Hayes gets win No. 100 as Spring-Ford advances in PIAA-AAA tournament

MT. PENN — Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better scenario.

Ryan Hayes secured a personal milestone Tuesday during Spring-Ford’s wrestling match with Exeter. And the way he did it put Hayes and his teammates in good position to advance in the PIAA Class AAA Duals tournament … which they did, courtesy of a 36-24 victory over the Eagles.

Hayes reached the 100-win mark for his scholastic career, becoming the 14th Ram wrestler to achieve that distinction. At the same time, the technical fall the Ram senior scored in his 126-pound bout with Exeter’s Matt Ward staked Spring-Ford to a 12-point (33-12) lead with two weights left to contest.

“It feels good to get 100 wins in three years,’ Hayes said after joining his team in a post-match celebration. “Overall, the team did great.’

Spring-Ford (22-2) returns to Hershey for the resumption of the tourney later this week. It will look to join 15 other AAA programs — Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Boyertown among them — at the Giant Center for the crowning of the state’s big-school team champion.

“We’re looking to have fun, to see what we can do,’ Hayes said. “Last year we were one of the top eight teams in the state. It will be interesting to see how we do this year.’

Though it never trailed after Nick Beauchamp’s major decision of Tyler Harkness in the 145-pound opener, Spring-Ford (22-2) was unable to put significant scoring distance between itself and the Eagles. The District 3 third-place finisher (19-6) used successive pins at 113 and 120 to cut into the Rams’ 28-9 lead just beyond the match’s midway point.

Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove was quick to point out this wasn’t the same Exeter lineup his team handled, 45-19, in the championship of the Exeter Duals staged in mid-December.

“They forfeited three weights the last time,’ he said. “They had a different lineup this time. We knew they would be tough.’

That was very much the case even in a number of bouts Spring-Ford, the third-place team from District 1, won.

Steve Rice found himself challenged by Denny Karas in the third period of his 7-3 decision at 170, as was Ryan Yanulevich by Exeter’s Nolan Buck en route to a 5-3 win at 195. Zach Dorsey found himself extended into overtime against Oscar Daniels at 285, the score even at 5-5 before the Ram senior got a takedown and back points for a 9-5 victory.

In the 138-pound finale, Matt Krieble needed four points in the third period to overtake the Eagles’ Tyler Bagoly for a 5-2 decision. That made any hopes Exeter had for a comeback — it needed to score the maximum number of team points in the final two weights just to pull even with Spring-Ford on the scoreboard — moot.

“We moved some of our people around,’ Seislove noted. “Winning at 195, 220 (Brendan Zimmie pin) and heavyweight was huge.’

Spring-Ford also got pin power from Frankie Krauss, who cradled John Harrell at the 2:21 mark of their 160-pound bout, and Brandon Meredith’s 7-2 decision of Ryan Watts at 106. That reversed the outcome of their duals meeting, where Watts posted a 3-1 sudden victory when they faced off at 113.

But Hayes’ tech-fall proved particularly electrifying for the Spring-Ford fans. Opening a 4-0 lead in the first period, Hayes (30-2) poured on the points in the second period to build an 18-4 edge, then got the five-point verdict with a final takedown 13 seconds into the third.

“I was trying to settle a cradle at the end,’ he recalled, “but the kid was lanky. I couldn’t get it.’

The Spring-Ford coaching staff reconfigured its lineup at the end, bumping Hayes up from his accustomed 120-pound berth and pitting Hunter Mitch against Exeter’s James Harkness. Though Harkness duplicated the result of their previous encounter — a four-point decision — it fell short of keeping the Eagles in contention for the match win.

“The coaches decided it would be smart to have Hunter at 132,’ Hayes said. “It proved to be a great decision.’

Now, Spring-Ford heads to Hershey with an eye on doing better than its 2-2 showing last year. It will open against Franklin Regional, the District 7 champion, at 8 p.m. Thursday.

“After losing to Council Rock South at districts, our heads were down a bit,’ Hayes said. “But we did the job against Owen J. Roberts, Pennridge and in the match tonight.’

NOTES — Hayes had wrestled the Eagles’ Austin DeSanto at the duals, posting a handy 8-1 decision. But DeSanto was called out for the 113-pound bout, precluding any chance for a rematch. … Hayes noted he will have a tough opening-round opponent in FR’s Spencer Lee, the nation’s top-ranked wrestler in his weight class. … Krauss is the next Spring-Ford wrestler in line to reach the 100-win mark. The senior came out of the Exeter match with 98 career wins.

PIAA Class AAA Duals
Preliminary Round

Spring-Ford 36

Exeter 24

145 – Nick Beauchamp (SF) dec. Tyler Harkness, 13-0 (4-0)

152 – Ethan Stever (Ex) dec. Jon Cooper, 3-1 (4-3)

160 – Frankie Krauss (SF) pinned John Harrell, 2:21 (10-3)

170 – Steve Rice (SF) dec. Denny Karas, 7-3 (13-3)

182 – Scott Schaeffer (Ex) pinned Austin Pecharo, 1:51 (13-9)

195 – Ryan Yanulevich (SF) dec. Nolan Buck, 5-3 (16-9)

220 – Brendan Zimmie (SF) pinned Jonathan Greenleaf, 2:35 (22-9)

285 – Zachary Dorsey (SF) dec. Oscar Daniels, 9-5 SV (25-9)

106 – Brandon Meredith (SF) dec. Ryan Watts, 7-2 (28-9)

113 – Austin DeSanto (Ex) pinned Derek Weast, 0:38 (28-15)

120 – Brett Kulp (Ex) pinned Alex Sheeler, 1:32 (28-21)

126 – Ryan Hayes (SF) won by technical fall over Matt Ward, 4:11 (33-21)

132 – James Harkness (Ex) dec. Hunter Mitch, 6-2 (33-24)

138 – Matt Krieble (SF) dec. Tyler Bagoly, 5-2 (36-24)

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