The individual postseason of wrestling is just 10 days away, so in the meantime, teams will get healthy, get its wrestlers to their chosen weights and win league titles.
Downingtown East, West Chester Rustin and Malvern Prep can clinch their crowns, while Conestoga still has a lot of work yet to do.
The Pioneers have five league dual meets between tonight (at home against Penncrest) and the Central League Championships on Valentine’s Day. Upper Darby is 8-0 in the league and Garnet Valley is 7-1, so the 6-0 Pioneers control their own destiny with road duals against both, Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Malvern Prep is on the verge of its first Inter-Ac title since 1995, with a win over Haverford School, Friday at home at 6 p.m. The Friars have rolled through the league this winter, outscoring opponents 267-31 in four duals, including a 56-16 win over Germantown Academy.
Rustin has had similar success in the American Division, where the Golden Knights are 5-0 by an average score of 56-14.4. Rustin can win its second consecutive division title with a win over Octorara, tonight, and its fifth in six years. The Knights have won 34 of their last 35 division contests.
East can clinch tonight against West Chester Henderson, despite having one more dual Friday, against Avon Grove. East and Henderson are 3-0 in the National Division, but with a win by the Cougars would seal it because Henderson and Coatesville (2-1) still have to face each other. If the Cougars would lose to Avon Grove, they’d still have the single tiebreaker over Henderson or Coatesville, with the head-to-head win.
With the postseason so close, this is the week you may see certain wrestlers “drop’ from a higher weight class to a lighter one. The advantage, of course, for the wrestlers able to cut the weight is being bigger and potentially stronger than kids who are not naturally as heavy.
As is typical all across the state, the talent level is deeper in the lightest half of the 14 weight classes. Expect to see area wrestlers make their moves this week to position themselves for the postseason grind.
An example is Rustin’s Brett Kaliner, who wrestled most of the season at 113 pounds, but made 106 twice this season. Kaliner is ranked No. 5 in the district at 106, and may have more of an advantage at a less-crowded weight.
Speaking of crowded, the most-competitive weight at the Ches-Mont Championships next week may be at 120. Seven Ches-Mont wrestlers have at least 20 wins — West Chester East’s Noah Hankin (23), Downingtown East’s Nik Zimmerman (23), Oxford’s Michael Galbraith (23), Rustin’s Jon Reardon (23), Kennett’s Drew Massetti (21), Avon Grove’s Kevin Edwards (21) and Henderson’s Ray Martin (20).
Henderson senior Joey Wilson will go for his 100th career victory tonight against Downingtown East. He is a two-time regional qualifier and is 25-2 this season.