FRANCONIA >> That young man scampering through the halls of Souderton Area High School Friday night was Matt Parker, returning state finalist, state-ranked 120-pounder and someone who fully expects to be in the state finals again next weekend in Hershey.
The post-match running has become habit, a weekly ritual that become his trademark.
Friday, to one’s surprise, Parker eased past Methacton freshman Kibwe McNair by technical fall, and there he was, pounding through the hallways, headphones in place and the hint of a smile curling on the edges of his mouth.
“It’s something I started last year,” the Rams senior said. “It’s helped me relax after my matches and it’s strengthened my legs.
“My goal at these tournaments is to go out and score as many points as I can.”
Of course the majority of the state is convinced Parker can run until he reaches the end of the world and he’ll still lose to Northampton sophomore Julian Chlebove, who bested Parker in the 113-pound state finals a season ago.
Parker isn’t concerned about that quite yet.
“I’ve been training to wrestle him all year,” Parker said, “but right now all I’m worried about is my next match.”
That will come Saturday morning when Parker tangles with Luke Resnick of Owen J. Roberts in the tournament semis.
Another local winner was Plymouth Whitemarsh junior Marco DiBattista, who overwhelmed Council Rock South sophomore, Braden Ricchini by technical fall in the 113-pound quarters.
DiBattista never trailed, piled up his winning margin of victory in less than two full periods.
“I’m just trying to wrestle my best, I’m not worrying about winning or losing,” the Colonials junior said. “I thought I wrestled pretty good tonight. I got out from bottom, which was a problem for me last week.”
DiBattista will tangle with Boyertown’s Matt Wilde in Saturday’s semis.
And while he’s not the favorite by any stretch, he’ll keep his mindset of wrestling his best, and living with the consequences.
“I feel if I can wrestle my best, I can give him a match,” DiBattista said.
In all, seven locals reached the semifinals, with Pennridge (2) leading the way and Plymouth Whitemarsh, Norristown, Souderton, North Penn and Hatboro-Horsham notching one semifinalist apiece.
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