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Dash, Spear shine for Raider wrestlers

Posted 1/22/20

The Blue Raider wrestling team continued to roll last week, highlighted by championship performances from seniors Joey Spear and Arthur Dash.

These seniors led their team to an important Mid-Penn …

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Dash, Spear shine for Raider wrestlers

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The Blue Raider wrestling team continued to roll last week, highlighted by championship performances from seniors Joey Spear and Arthur Dash.

These seniors led their team to an important Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division win over Palmyra on Thursday and a tremendous team performance at the New Oxford Invitational on Friday. 

The New Oxford Invitational, known for bringing in some of the best wrestling teams in the state, featured 29 teams from across Pennsylvania. The Blue Raiders, led by Spear and Dash, powered their way to a sixth-place team finish among a top-notch field of competition.

Spear was complimentary of his coaches, saying they “got me mentally prepared” and that Middletown’s conditioning “is far better than most teams, which helps me keep up the pace in the second and third period.”

Dash was equally complimentary when asked about his development throughout the season. “Honestly, just believing in the process. I know my team has always got my back, and my coaches are pushing me every day. One percent better each day, they keep telling us. I started out slow at the beginning of this season, but I promised myself and Coach [Dan] Riggs that I’m always gonna end fast and give it my all for my brothers, for this team. I’m just not the one to give up, no matter the circumstances, and I feel like it shows each and every week.”

The Blue Raiders are now 10-4 on the season and looking strong as they approach the District 3 team tournament.

The Raiders will play host to Susquehanna Township on Wednesday, Jan. 22, and travel to East Pennsboro for their final regular season match of the season on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Middletown 44, Palmyra 36

Before heading to New Oxford on Friday, the Blue Raiders had to take care of some important business in Palmyra: a match with significant postseason implications.

The Raiders spotted Palmyra a 6-point lead with a forfeit at 126 pounds to open up the contest. Senior Luke Fegley battled for bonus points on his way to a 17-6 major decision over Matt Carroll at 132. Palmyra standout Jacob Myers earned the pin at 138, but Joey Spear responded with a Blue Raider pin at 145. 

The match did not look promising for the Raiders through the upper-middle weights with Palmyra earning three straight pins at 152, 160, and 170, extending their lead to 30-10. Riggs had obviously done his scouting, making the risky move to bump up four of his seniors to try to win the match in the heavyweights. That turned out to be a good plan that was perfectly executed.

Senior Case Woodley kicked off the heavyweight fight with a second-period pin over Ethan Alberto at 182 pounds. Fellow senior Damion Williams took only 48 seconds to dispatch Brian Devonshire at 195 pounds. Arthur Dash continued the rally with a pin over Jaden Kreiser at 220, and Quincy Reinnagel delivered the final heavy punch with a 35-second pin at 285.

The Cougars picked up 6 more team points with a pin at 106 pounds, but senior Zach Malay and sophomore Alexander Hatt closed the cage on the Cougars with wins at 113 and 120.

New Oxford Invitational

Due to the weekend weather forecast, the New Oxford tournament officials opted to condense the two-day tournament into a Friday midnight madness format. The Blue Raiders, with a host of talented senior leaders, came ready for action, starting with Joey Spear.

Spear looked relaxed and confident as he hammered his way through the 145-pound bracket. Spear began by racking up 13 points before earning the fall over Colin Greenblatt of Harry S. Truman High School.

In the quarterfinal round, Spear trailed Greencastle’s Jared Miller 4-1 but went to work in the second period, putting Miller on his back for two near pins en route to a 12-9 victory. Spear continued to roll in the semifinal round, pinning Hershey’s Devan Lamb in 4 minutes even.

The Blue Raider senior and team captain went on to dominate Bryce Carl of Line Mountain in the championship match, earning the early takedown and controlling the action throughout the match on his way to an 11-4 decision. 

Spear is now 23-4 on the season with 92 career wins.

“As one of the captains, I want to help get the team physically and mentally prepared for team districts.” Spear said. “When it comes to the individual postseason, I will be focused on making it to states.”

Fellow senior Arthur Dash looked completely dominant, pinning his way to the top of the podium on Friday night.

Dash eliminated James Knill from Littlestown in just 35 seconds to advance to the quarterfinals, where York Suburban’s Mike Jury only lasted 27 seconds against the speed and power of Dash.

In the semifinal match, Dash squared off against a talented Frank Regalis of Harry S. Truman, who took the match into the second period locked up at 2-2. Dash increased the intensity, picking up a stalling call on Regalis before throwing him to his back for the pin in 3 minutes, 21 seconds. Dash secured his spot atop the podium with another impressive performance, pinning Red Land’s Connor Taylor in the second period. 

Dash is now 19-6 on the season after winning 12 of his last 13 matches. He missed last season with an injury.

“I missed this sport. Honestly, my goal is to put it all out there, whether it’s on the football field, the wrestling mat or on the track, and especially in the classroom. I just keep pushing ’til I can’t push no more and my time is up,” he said. 

Spear and Dash were not the only Blue Raiders who looked good on Friday night. They were joined by three other seniors who earned a place at the tournament, starting with Quincy Reinnagel, who delivered a third-place performance. Reinnagel started fast with a 46-second pin over Jacob Kensinger of Northeastern. In the quarterfinal round, Reinnagel was leading 5-2 before pinning Dakota Mongan of Fairfield with only seconds remaining in the third period. Canton’s Trevor Williams outmaneuvered Reinnagel for a 12-5 decision in the semifinal matchup, but Reinnagel responded by pinning Red Land’s Cam Metzel to secure his third-place finish. Reinnagel is now 22-5 on the season and poised to make a deep run into the postseason.

Due to the condensed tournament format, a loss in the quarterfinal round meant no chance to wrestle-back for a third-place finish. This was the precarious situation that confronted Raiders Zach Malay and Luke Fegley. 

Malay came out strong in the 113-pound bracket, pinning Muhlenburg’s Makih Cooper in 1 minute, 44 seconds. In the quarterfinal round, Malay dropped a tough 5-1 decision to the eventual tournament champion, Wyatt Fox of Red Land. Malay was undeterred, and began his battle back through the consolation bracket with a pin over Parkland’s Carson Hain.

Malay then earned a quality 6-3 decision over Dillon Reinert of Brandywine Heights. Malay finished the night strong, earning yet another pin and a fifth-place finish in a rematch against Makih Cooper. Malay is now 20-10 on the season with 57 career wins.

Luke Fegley faced some tough competition in the 132-pound bracket. The Raider senior started with a pin over Mark Lavelle of Hershey, but would find himself in the same limited wrestle-back scenario as Malay after dropping a tough 3-2 decision to Bryan Diaz of Parkland. Fegley responded by racking up 14 points before pinning Northern York’s Kolby Portko. Fegley followed that up with a first-period pin over Brandywine Height’s Nick Geary. 

In his final match, Fegley faced Ammon Ohl of St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy. Ohl, who placed sixth in the 2018 PIAA state tournament, proved too much for Fegley, who would fall by a score of 8-0. Fegley is now 26-3 on the season with 121 career wins.

Others competing for the Blue Raiders included: Sam Miller (106), Alexander Hatt (120), Evan Smallwood (138), Isaac Lupp (152), Vinny Corradi (160), Case Woodley (170) and Damion Williams (182).