Trojans take title


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ELIZABETHVILLE - Upper Dauphin's Coy Campbell set the armbar deeper, tightened the tight-waist, and with heavy shoulder pressure, drove Williams Valley's Alex Raho flat on the mat again.

As the final seconds ticked away in their 113-pound bout - the final match of the night - the Trojans' coaches and wrestlers rose to their feet in the packed UDA gym.

Five seconds ... four ... three ... the Upper Dauphin fans joined in with a standing ovation that grew larger and louder by the second.

At the final buzzer, Campbell had a major decision, and the Trojans had a 40-39 victory over Williams Valley on Saturday, Jan. 26 that clinched their second straight Schuylkill League Division II championship.

Campbell's 10-2 major decision pushed his team over the top as Upper Dauphin (14-8, 6-0 D-II) completed an undefeated run through the division.

"I wanted to win for my team,'' said Campbell, a soft-spoken sophomore who called the final seconds "nerve-wracking. ... Just keep him down, and I don't know, seal the deal.''

If Campbell hadn't kept Raho down, he wouldn't have sealed the deal. A regular decision would have tied the dual at 39, and Williams Valley would have won on Criterion H, most first points scored (14-12).

Raho (18-10) scored the first takedown, but Campbell (18-11) quickly reversed and went to work wearing down his opponent. He added two near-fall points near the end of the period to go ahead to stay.

A second-period reversal extended Campbell's lead to 6-2, and he spent most of the first four minutes threatening to turn Raho for back points.

Unable to escape, Raho chose neutral for the third period. Campbell made that strategy backfire with a takedown and quick tilt that built an eight-point advantage, the threshold for the four-point major. Raho got to his feet a few times during the final minute, but each time Campbell lifted Raho and tripped him back to the mat to continue the all-important rideout.

"I'm ecstatic,'' Upper Dauphin coach Todd Rupp said of the division repeat. "We never would have thought at the beginning of the year we could have pulled this off. ... They showed they have the guts to do it.''

Before the varsity meet, the Trojans held Senior Night, and just three wrestlers escorted their parents into the gym. The rest of the roster is made up of underclassmen.

The meet also was the finale of an elementary/junior high/varsity tripleheader against Williams Valley that filled the gym.

Devon Hoffman (120) and Cody Snyder (126) opened the varsity meet with first-period falls as Upper Dauphin led or was tied through the first 12 bouts.

"We were very aggressive. The kids who knew they needed to get six, the bonus points, went out and got them for us,'' Rupp said.

David Miller (145), Alex Wray (152), Joe Becker (170) and Trey Campbell (182) added falls for the Trojans, who led 36-18 as the first nine bouts ended by fall.

"Too many young guys giving up the bonus where we didn't want to give up the bonus,'' Williams Valley coach Colin Ackerman said. "They wrestled hard. Three, five, 10 years ago, it wouldn't have been (close) like this.

"I'm happy where the program is and where it's going,'' he added. "Disappointed.''

Suddenly, Williams Valley (12-7, 2-1) went on a four-bout run to climb all the way back. At 195, Noah Crisswell decisioned Cody Zerby 6-2, and Upper Dauphin forfeited to Schuylkill League Tournament champion J.R. Rummel (23-1). Trevor Martin (285) flattened Zach Zerby in 40 seconds to draw the Vikings within three at 36-33.

At 106, Williams Valley's Willy Girard (22-6) and Connor Boyer (22-9) locked up in a good one, with Girard leading 6-3 with 20 seconds left in regulation. On a restart, Girard clamped tight on a cradle and stacked Boyer for a fall at 5:50 that gave the Vikes their first lead of the night, 39-36.

That set the stage for Coy Campbell's heroics that made the Trojans back-to-back Division II champions.

"It means a lot to me that we won the Schuylkill League (Division II) for the second year straight,'' said Miller, one of UDA's three seniors. "We worked really hard to get here. We knew that Williams Valley was going to be a tough match, but we got the wins we really needed, got bonus points where we needed.

"Basically we worked hard in the room, got where we needed, and (Coach) Rupp believed in us.''

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