Bishop McDevitt’s momentum swing in the latter half of the District 3 2A Team Wrestling Championships was as clutch as a bout-winning reversal. Trailing 26-6 to perennial powerhouse Boiling Springs in the finals at Cumberland Valley High School on Feb. 5, the Crusaders powered up in the upper weights, winning the final seven bouts of the 13-match final to win 37-26.
“The district title was a huge goal for us this year,” an elated Riley Robell, the Crusaders’ 2021 state silver-medal heavyweight, said after finals.
The Crusaders entered the championships with an unblemished record of 10-0. While it was no surprise that Boiling Springs – now 17-2 on the season – jumped out to a sizable lead, the Bubblers still needed to earn key bouts and bonus points to fend off a Crusader run in the upper weights.
The Crusaders stepped up to the challenge to spoil a Bubbler stampede with rousing wins at 120 and 152 that lifted the Crusader bench off their seats.
At 120, Tillman Artell pinned his opponent with a minute left in a 5-5 match, cutting Boiling Springs’ lead to five points. Then, at 152, Andrew Christie converted a takedown into near-fall points after trailing late in the match. Both efforts not only secured wins for the Crusaders, they robbed Boiling Springs of critical bonus points. Christie’s win was the second in the line of seven-straight Crusader victories.
The match was capped off by back-to-back pins from Kade Werner at 189 and Bryce Enders at 215, and a forfeit by Boiling Springs at heavyweight.
“There were a couple points in the match that took momentum our way,” Robell, team co-captain said. “Definitely when Tillman pinned, that helped us a lot, and then at the end when Kade got the pin in a really close bout. We all had faith that Kade would dominate that match and in the end, he did, and that was awesome. That’s when we knew we had it.”
The district championship is Bishop McDevitt’s second in team wrestling since 2017. It’s also the first district team title for Crusader coach Mike Nauman, who took over the helm in 2019.
“We’re a really tight-knit family here. Everything we do is like a brotherhood,” Robell said of the team. “Everybody has everybody’s back and we all support one another. We have our rivalries and it’s always competitive in the room. It’s something that’s really awesome. I love wrestling here.”
The championship appearance secured a state playoff spot for the Crusaders, who advanced to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals losing to District 11’s Notre Dame, 51-9.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness