HERSHEY — Knowing who was likely on the horizon, Spring-Ford desperately needed things to go the right in its quarterfinal dual meet against Seneca Valley.
But after a couple of early leads morphed into losses and an injury sidelined Michael Gradwell, Spring-Ford realized its predicament: get revenge against Council Rock South or go home.
The Rams narrowed the margin a tad, but in the end, the Golden Hawks were once again too strong, eliminating Spring-Ford, 36-22, from the Class 3A PIAA Duals, Friday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Spring-Ford, who lost to South in the District 1 Duals final last weekend, was also on the wrong side of a 36-26 final against Seneca Valley in the quarters.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Spring-Ford coach Tim Seislove said. “To be in this atmosphere, we’re walking out of here proud with the way we wrestled. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed ourselves and it was a great experience for us.”
The highlight of the day for the Rams came in the third bout against Seneca Valley. Spring-Ford senior Brandon Meredith (120 pounds) found himself down 5-0 against two-time state runner-up, Louis Newell, but scored the final six points, including a takedown with 20 seconds left to win, 6-5.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster on my feet and everywhere,” Meredith said. “I work hard in every match to score points. It’s a good test for the postseason to see where I’m at. It helps a little bit with my confidence and maybe with a little self doubt here and there. It was a good test against good competition.”
Meredith’s bout was a rematch of the 106-pound state semifinal in which Newell won by decision. After a loss to Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf last week, Meredith got the boost he needed.
“He looked confident out there, even when he was down,” Seislove said. “He ended up with a couple of shots and finished in the end.”
Seneca Valley won six of the first seven matches, coming from behind in two of them to lead 24-3 at the halfway mark.
Ben D’Arcangelo (152) won by major decision and Joey Milano (160) pinned to stop the bleeding, but Gradwell was forced to injury default at 170 to push the lead back to 17.
The Rams won three of the last four but the deficit was too much to overcome.
“It was fun to come down here and compete with the best teams in the state,” Meredith said. “It was good for us going into the postseason. We’ll bounce back and now try to win the PAC tournament and eventually Districts.”
The rematch with South started right in the Hawks’ wheelhouse, and South jumped out to a 24-4 lead halfway through.
Milano and Chase Smith (182) pinned and Tyler LaRocca (220) and Ed Calloway (285) earned decisions to close out the scoring for the Rams against South.
“I thought we wrestled a little better than in the district finals,” Seislove said. “We closed the gap a little bit, especially in the middle section. They battled pretty good.”
Spring-Ford will compete in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Championships at Boyertown next Saturday. The winner will determine the league champion.
Seneca Valley 36, Spring-Ford 26
106- Herrera (SV) maj. dec. Reynolds, 8-0 (4-0)
113- Chappell (SV) dec. Tobin, 6-2 (7-0)
120- Meredith (SF) dec. Newell, 6-5 (7-3)
126- Geyer (SV) dec. McGill, 5-0 (10-3)
132- Amelio (SV) dec. Nugent, 7-4 SV (13-3)
138- Vlasnik (SV) pinned Needles, 2:36 (19-3)
145- Montalbano (SV) tech. fall Johns, 22-7 (24-3)
152- D’Arcangelo (SF) maj. dec. Adamson, 12-0 (24-7)
160- Milano (SF) pinned Hayes, 3:07 (24-13)
170- Gross (SV) inj. def. Gradwell (30-13)
182- Smith (SF) dec. Johnson, 9-4 (30-16)
195- Siwiak (SV) pinned Carbajal, 1:04 (36-16)
220- LaRocca (SF) pinned Funovits, 1:44 (36-22)
285- Calloway (SF) maj. dec. Beahm, 12-1 (36-26)
Council Rock South 36, Spring-Ford 22
113- Mendez (CRS) pinned Tobin, :51 (6-0)
120- Meredith (SF) maj. dec. Ricchini, 11-3 (6-4)
126- Hanson-Ashworth (CRS) dec. McGill, 5-3 (9-4)
132- Radner (CRS) maj. dec. Nugent, 12-0 (13-4)
138- Woloshyn (CRS) maj. dec. Needles, 13-5 (17-4)
145- Martsinovsky (CRS) dec. Johns, 4-2 (20-4)
152- Flanagan (CRS) maj. dec. D’Arcangelo, 9-0 (24-4)
160- Milano (SF) pinned Eklund, 1:33 (24-10)
170- Korbich (CRS) won by forfeit (30-10)
182- Smith (SF) pinned Caplan, 1:44 (30-16)
195- Gilch (CRS) dec. Carbajal, 3-2 (33-16)
220- LaRocca (SF) dec. Weinstein, 4-0 (33-19)
285- Calloway (SF) dec. Anton, 1-0 (33-22)
106- Waterman (CRS) dec. Reynolds, 8-3 (36-22)
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