Hamburg answers critics with another district title in wrestling

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Brian Rippey, Reading Eagle, Pa.
·3 min read
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Feb. 22—While Hamburg wrestlers were relegated to spectators during the Berks County and District 3 Class 2A team tournaments, the second-guessing whispers spread.

Perhaps coach Glenn Miller made a mistake by moving Hamburg to Section 1 of the Berks Wrestling League.

The difficult schedule against Class 3A teams hurt Hamburg's power rating. Even though the two-time defending champions may have been the best Class 2A team in District 3, they didn't come close to qualifying.

One person who wasn't engaging in any second-guessing was Miller. The rationale for those decisions was on display Sunday at the District 3 Class 2a Wrestling Championships in Central Dauphin East High School.

The Hawks won their third straight team title in a close competition with Boiling Springs, the team that won the District 3 Team Tournament in Hamburg's absence.

More importantly to Miller was that Dalton Gimbor, Bailey Gimbor and Brant Mason won individual titles. Parker Davidson and Tristan Baer also placed in top three in their weight classes to advance to Saturday's 2A Southeast Regional Tournament at CD East.

"We wanted to move up to Section 1 for these guys," Miller said. "Most of our good guys are going out and getting forfeits. That's not making us any better.

"For us to get right individually we had to go to Section 1. Unfortunately with COVID, all our 2A matches were canceled."

Great expectations were placed on the Hawks this year after they had won their first Berks County title last year and won a second straight District 3 team championship.

But between COVID-19, injuries and other internal problems, the Hawks couldn't return to those lofty heights. They finished 7-5.

With Mason out of the lineup, the Hawks suffered a one-point loss to eventual county champion Wilson. A loss to Exeter ended the Hawks' chances of getting back to the Berks playoffs, let alone repeating.

The Hawks missed two weeks from Jan 23-Feb. 5 because of COVID issues.

The District 3 Team Tournament was reduced from 12 to four teams because of COVID. Boiling Springs, Northern Lebanon, Newport and West Perry — teams that competed against mostly 2A schools — qualified.

Hamburg ended up 13th in the power rankings. But Miller wasn't concerned that the Hawks weren't in the four-team tournament that was squeezed in last Monday.

"The way the timing fell, wrestling districts to me was not a good option to also compete in individuals," Miller said.

Miller was concerned that an infection could end the season for the entire Hamburg team. A close contact with another team also could have derailed some individual's postseason hopes.

For that reason, Miller said he decided to hold out five seniors for the final dual meet against Daniel Boone on Feb. 10. He didn't want a possible close contact issue to prevent those wrestlers from achieving their individual goals.

Some fans also questioned that decision. But as Miller, his wrestlers and coaches stood at the center of the mat Sunday at CD East with the championship trophy, all those whispers were silenced.

"There were a lot of obstacles this year," Miller said. "We're here now, we're wrestling well and that's what matters."