Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:46 pm | Updated: 11:27 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.
Wrestling seasons are more marathon than sprint. It’s not always how you start as much as how you finish.
Manheim Township’s Nick Hershey and Colby Kenderdine can attest to that. As can Victor Kenderdine.
The Blue Streak trio came up with critical victories as Township (4-2 league, 6-3 overall) swept seven bouts, bonusing in six, to deal Hempfield its first league loss of the year, 39-32, Thursday in Neffsville.
“Without a question, we knew we had to sweep 120 to 160,” said Streaks coach Tim Rice, who acknowledged it was nice to finish a disappointing league campaign on an up note.
The defeat, in the final league match of the season, dropped the Black Knights (5-1, 13-4) out of sole possession of first place in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and into a tie with Solanco.
For the Golden Mules (5-1, 5-1), who leveled Warwick 55-22 on Thursday, it is their fifth-straight section title and 14th overall.
Hempfield’s share delivers the Knights’ first title since 2005, their sixth overall.
As coach Jude Bervinchak noted, half a title is better than no title.
The night started out promising enough for Hempfield, winning the pre-match flip to get the matchup(s) they wanted, at 126 and 132, for example.
Then Brandon Hartman (16-9) and Reuben Sanchez (7-9) powered the Knights to an early 12-0 lead with falls over Jose Perez (0-9) and Jeremy Morgante (3-12) at 106 and 113.
It would be a long time before Hempfield won again.
As freshmen, Aidyn Miller beat Victor Kenderdine (9-7) 4-2 in the 2013 Sectional bronze-medal match.
Thursday night Kenderdine took a 3-0 lead on Miller (20-7) early in the second period.
He was leading 5-1 when he dumped Miller to his back with 50 seconds left, holding him there to the final horn for a 10-1 major decision.
That put the Streaks on the scoreboard and they doubled their points as David Graves (18-9) majored Luke Granbois (8-14), 13-3 at 126.
Getting the matchup they wanted at 132 — junior David Good (20-4) on freshman Colby Kenderdine — the Knights watched it go horribly off track.
“We got the matchup we wanted,” Bervinchak said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Kenderdine (12-7) came out of a competitive first period tied 4-4, then went ahead 6-4 in the second period, running a deep half-and-wrist combination.
“I’m always looking for the half,” he said. “Whenever I get it in … eventually they are either going to go (over) or they’re going to be tired for the next period.”
An escape put him up 7-4 midway through the third, and he iced the upset, countering Good’s throw try for a final takedown.
Or, maybe it wasn’t an upset.
“No way,” said Kenderdine. “I don’t pay much attention to records. I just wrestle how I wrestle and hopefully the odds come out in my favor.”
In short order Matt Grossman (23-2) pinned Evan Brown (6-14) at 138 and Township got the matchups it wanted at 145 and 152 with Chris Xakellis (7-10) pinning Lester Greener (0-4) in 27 seconds and Cortlandt Schuyler (24-2) throwing Tyler Reber (14-7) in 2:43.
That put the Streaks up 29-12 with Nick Hershey coming out to face Alex Gainer (13-11) at 160.
The first half of the season was brutal for Hershey who lost his first seven matches.
“We went to some pretty tough tournaments early in the season,” said Hershey, who won 17 matches as a sophomore.
“You just have to … power through it. Even though you have those losses, you’ve got to keep your head up.”
“He took some lumps early in the year,” Rice said. “He was up against tough guys and we just kept telling him: ‘Stay with it. Stay with it.’ We’re putting you in these tough situations because we know you’ll respond to it.”
The dawn of 2014 broke Hershey’s schneid as he won seven of his next eleven coming into Thursday.
Make that eight of twelve as he showed a mastery of the short game from neutral, scoring four takedowns to take a 9-2 lead.
Off a restart with under four seconds, Hershey (8-11) shot across the circle on a blast double for a fifth takedown, and an 11-2 major decision that all but sealed Hempfield’s fate.
The Knights’ Brady Mathias (17-7) collected a forfeit at 170 to stanch the bleeding, but when Hempfield forfeited to John Shorter (22-6) at ’82, Township’s 21-point lead was too big to overcome.
The Knights took the final three bouts with Jordan Ortiz (19-3) holding on to edge Griffin Schultz (16-10), 8-7 at 195.
Joey Goodhart (24-0) won by default as Nick McKnight (6-6) was injured fighting off a cradle. Tommy Bennett (24-3) teched out Tim O’Hara (3-15), 16-1, in 4:32 to close out the night.