There was no time for the Bermudian Springs wrestling team to start feeling sorry for itself.
The Eagles were coming off a tough loss on criteria to Boiling Springs in Saturday's District 3 Class AA Team Wrestling Championship match, the second straight one-point finals loss in as many years to the Bubblers.
Monday, Bermudian found itself playing host to Mount Union in the preliminary round of the PIAA Class AA team wrestling tournament. The winner of the one-and-done match continued the dual season at the Giant Center, while the loser started preparing for the individual postseason.
With the district final in the rearview mirror and a new team look thanks to bleached hair, the YAIAA Division II team punched its ticket to Hershey with a hard-fought 38-21 victory against the District 6 runner-ups.
"I'm really proud of these guys, the way they came back from that loss on Saturday to qualify for the Giant Center" said Eagles head coach Dave McCollum. "There's nothing like wrestling in the Giant Center."
Burrell, the District 7 champions, will be the Eagles' opponent at 2 p.m. Thursday in a round-of-16 match.
Things didn't start out so great for Bermudian (24-5), which lost three of the first four bouts of the evening including a pair of overtime decisions.
Junior Ted Marines helped get the home squad back on track at 126 with a dominating 12-0 major decision over Jake Boozel. Marines struck for a takedown in each period before clinching the team bonus point on a penalty point and two-point nearfall in the waning seconds of the bout.
"I was looking to get us back in (the match)," Marines said. "After I started scoring points, I thought maybe I could get bonus (points) for the team."
The win put Bermudian into the lead, but it was short lived as the Trojans' Kord Aurand registered a fall against Jake Ford at 1:03 of the 132-pound weight class.
However, that lead for Mount Union (22-5) lasted even less time, as Eagle junior Austin Jackson needed just 32 seconds to deck Robbie Steel at 138. And when Brit Shelton pinned Brian Nemyo at 3:35 of their 145-pound bout, McCollum got what he was looking for from his middleweights.
"We knew they had a couple weak spots in there. ... We wanted to win two of those four middleweights from 132 to 152," said McCollum.
"Briton came to wrestle. We were hoping to get a pin there. Briton is not a pinner; he's a finesse wrestler. That (pin) was big."
In what have should been a highlight match between two one-loss wrestlers, Eagle standout Tristan Sponseller thrashed Cory Kyler via a 3:02, 21-4 technical fall. Kyler came into the bout with just one loss in 28 matches but was never in it against Sponseller (31-1).
Sponseller, a returning PIAA medalist, recorded the first takedown just 10 seconds into the bout and never looked back, racking up five takedowns and six back points in jumping out to a 16-4 lead after the first period. One final takedown and a three-point nearfall finished off the match in dominating fashion.
The Bermudian junior was happy to get back on the mat quickly after the tough district loss, especially with the opening round of the state tournament in a familiar setting.
"I think having it so close to the (district final) helped keep us focused," he said. "It's more comfortable having it here, wrestling in our home gym. It helped us out to not be nervous."
285 --Nik Smith, MU, dec. Noah Hakes, 2-1, OT; 106 -- Bayley Oberlander, BS, won by forfeit; 113 -- Sage Moist, MU, dec. Dalton Becker, 6-4, OT; 120 -- Tyler Foor, MU, dec. Chase Mueller, 5-4; 126 -- Ted Marines, BS, major dec. Jake Boozel, 12-0; 132 -- Kord Aurand, MU, pinned Jake Ford, 1:03; 138 -- Austin Jackson, BS, pinned Robbie Steel, :32; 145 -- Brit Shelton, BS, pinned Brian Nemyo, 3:35; 152 -- Tyler Long, MU, dec. Jared Spahr, 5-4; 160 -- Colton Dull, BS, dec. Dylan Smith, 7-1; 170 -- Tristan Sponseller, BS, tech. fall over Cory Kyler, 3:02 (21-4); 182 -- Jake Slonaker, BS, major dec. Darrian Stapleton, 9-0; 195 -- Brock Linebaugh, BS, major dec. Devon Kyler, 11-3; 220 -- Phil Kyle, MU, dec. Sam McCollum, 5-3.