YORK — The York Comprehensive High School wrestlers, a top 10 program the last four years, have been busy honing their skills in early-season mat appearances.
The YCHS grapplers kicked off the new season with the Dec. 2 Main Event, a popular attraction that draws a sizable crowd and support for the program.
“It’s an opportunity for the kids to wrestle before a big crowd and for parents and grandparents to watch their kids compete,” said head wrestling coach Todd Hershberger.
“The Main Event is a good fundraiser, he said. “We’ve had great response to the Main Event. We fed 350 people.”
YCHS wrestlers took advantage of ample mat time in a Dec. 11 four-way match that included Union, Chester and Indian Land.
Senior Ty Baxter, who pinned his opponent for the win, has a peculiar way of determining the strength of his opponent.
“I can tell the strength of my opponent by the handshake used to start the match,” said Baxter. “If the handshake is light, I know there’s a good chance I can win.”
Such was the case last week, as the senior stalwart pinned his opponent early in the match in the 182-pound weight class.
“I saw an opening and took advantage of the opportunity,” he noted. “I like wrestling. It’s a physical sport.”
YCHS sophomore wrestler Jake Beverly established himself as a solid competitor last season and last week was more of the same.
“When your opponent gets tired, you have to take advantage of the openings,” said Beverly, who competes in the 106-pound weight class. “I saw an opening and pinned my opponent.”
Beverly has his own ideas about what it takes to succeed on the mat. “Technique, strength and energy are the keys to success on the wrestling mat,” he said.
Junior Cole Rumfelt, a fifth-year participant who made his presence felt last season, was dominant in defeating his opponent 6-1.
“I got him on his back early, gaining the advantage for the win,” he said.
Rumfelt’s first experience in the wrestling program was in the seventh grade. “My mom asked me to try wrestling and I liked it,” he recalls.
Rumfelt, who competes in the 132-pound weight class, has a passion for the sport.
“It requires a lot of focus and technique,” he said. “You have a goal to shoot for. Wrestling is a sport where you work your way from the bottom to the top.”
Senior mainstay Chance Kelly, who also plays football, maintains that the transition from football to wrestling isn’t that big a deal.
“Football and wrestling are similar,” said Kelly, a two-sport standout. “In each sport, you take your opponent down.”
In his third varsity season in wrestling, Kelly has developed a fondness for the sport. “It’s a tough sport,” he said. “You have to be in condition. I’m having fun.”
The Cougar wrestlers finished No. 6 in the state in 4A last season. However, the Cougar wrestlers lost eight seniors to graduation last season.
“The program is growing,” said Hershberger. “We have 95 kids in the program from middle school to varsity. “We are a young team with a good many first-year varsity participants with several years in the program.”
The YCHS wrestling team will host White Knoll at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the final match before Christmas.