YORK, PA – The York College wrestling
team saw six Spartans place in the top four of their respective
weight classes Saturday afternoon at the annual Spartan
Invitational. With ten squads in attendance, the green and white
nabbed a fourth-place team finish with 59.5 points, just one-half
point below third-place Heidelberg. Delaware Valley captured the
overall team title with 108.5 points.
Senior Kyle Flickinger (New Oxford, Pa./Bermudian Springs) and junior Chris Elliott (Crofton, Md./South River) recorded the highest finishes for the York squad, taking second in the 133- and 184-pound classes, respectively.
Flickinger, who won last season’s Spartan Invitational at 125-pounds, rattled off three straight victories during the day, sending the Spartan veteran into the championship bout. In the final, Flickinger squared off with #1 seed Brandon Clemmer of Delaware Valley, the fifth-ranked 133-pounder in Division III. Despite Flickinger’s strong run through the bracket, Clemmer bested the Spartan senior 9-5 to secure the 133-pound title.
Elliott reached the tournament finals after posting a 2-0 record. The junior pinned Apprentice’s Quinten Bowling in his first bout before notching a 5-2 win over Heideleberg’s Haydon Andelotta in the semifinals. Delaware Valley’s Mike Wilcox, the weight’s top seed, topped Elliott in the final.
Fellow 184-pounder Hank Conklin (Milford, Pa./Delaware Valley) grabbed third place. After his first-round loss to Wilcox, Conklin wrestled back to secure third-place for the green and white. Conklin defeated Andelotta, 11-6, and Bowling, 14-4, in the consolation bracket.
Senior 165-pound John Niedrich (Freehold, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) notched a third-place finish for the Spartan squad, going 5-1 on the day. Niedrich, the Invitational 157-pound champ last season, defeated Delaware Valley’s Jake Phillips 10-0 in the first round but was just edged by Gloucester’s Dakota Moore 5-3 in their second round bout. Niedrich then blasted through the consolation bracket, securing four straight victories en route to his third-place finish.
At 197 pounds, James Laughlin (Hanover, Pa./South Western) tallied fourth for the Spartans. Following a first round bye, Lauglin bested Joe Sangirardi of Delaware Valley 11-2, sending the Spartan rookie through to the semifinals. A tough 6-4 defeat to the College of New Jersey’s Ed Broderick forced Laughlin to the consolation bracket where he topped TCNJ’s Adam Kozial 5-3 before losing to Delaware State’s Shawn Nowery in the third-place match.
Shane Cooley (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), York’s top 285-pound wrestler, grabbed another fourth-placer finisher. Cooley flew through the first two rounds, winning 10-2 and recording a fall over his first two matches. In the semifinal round, the sophomore dropped a 5-1 decision to eventual champion Tim Katzaman of Elizabethtown. Cooley then defeated Zeke Pyle of Delaware Valley 6-3 but lost to Cecil Lee of Apprentice 3-1 in the third-place bout.
Three more Spartan wrestlers registered appearances in their weight class’ semifinal round. Matt Heisey (Harrisburg, Pa./Cedar Crest), a 165-pound freshman, lost to eventual champion Justin Bonitatis of TCNJ. York’s 174-pound Brian Thomason (Wernersville, Pa./Schuylkill Valley) lost to another eventual champion, Delaware State’s Kyle Skinner, while freshman 197-pound George Saliba (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) also recorded a semifinal appearance.
The Spartans next take to the mat on Saturday, December 13, as the green and white host a quad-meet. Messiah, Gettysburg, and Thaddeus Stevens visit York with the wrestling slated to begin at noon.
COMPLETE TOURNAMENT BRACKETS - courtesy of A 'n' A Tournament Services
Chris Elliott photo courtesy of Scott Guise