NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa.: Cedar Cliff head coach Rob Rapsey had some mixed emotions after watching his team perform Thursday night.
There were some bright spots in the Colts’ 49-25 home victory over Lower Dauphin. But, there were also some efforts that didn’t please Rapsey, who expects more out of a team with this much talent.
This isn’t Rapsey being unfair or demanding too much. He knows what it’s going to take for his team to repeat as District 3-AAA champions and make a run through the state dual-meet championships.
“I would like to think we could dominate from 106 to heavyweight, but we just aren’t there yet,” Rapsey said. “We moved a kid to what we thought was a good match-up with choice knowing we should win the next one, and we didn’t win it. That can’t happen.
“I don’t know about the District run thing … We’ve got to be better. We’ll see, we just got to get better up and down the lineup.”
The Falcons got off to a quick start when Troy-Thomas Elhajj orchestrated a five-takedown performance in a 16-4 major over Michael Cassidy at 138. Sean Donnelly upended Christian Prestil with a late flurry at 145, earning an 8-1 decision on the strength of a reversal and three near-fall points in the third.
Then came one of the early bright spots for the Colts. With the Falcons up 7-0, Danny Zigue (152), who returned from tearing both his ACLs, turned an early takedown into a fall in 1:23 over Richard Skidmore to close the gap.
“For me, it’s important because I’m coming off injury,” Zigue said. “They expect a lot out of me, but I’m still getting back to where I was. I’m between 80 and 90 percent, nowhere close to 100 percent yet.
“I came out quick, but I felt slow and didn’t do as well as I could have. Even though I pinned him, I didn’t feel right. I’m not ready for the full six minutes yet, so there is a lot more work to do.”
The Falcons came back strong to increase their lead to 19-6. Clayton Ulrey (160) and Benjamin Snyder (170) were on point in their matches, securing pins. Snyder executed a nice cradle on Bobby Whalen in 3:56.
Colts 182-pounder Elijah Ikeda broke the string. He came from behind in the third with two takedowns to wrap up an 11-8 decision over Gannon Ulrey.
But, the Falcons kept coming. After a pair of forfeits at 195 and 220 that gave the Colts a 21-19 lead, Kyle Wuestner put the Falcons back on top when he planted Anthony Shires in a short 25 seconds at heavyweight.
Those were the lone highlights for the Falcons. The Colts came went on a strong run from 106 to 132, the meat of their lineup. And the Falcons had no answer.
“Had we been full strength, that’s a tall order,” said Falcons head coach Kemal Pegram. “It’s not like if we had guys, the outcome would have been different. We would have challenged more, but they are tough from 106 through 138.
“We started the match off at 138 and got a good, impressive win from a guy who is back from injury. So, we have nothing to complain about. We wrestled as hard as we could and left it all on the mat.”
The Colts went on a five-match run to close out the outcome. It started with a forfeit at 106 and continued with falls by Aiden Lewis (113) and Cole Baer (120) Creed Bogardus majored Alec Merry 17-3 at 126, and J.J. Wilson polished off the match with a decisive fall in 2:09 over Denver Kalenevich at 132.
“We need to compete better at certain weights,” Rapsey said. There are kids who got beat or got pinned tonight who did a really good job, and there are kids who won who could do better. There are kids who lost who could do better.
“It’s not about wins and losses, it’s about how we are wrestling. Some places we are there, but if we want to be good, we got to be there everywhere.”
Cedar Cliff 49 Lower Dauphin 25