MILTON — To paraphrase an old automotive ad campaign from General Motors, this isn’t your father’s Williamsport wrestling team. Indeed, this is a new generation of Millionaires on the mat.
Williamsport’s third place at their own Tom Best Memorial Top Hat wrestling tournament last weekend was its best finish at the Magic Dome in almost 20 years, thanks primarily to talented freshman and sophomore classes. That group combined for 10 of the 14 Millionaires’ starters at the venerable tournament.
Even with Carter Weaver, a Top Hat champ at 120, and Carter Dawson, the third place finisher at 132, missing from the lineup Tuesday night, Williamsport managed to quell stubborn Milton, 42-29, in their Heartland-I opener at the Jungle.
Milton also had a pair of wrestlers missing from its lineup but still had a chance to win the dual until a costly team point deduction in the next-to-last bout wiped away that opportunity.
“We were missing a couple of guys and they were missing at least two studs,” Milton coach Josh Anspach said. “I told our guys that this match was going to come down to effort. It was a very winnable match and we could have won. But Williamsport had a little more effort than we did tonight and that was the difference.”
The Black Panthers did hold an 18-9 advantage after the first five bouts thanks to three falls in that stretch.
After Milton forfeited the opening bout at 170, Aven Ayala tied the score by pinning Williamsport’s Ryley Holcomb in 24 seconds. Ayala, a junior, was 15-15 last season with ten falls. Sophomore Nathan Rauch followed with another first period fall, this one in 1:21 for his first varsity win.
Brent Mitch dropped a 5-2 decision at 220, but senior Nathan Rauch continued his blazing start to the season by immediately taking down Williamsport’s Ethan Williamson in the first five seconds and turning him for a quick 21-second fall.
Williamson was the third place finisher at the Top Hat.
Rauch, who, at 250 pounds, is 30 pounds lighter to start this season rather than the 283 he tipped the scales at last year, has five wins this season, all by fall.
“I believe a lot of my success comes from being able to hit a variety of take downs that most heavyweights won’t try,” Rauch said. “It’s the element of surprise. I kept my weight down by eating healthier and by asking the coaches to drill with me for an extra twenty minutes after practice. I had a good tournament (at Cumberland Valley) last weekend. My hard work showed on the mat.”
Anspach said Ruach’s success is no accident.
“Nevin bought in to our coaching and training,” he said. “He’s very coachable. He’s lighter than last year at this time so he moves well and feels better. He does all the right things.”
But Milton would only win twice more after Rauch’s fall at heavyweight. Zane Neaus earned the first fall of his career when he pinned the Millionaires’ Zach Flock in 54 seconds at 120. Aiden Keister grabbed a forfeit at 126.
Milton’s Kyler Crawford didn’t beat Williamsport’s Braden Bower in a battle of state qualifiers at 138 but he did close the gap on the Top Hat runner-up in an 11-5 loss that was closer than the margin might indicate. Last season Bower handled Crawford, 14-4 in their dual.
“Kyler was in a couple of positions in that bout where he gave up two points but could have gotten five,” Anspach said. “We’ll clean some things up. But I told to hold his head high because he put himself in scoring positions.”
Milton returns to the mat next Tuesday for a dual meet at home with Danville. The Ironmen took advantage of five Milton forfeits for a 45-35 win last season.
Williamsport 42, Milton 29
170: Cale Cooklin, W, won by forfeit. 182: Aven Ayala, M, pinned Ryley Holcomb, :24. 195: Nate Rauch, M, pinned Charlie Lundy, 1:21. 220: Charles Crews, W, dec. Brent Mitch, 6-2. 285: Nevin Rauch, M, pinned Ethan Williamson, :21. 106: Cael Nasdeo, W, pinned Tyler Geisewhite, 3:17. 113: Luke Seagraves, W, pinned Alex Parker, 1:13. 120: Zane Neaus, M, pinned Zach Flock, :54. 126: Aiden Keister, M, won by forfeit. 132: Isaiah Harer, W, dec. Colton Taylor, 14-7. 138: Brandon Bower, W, dec. Kyler Crawford, 11-5. 145: Roman Morrone, W, pinned Jaden Wagner, 1:53. 152: Owen Mahon, W, dec. Chase Hoffman, 5-3. 160:
Sebastian Robinson, W, pinned Jason Valladares, 5:23.
Milton deducted 1 team point at 152.
In other wrestling action Tuesday:Warrior Run 45
South Williamsport 27
TURBOTVILLE — The Defenders picked up five pins to take down the Mounties in HAC-III action.
Getting the pins for Warrior Run (1-0) were Landan Kurtz (126), Noah Hunt (132), Logan Witmer (138), Tanner Confair (152) and Hoyt Bower (195).
Warrior Run is next in action this weekend at the King of the Mountain Tournament.
Warrior Run 45, South Williamsport 27
at Warrior Run
145: Masen Lane (SW) dec. Kalen Ritenour, 9-8; 152: Tanner Confair (WR) pinned Ben Stoetzel, 4:39; 160: Landon Lorson (SW) pinned Grady Miller, 4:46; 170: Taylor Wise (WR) dec. Nathan Conser, 10-6; 182: Lane Lusk (SW) dec. Sam Crawford, 9-4; 195: Hoyt Bower (WR) pinned Clayton Swarthout, :56; 220: Sam Hostrander (SW) pinned Jeremiah Wagner, :35; 285: Jake Casella (SW) pinned Evan Diehl, 2:25; 106: Hayden DuRussell (WR) won by forfeit; 113: Robert Gardner (SW) dec. Kaden Milheim, 4-2, SV-1; 120: Kaden Majcher (WR) won by forfeit; 126: Landan Kurtz (WR) pinned Ryan Schriner, 2:26; 132: Noah Hunt (WR) pinned Gabriel Harvey, 1:55; 138: Logan Witmer (WR) pinned Trenton Morrison, :22.