It’s that time of the year folks when winter is just itching to turn to spring, March Madness is right around the corner and PIAA state championships begin for high school athletes all over the Keystone State.
The winner of two previous PIAA wrestling medals, Council Rock South senior Zack Trampe would like nothing better than to cap his record-setting career on the mat with a PIAA title belt. He’ll get his chance this weekend at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The tournament starts Thursday and wraps up Saturday. Trampe earned a PIAA runner-up medal in the 126-pound class as a sophomore and a sixth-place trophy last year in the 132-pound division.
In his District 1-AA East opening bout, Trampe broke the Lower Bucks record for career wins formerly held by Oliver Hertzel (CR North/Class of 2008) who had 156 career wins for the Indians. The milestone win was a typical Trampe victory – a 21-6 tech fall he recorded in the second period battling CB South freshman Dominic Stoughton.
Trampe has faced stiffer competition since then.
In his South East Region AAA opener, Zack majored Unionville senior Jake Taylor, a 3-time regional qualifier and a third-place trophy winner in this year’s District 1-AAA Central Tournament.
In the regional semis, he pinned Owen J. Roberts freshman Anthony Petrucelli, a 132-pound Pioneer Athletic Conference runner-up and District 1-AAA West runner-up with over 30 wins his first year on the varsity mat.
In earning his second straight SE Region championship, Trampe won by tech-fall facing Norristown senior Eric Fuentes, a three time regional qualifier with over 100 wins and a District 1-AAA West champion at 132 pounds.
Zack says, this year, he’s not concerned with who is the top competition in the bracket.
“Usually, I worry about all that kind of stuff but this year, I’ve just been focusing on myself,” said Trampe, at regionals. “I don’t even know who I’ll run into next weekend.
“I haven’t been looking at rankings or brackets or anything like that.”
“I see whoever I have to wrestle at that time and that’s the only thing I’m focusing on.”
Trampe’s only loss this year is to Hazleton senior James Hoffman, whom he also lost to last year in a PIAA semifinal bout. The two will likely see each other again in states. Hoffman recently earned a North East AAA runner-up medal after getting pinned in overtime by Northampton senior K.J. Fenstermacher in the regional final.
Trampe is joined at states by classmates Riley Palmer (145 pounds) Carey Palmer and Joe Doyle (220) along with sophomore Max Mendez. Doyle earned a fourth-place PIAA medal last year.
Riley Palmer – who also captured a SE Region championship this year and a PIAA medal as a freshman – opened regionals with a decision win over Penncrest senior Ryan Stocku, a Central League runner-up and a District 1-AAA West medalist with over 100 wins.
Riley needed overtime but he still got past Owen J. Roberts sophomore Daniel Mancini, 3-1. The Wildcat wrestler might be a novice to the mat wars but he has 65 wins in his first two seasons while claiming PAC runner-up and District 1-AA West runner-up medals this season. And, he finished third at regionals.
In winning his second straight regional crown, Riley pinned Coatesville senior Brent Windle, this year’s Ches-Mont champion, District 1-AAA Central champ at 145 pounds.
After earning SE Region crown at 195 pounds last year, Doyle came up just short this year at 220.
Big Joe pinned his first opponent at regions then won by major decision to set up a rematch with Upper Darby senior and top-ranked Brian Kennerly, who is undefeated. Doyle, who is ranked second in the state, pinned the Royals wrestler to earn SE Region Class AAA gold last year.
They met earlier this season, with Kennerly prevailing 6-4 in Doyle’s only loss during the regular season. This time, the Upper Darby grappler won, 3-2, with a last-minute takedown.
Mendez and Cary Palmer both won two bouts in the consolation rounds to clinch a trip to states.
Meanwhile, Council Rock North is sending three wrestlers to states including freshmen Luke Lucerne (106) and Cam Robinson along with senior Aidan Burke.
This year’s District 1-AAA East champ at 106 pounds, Lucerne wrestled his way into the regional final against Downingtown West junior Doug Zaph who earned a 3-0 decision with an escape and a takedown. A 100-bout winner, Burke won two regional bouts before losing a decision to Pennridge senior Matt Parker, this year’s D-1 East Outstanding Wrestler.
Robinson won four consecutive bouts in regional wrestle-backs to earn a trip to states. One of those wins was against William Tennent freshman A.J. Tamburrino, who Cam pinned in the District 1-AAA semis.
In a battle for third place, Robinson nipped Unionville senior Jake Taylor, a two-time District 1-AAA Central medal winner, by a 3-2 score.
Trampe battled Robinson twice in the postseason, losing by fall in the Suburban One National League final and by tech fall in the District 1-AAA East championship bout. Zack sees Cam’s style as very similar to his own.
“It’s kind of like wrestling myself – high-pace, high-energy, all over the place,” said Trampe. “Both matches that I wrestled him, I went in with the same mindset – to score as many points as I could.
“In leagues, I just happened to land in a cradle so I ran it over and got the fall.
“In districts, I just focused on scoring points and the next thing I knew the match was over.”
Of the four Tigers making it to regionals, Truman has just one wrestler in states, sophomore Gunnar Fuss. This year’s District 1-AAA East champion at 126 pounds, Fuss topped Garnet Valley’s Matt Marino and an impressive 5-3 semifinal win over Bayard Rustin’s Brett Kaliner, who finished third.
In the final, Fuss dropped a 6-2 decision to Boyertown’s Jakob Campbell.
Neshaminy senior Kyle Osterhoudt is the Skins’ only representative in states. A district 1 runnerup at 285 pounds, Kyle needed to win his last regional bout to get to fifth-place and he pinned Marple-Newtown’s Anthony Goodman in 32 seconds to qualify. Osterhoudt also pinned Ridley senior John Sheldon to open regions.
NOTES: Trampe also surpassed former Golden Hawks wrestler Austin Carter, a Class of 2007 graduate who posted 154 wins during his time at CR South.