YORK, PA – The York College wrestling team captured an early 24-16 decision over Centenary College before falling to #18 The College of New Jersey by a narrow 18-17 margin Saturday afternoon at York's Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center. The Spartan record now stands at 9-9-1 for the season.
In the day’s first match, the Spartans grabbed their 24-16 victory over Centenary, securing the match with wins in four of the five heaviest weights. After 125-pound Gary Heckler (Laurel Springs, N.J./Highland Regional) recorded a forfeit victory, senior Kyle Flickinger (New Oxford, Pa./Bermudian Springs) added yet another win to his stellar career total with a 5-3 decision at 133 pounds. Centenary would go on to take the next three bouts before the Spartans got back on the scoreboard at 165. Prior to 165-pound John Niedrich (Freehold, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) taking the mat, the Spartans were down 13-9. After falling behind early in the first, Niedrich spent much of the second frame earning valuable riding time and recording a three-point near-fall. The senior captain was able to control the rest of the match to secure a 12-2 major decision and tie the team score at 13.
Brian Thomason (Wernersville, Pa./Schuylkill Valley) then tallied a strong 15-0 tech fall in the 174 class. Thomason wasted little time as he scored a trio of near-falls in the first period before closing out the bout in the second. Centenary then snagged the 184-pound match to cut the Spartan advantage to 18-16. York would take the final two bouts with George Saliba (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) recording a tough 3-1 victory at 197 pounds and Shane Cooley (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) securing an 8-6 win at 285. Saliba spent much of his match on his feet as neither him nor Centenary’s JJ Mitchell was able to gain a significant advantage. After the Saliba and Mitchell traded one-point escapes, Saliba capped the bout by taking two more points in the third. Cooley opened the scoring in the 285-pound match by notching a huge two-point takedown midway through the first period. The sophomore heavyweight pushed his lead to 5-1 in the second but then had to fend off a near fall by Centenary’s George Mack. Down 6-5 to start the third, Cooley nabbed two-points and gained significant riding time in the final period to take the 8-6 win.
York then squared off against #18 TCNJ in the second match of the afternoon. The Green and White began the match on a high note, tallying victories at both the 125- and 133-pound classes. Jerrid Hartman (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) came away with a 9-3 triumph at 125 while Flickinger provided the Spartans with five points by way of an 18-3 technical fall. The Pride captured the next two bouts at 141 and 149 but the Spartans in these weight classes did well to fend off possible major decisions, only relinquishing three points each. This kept the Spartan lead at 8-6. TCNJ followed up by taking two more matches at the 157- and 165-pound classes including a pinfall by tenth-ranked 165-pound Justin Bonitatis.
Now down 15-8, the Spartans charged back. Thomason secured a tough 6-5 win, scoring the winning point on riding time. Hank Conklin (Milford, Pa./Delaware Valley) then came up big for the York squad at 184-pounds, grabbing a 6-2 victory to cut the TCNJ advantage to a mere point at 15-14 with two bouts remaining.
The Pride then grabbed a three-point win at 197 to increase the TCNJ advantage to 18-14. Cooley then hit the mat, immediately looking for a pinfall in his 285-pound bout. The sophomore came out strong as he went on the offensive from the opening whistle just missing a near-fall within the match’s first 10 seconds. Cooley battled throughout the seven-minutes to capture a 6-2 victory. However, TCNJ still took the team result 18-17.
The Green and White travel to New York University next weekend for matches against NYU, Kings, and Rhode Island. The wrestling action begins against NYU at 10:00 am.