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Pioneer Athletic Conference

Mercury-area team-by-team wrestling preview

Boyertown

Head coach: David Jones, first season.

Last year’s record: 4-1 PAC, 21-5 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Elijah Jones, Sr.; Brett Breidor, Jr.; Aiden Hager, Jr.; Jake Miller, Jr.; Connor Neiswender, Jr.; Evan Mortimer, So.; Chase Stehman, So.

Outlook: Jones takes over the Bear mat program from Pete Ventresca, who announced his retirement last winter after 14 seasons of involvement with the team — the last 12 as head coach. … Jones, a wrestler for Boyertown four seasons prior to his graduation in 2007, topped the 100-win mark (102), was a District 1-AAA Central champion, qualified three times for the Southeast AAA Regional tournament — runner-up his senior year — and once for PIAA Class AAA during his scholastic career. Outside of the coach’s younger brother, senior Elijah Jones, who was a PIAA medalist (5th place, 47-8 record) as a junior, it’s a less experienced team than has been the recent case for the perennial District 1 contender. “We have a great group of young wrestlers,” Jones said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to coach this group, and look forward to seeing them compete this season.”

Daniel Boone

Head coach: James Hogan, first season.

Last year’s record: 2-5 Berks Conference, 5-9 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Dylan Holland, Sr., 152-160; Steven Keim, Sr., 145-152; Tom Lynagh, Sr., 220; Daniel Drumheller, Jr., 126-132; Sam Zummo, Jr., 120-126.

Outlook: Hogan takes over the Blazer mat program from Kevin Oswalt, who stepped aside after four seasons as head coach. He was a varsity assistant coach to Oswalt during the 2014-15 season, helping lead Boone to a 17-13 record. … “We are very young this year, with several freshmen and sophomores in the lineup,” Hogan said. “The goal is to develop and improve as the year goes on.”

Hill School

Head coach: Mark Pearson, ninth season.

Last year’s record: 2-2 Mid-Atlantic Prep League, 11-11 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Kyle Gorant, Sr.; Ted Kennedy, Sr.; Tom Krumrine, Sr.; Wyatt Haring, So.; Mike Stevens, So., 120-126; Cody Craig, PG; Austin Vincent, PG.

Outlook: Incoming freshman Ethan Kreuzberg went undefeated last year at Cardigan Mountain School in New England junior prep school competition. … Gorant, a returning two-time National Prep Tournament placer (third and fifth), is looking to continue his climb up the podium. He recently signed a National Letter of Intent to wrestle at Davidson College, and he was also awarded the prestigious Bryan Scholarship at Davidson, which is given to one impact male athlete and one impact female athlete at the Division 1 school. … Craig, a four-time Maine state champion and two-time Fargo All-American, and Vincent, a fifth placer in the Illinois state tourney, will also contend for high spots on the National Preps podium. … “The Hill wrestling team is aiming to improve on its fifth place finish at state preps and its 18th place at National Preps,” Pearson said. “ Kennedy and Krumrine, and Hare are looking to improve on their prep state placements.”

Methacton’s Corey Morabito, top, controls his Downingtown West opponent during the quarterfinal round of the District 1-AAA Team Duals Friday night at Pottsgrove High School. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Methacton

Head coach: Brad Clark, first season.

Last year’s record: 3-2 PAC, 14-4 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Michael Blakemore, Sr., 160; Tonee Ellis, Jr., 285; Corey Morabito, Jr., 113; Will Rebert, Jr., 126; Kibwe McNair, So., 132; Roman Moser, So., 145.

Outlook: Clark takes over the Warrior mat program from A.J. Maida, who compiled a 108-62 record in nine years at the helm. … Clark, a 2007 Methacton graduate, went 126-27 in four varsity seasons, winning three PIAA Class AAA medals — the highest a fourth his junior year. … Clark returns to his alma mater after serving as Pottstown’s head wrestling coach last winter, going 9-10. … “We are preparing to compete for the PAC league title and aiming to be a Top Five team in the Region,” Clark said. “We have a well-balanced lineup — led by a strong group of seniors, followed by a core group of sophomores. Our coaches feel our team strength is actually the unknown wrestlers who have been a part of the Methacton program since their youth days. The coaches can not wait to see the progression those wrestlers make.”

Norristown

Head coach: Mark Harner, 14th season.

Last year’s record: 0-5 PAC, 10-10 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Rick Bregenzer, Sr., 145; Gerrome Campbell, Sr., 170; Rich Maggio, Sr., 195; Luis Reyes, Sr., 132; Mike Te, Sr., 182; Quinton Turner, Sr., 182.
Outlook: Maggio is coming off a 2016-17 season that saw him place third at both the PAC and District 1-AAA West tourneys and qualify for the Southeast AAA Regional.

Dan Mancini of Owen J. Roberts lifts Nazareth’s Nathan Stefanik during an 8-2 decision at 145 pounds at the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships. (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Owen J. Roberts

Head coach: Steve DeRafelo, 15th season.

Last year’s record: 5-0 PAC, 19-4 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Tyler McCutchen, Sr., 132-138; Jacob McCloud, Sr., 182; Jason Zollers, Sr., 160-171; Daniel Mancini, Jr., 152-160; Ricky McCutchen Jr., 152-160; Cole Meredith, Jr., 145-152; Jacob Dunleavy, So., 113-120; David Forrest, So., 106-113; Connor Leister, So., 132-138; Antonio Petrucelli, So., 138-145; Eric Shanahan, So., 113-120; Connor Quinn, So., 126-132.

Outlook: Last season’s Pioneer Athletic Conference champions are positioned for another successful season with two returning PIAA qualifiers in the mix with juniors Dan Mancini and Cole Meredith. “We are excited about the upcoming season,” DeRafelo said. “We have been working hard to prepare to compete to the best of our ability. We will be looking to our seniors to provide the leadership needed to continue to grow. We still have a lot of work to do if we hope to be competitive in the PAC, the best wrestling league in District 1. The PAC is loaded top to bottom with talented coaches and outstanding wrestlers.”

Perkiomen Valley

Head coach: Jared Dubbs, fourth season.

Last year’s record: 1-4 PAC, 8-6 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Austin Rowley, Jr., 138; Gavin Euker, So., 220; P.J. Kakos, So., 113.

Outlook: Kakos was the Vikings’ furthest-advancing wrestler in the 2016-17 post-season, placing fifth at 106 in the District 1-AAA West Tournament. Rowley also qualified for districts at 126. … “We have a large team with a promising freshmen class,” Dubbs said. “We also look to capitalize on veteran leadership and wrestlers that already have two or three years of varsity experience. We are very excited about our experience and depth, especially throughout the upper weights.”

Phoenixville’s Bryce Thompson, bottom, looks to take down Spring-Ford’s Tim Flynn during their bout at 195 pounds Wednesday night. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)

Phoenixville

Head coach: Brandan Clark, first season.

Last year’s record: 2-3 PAC, 3-11 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Bryce Thompson, Sr., 182.

Outlook: Clark takes over the Phantom mat program from Alec Bown, who headed it the three previous winters. … Clark is a 2011 Methacton graduate who compiled a 145-29 record and was a silver medalist at states his senior season. He was an assistant coach to his brother, Brad, at Pottstown last year. … Thompson is coming off a junior season that saw him compile a 22-12 record, place fourth at the PAC Tournament and fifth at District 1-AAA West. … “Great group of kids, with positive attitudes,” Clark said of his 2017-18 squad. “We need to work on refining technique.”

Pope John Paul II

Head coach: Tom Hontz, second season.

Last year’s record: 1-4 PAC, 5-13 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Nick Boyce, Sr., 132; David Delciotto, Sr., 160; Ryan O’Donnell, Sr., 120; Jake Stead, Sr., 170; Jack Files, Jr., 195; Ryan Vulakh, Jr,. 145; Matt Delciotto, So., 138; Matt Vulakh, Fr., 106.

Outlook: Three freshman — Aiden Mitchell (132), Jacob Rau (220) and Andrew Yacovelli(106) join Stead as newcomers to the Golden Panther mat program. … “Numbers continue to be an issue, as we lost a few guys from last year’s team who would have been returning starter,” Hontz said. “But the outlook is brighter on the individual side as Ryan Vulakh should be one of the top wrestlers in the state. Nick Boyce and Ryan O’Donnell have also showed improvement, and newcomer Jack Files is a welcome addition, as is freshmen Matt Vulakh. The Delciotto brothers also will be looking to continue to improve. We will have a very interesting schedule this season. as we challenge our upper-echelon wrestlers with the Beast of the East and Powerade tournaments, but we also hope to see improvement from our other wrestlers as we host this year’s New Hope Tournament and travel to the Garden State Tournament in January.”

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media
Pottsgrove’s Chase Banyai controls Upper Merion’s Zach DeSanto on January 18, 2017.

Pottsgrove

Head coach: Jeff Madden, 10th season.

Last year’s record: 4-1 PAC, 6-12 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Chase Banyai, Sr.; Skylar McLeod, Sr.; Isaac Hanna, Jr.; Marcus Keen, Jr.; Jacquin Allen, So.; Josh Cerrito, So.; Tajhir Fraser, So.; Stephen Hennelly, So.; Noah Miller, So.; Avery Shivak, So.; Zach Van Horn, So.

Outlook: Banyai (25-13) placed sixth at the Southeast AAA Regional last year, and McLeod (25-7) was fifth at the District 1-AAA West Tournament. … “Our team is led by two outstanding seniors with a large number of sophomores who gained a great deal of experience last year,” Madden said.

Pottstown

Head coach: Nick Wade, first season.

Last year’s record: 4-1 PAC, 9-10 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Alex Caballero, Sr., 138; Tom Doyle, Sr., 285; Nate Parson, Sr., 132-138; Anthony Wiggins, Sr., 138-145.

Outlook: Wade takes over the Trojan program from Brad Clark, who took over at Methacton after just one season in Pottstown. … “We look to field a full lineup and be competitive in all of our league match-ups,” Wade said. “We have a strong senior class that has been working hard for three years in the room and is ready to lead our younger guys.”

Spring-Ford’s Chase Smith reverses Central Bucks East’s Collin Stevens to give Stevens his first loss of the season in the 182-pound quarterfinal bout. (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Spring-Ford

Head coach: Tim Seislove, 19th season.

Last year’s record: 2-3 PAC, 16-5 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Ben D’Arcangelo, Sr., 152; Mike Gradwell, Sr., 160-170; Matt Lepore, Sr., 285; Brandon Meredith, Sr., 120; Dirk Nugent, Jr., 126; Chase Smith, Jr., 182-195; Louis Carbajal, So., 195; Quinn Tobin, So., 113.

Outlook: Meredith and Smith, both of whom qualified for states last year, head the Rams’ posture of post-season experience. Lepore was a Southeast AAA Regional qualifier while D’Arcangelo, Gradwell, Nugent, Carbajal and Tobin all made the District 1-AAA West competition. … “The team has been working hard so far this season,” Seislove said. “The PAC is always tough, and we are hoping to be competitive again this year.”

Upper Merion

Head coach: Tim Harner, first season.

Last year’s record: 0-5 PAC, 0-14 overall.

Wrestler to watch: Anthony Yacovetti, Sr., 170.

Outlook: Harner, son of longtime Norristown head coach Mark Harner, takes over the Viking mat program from Marcus Johnson. Johnson had headed UM mats for five seasons. … Yacovetti had a record of 11-4 last winter, and he was out the majority of the season with a broken ankle after a 28-9 sophomore season. … “Collin Powers (106) and Ayden Chenge (113) are two incoming freshman that should make some noise this year,” Harner said.

Upper Perkiomen’s Jared Svanson pins Pottsgrove’s Chase Banyai at 132. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Upper Perkiomen

Head coach: Steve Adam, first season.

Last year’s record: 4-1 PAC, 7-7 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Jared Kuhns, Sr., 120; D.J. McIlvaine, Sr., 152-160; Ryan Rossiter, Sr., 132; Jarek Svanson, Sr., 132; Austin DiDomenico, So., 138-145; Gavin Marks, So., 113; Mike Milkowich, So., 106-113; Zach Rozanski, So., 132.

Outlook: Adam takes over the Indian mat program from Jake Engle, who finished out the 2016-17 term when Sam Walters stepped down as head coach in late January. … Among the team’s prospects are sophomores Martin Makowski (106), Matt Martin (106) and Ryan Phipps (138) and freshmen David Adair (106), Jacob Ankele (106), Joey Carpenter (106), Robbie Carpenter (106), Keaton Durning (126), Daniel Hawkins (145), Jacob Rickabaugh (170) and Soren Svanson (152-160). … “Upper Perk will have a very young roster this season,” Adam said. “The team will be led by senior captains Jared Kuhns and Jarek Svanson. There is plenty of individual talent on the roster. The lack of upper weights will make it challenging to achieve a dual meet postseason.”

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