SPRING GROVE — One bout was one almost nobody could see coming.
One bout was the one everybody wanted to see. They got it, and it didn’t disappoint.
The District 3 Class 3A Wrestling Championships produced its usual selection of highs and lows, but the two Franklin County wrestlers who made the finals put on quite a show.
Shippensburg freshman Dom Frontino continued his electric rise in the postseason and set a new bar by winning the title at 138 pounds, handling another surprise finalist, Liam Strouse of Northern York, a 7-1 beating.
Chambersburg senior Luke Nichter met up with Lower Dauphin’s Clayton Ulrey for the third time this season at 160 and they produced a third scintillating performance. This time, however, Ulrey prevailed 7-5 in sudden victory in a battle of the top two ranked wrestlers in the state.
When the smoke cleared, Frontino, Nichter and Ship senior Dylan Ramsey were the only county wrestlers who qualified for the PIAA State Tournament in two weeks.
Frontino prevailed in a pair of key scramble situations in the first period that keyed his win. He got in on a single and eventually completed a trip for a 2-0 lead. Later, he had a single again, and this time as Strouse tried to counter, Frontino dropped to the mat, getting the takedown and catching Strouse for a nearfall and 6-1 lead.
“I’m comfortable in a scramble,” Frontino said. “I have a great practice partner in Dylan (Ramsey) and he always puts me in different positions I have to get out of. I’ve gotten in the habit of working on them.”
For the rest of the bout, Frontino remained calm and was never in danger.
Greyhound coach Tony Yaniello said, “Dom’s got a good practice partner with Dylan and he’s had good preparation for this with some of the quality opponents he’s had this year. He’s a confident kid from a great family. He has a calmness and he stays in good position.”
With a nice, shiny gold medal, Frontino is on to the next stop.
“After getting second in sectionals, I made it my goal to win this week,” he said. “Now I have two weeks to get in the best shape I can for states. That’s what I’ve dreamed of since I started wrestling when I was 7 or 8 years old.”
Nichter will also be dreaming of PIAA gold, but he may have to get past Ulrey again to do so. The two are both energetic scoring machines and it makes for an entertaining match.
Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said, “It was high-level wrestling, with both kids looking to score for almost seven minutes. That’s what those two will bring you — almost like a pay-for-view. Great technique.”
Nichter missed on an early single shot, and Ulrey did not, leading 2-1 after one period. In the second, Nichter escaped and got a takedown just before the buzzer when he went upper body, then dropped to a low double for a 4-2 lead.
Ulrey scored another takedown in the third, but an escape by Nichter sent the match into overtime. There, Ulrey timed his shot perfectly, got in deep and finished with 0:17 seconds left in sudden victory.
Nichter said, “I didn’t feel that tired (in the third), but I could tell it had taken something out of me, because my snaps weren’t working that well, and that took away something from my offense.
“You don’t normally see guys snapping each other down like that; it was like a college match. On the very first shot I took, I got in low, but didn’t get it. That would have been big.”
“The takedowns were 2-1 in Clayton’s favor,” Mentzer said. “It reinforces what we’ve been working on, but we have to find a way to get another one. If we had gotten that first one, that makes a difference.”
The Trojans, despite finishing fourth in the team standings, had a bit of a frustrating day.
Karl Shindledecker (120) lost in overtime in the third round of consolations, and Luke Mentzer (106), Tate Nichter (152) and Wyatt Hull (220) all lost in the blood round, which decided the state qualifiers.
Mentzer, Nichter and Hull all won later to take fifth place.
Matt Mentzer said, “Luke went 3-1 today, and that’s pretty good. I feel happy for him — he’s been fighting his weight all year. Karl’s weight class was probably the best in the tournament, and it was tough time for him to have a flat weekend.
“Tate … when your only focus is winning the tournament, and your goal is not just to qualify for states, and then you have that unfortunate match, it’s hard to regroup and refocus. His expectations are so high.
“I feel bad for Wyatt. He has shown so much improvement over his four years, and he fell just short.”
Ramsey ended up in fourth place at 132. He broke open a scoreless bout vs. Canton Dolla of Daniel Boone in the blood round with an escape and two technical violation points, and held on to win 3-2. He had lost two straight years in that round, just short of states.
He was edged 1-0 in the match for third place by Mason Myers of Central York.
District 3 Wrestling Championships
138 — Dom Frontino (Ship) p Bryce Buckman (CD), 3:35
160 — Luke Nichter (Chbg) tf Nathan Ridgley (Gettysburg), 21-6, 4:37
285 — Robbie Unruh (Exeter Twp.) p Sean Hess (Ship), 1:36
106 — Matt Repos (CD) md Dominic Flatt (Solanco), 14-0
113 — Ben Monn (CV) d Mason Leiphart (Dover), 5-0
120 — Will Betancourt (Manheim Central) tf Ruston Dzielak (CV), 16-0, 4:18
126 — Josh Miller (CD) d Cole Wilson (Northeastern), 9-5
132 — Bryce Brennan (Red Land) d Timothy Uhler (New Oxford), 6-4
138 — Dom Frontino (Ship) d Liam Strouse (Northern York), 7-1
145 — Brooks Gable (Dallastown) d Gunner Grhr (Garden Spot), 7-0
152 — Luke Sainato (Gettysburg) d Tye Weathersby (CD), 4-3
160 — Clayton Ulrey (Lower Dauphin) d Luke Nichter (Chbg), 7-5 SV
170 — Dylan Reinert (Gettysburg) default over Thomas Dressler (Spring Grove), 0:01
182 — Nick Baker (Penn Manor) d Timmy Smith (CD), 4-3
195 — Jake Lucas (CV) d Jackson Talbott (CD), 6-1
220 — Marques Holton (CD) d Dustin Swanson (Garden Spot), 7-2
285 — Robbie Unruh (Exeter Twp.) p Adam Kase (Conrad Weiser), 5:52
106 — Luke Mentzer (Chbg) tf Noah Groelly (CV), 21-4, 4:53
120 — Karl Shindledecker (Chbg) p Taylor Gehman (Cedar Crest), 0:58
126 — Pat Borja (Exeter Twp.) md Kaden Rouzer (Way), 15-5
132 — Jevin Guldin (Exeter Twp.) p Anthony Colangelo (Chbg), 2:40
132 — Dylan Ramsey (Ship) won by forfeit over Jose Tirado (McCaskey)
152 — Tate Nichter (Chbg) p Joel Dionne (Hempfield), 3:40
170 — Tyriek Jackson (Harrisburg) d Hayden Reichard (Way), 10-5
220 — Wyatt Hull (Chbg) md Logan Herbst (Spring Grove), 12-4
106 — Mentzer (Chbg) d Heath Smyser (Spring Grove), 7-2
120 — Andrew Christie (New Oxford) d Shindledecker (Chbg), 5-3 SV
132 — Ramsey (Ship) d Reagan Lefever (Hempfield), 5-0
152 — T.Nichter (Chbg) p Nick Nettleton (Exeter Twp.), 0:37
220 — Hull (Chbg) d Layton Schmick (Carlisle), 11-7
106 — Caden Dobbins (Dallastown) d Mentzer (Chbg), 2-0
132 — Ramsey (Ship) d Canton Dolla (Daniel Boone), 3-2
152 — Colt Barley (Penn Manor) md T.Nichter (Chbg), 13-0
220 — T.J. Moore (Cedar Crest) d Hull (Chbg), 3-1 SV
285 — Nasier Spellman (York Suburban) p Hess (Ship), 4:24
(For 3rd Place)
132 — Mason Myers (Central York) d Ramsey (Ship), 1-0
(For 5th Place)
106 — Mentzer (Chbg) d Trent Ruble (Conestoga Valley), 9-4
152 — T.Nichter (Chbg) won by forfeit over Hadyn Shreiner (Warwick)
220 — Hull (Chbg) p Matt Woolley (Warwick), 0:46
285 — Zac Shelley (Lampeter-Strasburg) d Hess (Ship), 5-1
1.Central Dauphin 162, 2.Cumberland Valley 108; 3.Getysburg 97; 4.Chambersburg 74.5; 5.Penn Manor 74; 6.New Oxford 70.5; 7.Dallastown 63; 8.Garden Spot 62; 9.Carlisle 59; 10.Exeter Twp. 51; 11.Shippensburg 50.5.