Due to a variety of reasons including injuries to key wrestlers Justin Ortega and Nick Ruggear, the Hornet wrestling team took a depleted squad of just seven wrestlers to the Buckskin Holiday Classic at Conestoga Valley High School this past weekend.112-pounder Cory Brennan led the way for Oxford, capturing second place at the weight for the Hornets. Also placing for Oxford were Jesse Combs (3rd, 135) and Kyle Moran (8th, 125).
Brennan didn't spend two full minutes on the mat over the first two rounds of wrestling, decking Caesar Rodney's Erich Voshel in 46-seconds, and sticking Trevor Kobylazz of Exeter in 1:04 to reach the semi-finals.
In the semis, Waynesboro's Mat Nel put Brennan through a wild first period, notching a takedown, a reversal, and a pair of near fall points to lead 6-4 at the end of one. Brennan tied it up with a double leg takedown to start the second, then wrapped up Nel with a body scissors and power half to get the pin in 3:34.
Brennan squared off with Derek Goodwin of Hamburg for the championship. The two know each other well, having worked out together in the offseason at Steel Mat Club near Reading. That familiarity seemed evident in the finals, as both wrestlers seemed to be able to anticipate each others moves. The end results was six minutes full of scrambling.
After a scoreless first, the two traded two quick reversals in the second, then Goodwin secured the championship with a reversal in the third.
"I think I could have wrestled better on the mat, " said Brennan. "On top or from bottom."
Combs was saddled with a low seed to start the tournament, a position that saw the Hornet 135-pounder have to wrestler a pigtail-round bout and a preliminary bout just to reach the quarterfinals. Combs pinned Kody Hassinger, Lewistown, 3:26 in the first match, then won by tech. fall over Jordan Dibich, James River, VA (16-0, 3:01) to reach the quarters where he ran into top-seeded Jake O'Hara.
O'Hara, whose closest match in the tournament was a 15-2 win in semis, beat Combs by tech fall, but Combs rebounded with four straight wins in the consolation bracket to finish third. The win streak began with a tech fall over Cody Gibson from Hamburg, continued with a 4-0 win over Rich Adams of Annandale (VA) and a 4-3 victory over Garreth Cooper of Spring-Ford. Combs wrapped up third place with an 8-5 win over Exeter's Jon Giorgio to finish 6-1 in the tournament.
"I wasn't going to settle for any thing less than a third, " said Combs. "I wanted to prove that I deserved a better seed. I just knew I had to wrestle smart, not take any unnecessary shots, and pace myself to got through wrestlebacks. I'm sore now, though."
Moran finished with a record of 4-3 in the tournament to capture eight-place hardware. After decking New Oxford's Joe Deatrick in just 36-seconds, Moran was dropped to the consolations rounds by a loss to eventual champ Chris Albright in the round of 16.
Moran moved into the medal rounds with an 11-0 major decision over Ben Hinkel of Exeter; a 7-6 win over Hamburg's Jackson Stabile; and a 10-6 victory over Garnet Valley's Zack Nickle. A loss to James River's Jordan Dix put Moran in the match for seventh-place against Lewistown's Gage Smith, but an injury prevented Moran from further competition. Also winning at least one match in tournament were Chris Marchand (1-2 at 119), Zach Whitesell (2-2 at 140) and Dan Carl (1-2 at 171).