0) looks to improve on his seventh-place finish in 2020. Hempfield’s Gio Luciano (19-1), a two-time medalist, was dealt his only loss by Williams.
Hillard (13-0) and Lancaster Catholic’s second-seeded Eric Howe (17-1) are not only returning silver medalists, but also came up through the Township system together. Hempfield’s Mack (18-2) has an eye on sidelining any reunion.
The 2020 tournament marked Jared Fulton’s arrival as the then Golden Mules freshman flipped the switch and made a run to the final. While Fulton (11-2) was figuring it out, Aliazar (12-1) missed the tournament. Hungry to make up for that he cannot overlook Garden Spot’s three-time medalist Mason Casey (15-1), Pequea Valley’s 2019 medalist Jace Beegle (11-0), or Annville’s Ethan Missimer (9-1). Notable, one of Fulton’s two losses was to Alicea.
Harnish (14-1) is happy to no longer see Manheim’s Will Betancourt in the field, as Betancourt prevailed in both of Harnish’s final appearances. The joy is short-lived, as Harnish is seeded second to Garden Spot’s Garrett Gehr (17-0), who missed 2020 with an injury, and ahead of Braeden Amole (Octorara, 13-1), Jackson Houghton (Solanco, 11-2) and Aiden Swann (Cocalico, 10-5), all of whom are returning medalists, as is Hempfield’s Clay Gainer (13-7).
The only weight with two returning champions, Lebanon’s Griffin Gonzalez (20-1) and Solanco’s Ronnie Fulton (9-4) find themselves separated in the seedings by CV’s Keaton Fischer (13-1) at No. 2. Can Fischer block a battle of titans showdown?
Lefevre (20-0) has a direct challenge from Northern Lebanon’s Kayden Clark (14-4) and Ephrata’s Austin Brass (11-3), with an eye on Octorara’s Mike Trainor (16-1) and Catholic’s Caden Droege (16-2).
Just six weeks into his scholastic career, Olivarria (9-1) finds himself stalked by Northern Lebanon’s Cooper Gill (9-1), Elizabethtown’s Jake Rudy (10-1) and Warwick’s David Wooley (13-4), his likely semifinal opponent.
Enough earned medals at this weight to look like the chest of a general’s dress uniform. Ober (14-1), the top seed, has two, as does Hempfield’s fourth-seeded Dylan Bard (19-1). Third-seeded Dylan Coleman (6-3) of Penn Manor owns three. Fifth seed Bobby Walters (Elizabethtown, 10-1) has one. The outlier, so far, Cocalico’s No. 2 seed Jonathan Rathman (12-3) scores his first league medal this weekend.
Second-seeded Mason McClair (16-2) of Lancaster Catholic and third-seeded Turk Baum (12-3) of Cocalico will battle for the right to face Vogelbacher (12-0) in the final.
Barley (9-1), Clancy (7-2), No. 3 seed James Ellis (11-1) of Ephrata and No. 4 seed Brett Barbush (15-1) of Manheim Central make this weight interesting. Add L-S’s Parker Owens (6-1), Elco’s John Ball (16-2) and Hempfield’s Russ Hanes (15-5) into the mix and you have the ingredients for a pier six brawl.
Head-and-shoulders above the competition, literally, Blake (15-0) is the favorite. Which is not to denigrate a field that includes McCaskey’s Jose Garcia (12-0), Hempfield’s Gordie Hoover (14-6), Cocalico pin machine Jacob Humphrey (12-3) or Lebanon’s Jaden Deitzler (17-4).
With heavyweights,there’s never a sure thing. One misstep from neutral, one ill-considered roll from bottom, and BOOM! Still, Swanson (13-2) is the man to beat. L-S’s Zac Shelley (5-1) is seeded second and Pequea Valley’s Nate Miller (11-0) takes the third seed. Seeded fourth, Hempfield’s Caleb Mussmon (18-2) may find himself in the position of determining the Black Knights’ team-scoring fate.