By Pete Kauffman, Staff, Intelligencer Journal
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. – Local high school wrestlers embark on their mission to become state champions today with the opening of the District Three Sectional Tournaments around the midstate.
For some, it becomes the most important mission in their young lives.
For others, like Warwick senior Cory Getz, it’s just one small part trip in the greater journey of life.
Only 18, Getz talks like a much more mature individual when he speaks of pursuing his dream to become involved in urban ministry.
“I’m ready to move on to a different part of my life from wrestling,” said Getz. To that end, he’ll attend Moody Bible College in Chicago in the fall and have to give up wrestling.
“It’s really something I’ve wanted to do for most of my life,” he said of preaching in an urban setting.
Attending Lititz Grace Brethren Church has been a family affair for Getz. His parents, Lester and Donna, and brother Ty, 20, a former Warrior wrestler who’s enrolled at Moody, and sister Becky, 21, all were active in the church.
Cory Getz said the vision of his future came into focus during a church-sponsored trip last summer to the West Coast, covering ground from Los Angeles to Vancouver.
“That trip, when we got to go into those cities and see what was going on, really affected my decision,” Getz said. “That was the thing that really made up my mind; that really got me going.”
Getz knows, though, that there’s still a lot of ground to cover, and many more opportunities to explore while he’s still at Warwick.
He’s active as a student leader in the Warwick Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and doesn’t mind sharing his faith with fellow students.
He does not, though, push his beliefs onto others.
“Wrestling is a good ministry; that’s one thing I’ve been using,” said Getz. “I try and talk to people, but it’s with my good friends I feel most comfortable talking to. They’re the ones I think I have the most effect on. They know I’m telling them things because I care about them.”
Getz, who hopes to one day open up an inner-city rescue mission or plant a church in a big city, also realizes that his future plans may change.
“When you’re working with God, you have to be open to where He wants you to be,” Getz said. This weekend, Getz has a feeling that being on the wrestling mat is where he’s supposed to be — at least for now.
“He’s got good skill,” said Warwick head coach Ned Bushong. “He’s not a gung-ho, yell and scream type kid, but he’s a good leader.
“He’s not one you have to worry about with academics or off-mat problems. He’s pretty straight that way. He likes to do stuff to have fun, but not in a destructive way. He’s a good kid.” He’s also a good wrestler.
Getz (30-1 this year, 98-28 career) is on the verge of reaching that important 100-win milestone. If things go as planned, he should achieve that mark in the semifinals of today’s sectional tournament at Hempfield.
He’s the top seed at 171 pounds, and he and his Warrior teammates are competing at a new site because of the realignment that took place this year. There are now five Class AAA sites instead of just four.
In recent years, Warwick competed with a mostly Berks contingent of wrestlers at Governor Mifflin. Now, they’ll join most of their L-L brethren at Hempfield.
Cocalico, Ephrata and Garden Spot remain at the Mifflin site, while Elizabethtown was shifted to join an otherwise entire Mid-Penn group at Central Dauphin East.
The top three finishers in Class AAA advance to districts, with the exception of those teams competing at CDE, where the top four will advance. That site got the extra qualifier based on those schools having more returning state qualifiers than any of the other sections.
In Class AA, all L-L teams will compete at Donegal and advance four wrestlers to districts. All sectional tournaments will be held on one day, with action getting under way at 9 this morning. The medal rounds are slated for 5:30 p.m. with the championship finals to follow.
Getz is looking to lead a large contingent of Warriors into districts. Last year, ACL surgery on his left knee three days before sectionals ended his junior season prematurely.
This year, he’s hoping for a much better outcome. Rated among the top 10 in some state rankings, Getz is looking to use sectionals as a springboard into districts, then, hopefully, into states as well.
“That’s everyone’s dream,” he said of a possible state title, “but I’d have to upset a few people to make that happen. Right now, I’m just looking at the match in front of me.”
He knows that his wrestling life is soon over and that he must make the most of the opportunities at hand. He also knows, though, that this mission will pale in comparison to the one that awaits beyond high school.