WEST CHESTER — Too many times in his first three seasons, West Chester Henderson’s Ray Martin simply could not find the offense come crunch time.
After just missing out on the Southeast Regional tournament against as a junior, Martin dedicated himself to the art of wrestling in the offseason, determined to hone his scoring ability.
Through the first month of the season the senior has won nine of 10 bouts, and Wednesday, in front of his home crowd, he was one of nine Warriors to tally bonus points as Henderson knocked off Avon Grove, 54-24, in the Ches-Mont National Division dual meet.
Martin (182 pounds), who had just five technical falls in his first three seasons, registered his fourth of the year, against the Red Devils.
“A lot of the credit goes to the coaches,” Martin said. “They’ve been pushing me through the summer and all offseason. They’ve been beating me up to improve in the positions I need to and ultimately to achieve my goal in the postseason of being a state medalist.”
Martin bumped up two weight classes from his normal spot at 160 and mustered four takedowns and eight near-fall points on his way to a 17-1 victory over Chris Buonocore.
“The greatest thing about Ray Martin is he didn’t come into high school touted like Killian (Delaney) or (Downingtown West’s Doug) Zapf or guys like that,” Henderson coach Rob Beighley said. “He came in average and he’s put so much work into it. He made the biggest jump this summer and he trained every day. He made strides and wrestled every tough kid and you really root for him because the hard work is bringing him success.”
Henderson (1-0 division, 1-0 overall) got seven pins on the night, starting with Delaney (120), who wasted no time attacking returning regional qualifier, Jordan Howard. Delaney locked up a cradle and got the fall in 73 seconds to move to 10-2 on the season.
Delaney reached states as a freshman, winning a match over returning state medalist, Geo Barzona of Central Mountain, before bowing out.
“Killian brings a lot of energy with his very dynamic style,” Beighley said. “It was a good way for us to start, with our hammer. Jordan is a tough kid and it was a good match from the get-go.”
The Warriors also got pins from Matt Phayre (152), Charlie Collins (160), Nate Latimer (170), Gavin Range (220), Pierce Foster (285) and Sammy McMonagle (106). Luke Phayre (138) added a major decision and Jake Laws (113) won the only decision of the entire dual meet.
“It means a lot to start the (dual) season off the right way,” Martin said. “Avon Grove has a lot of solid kids and we wrestled well in some spots and have to improve in others.”
Avon Grove (0-1, 0-1) pinned in all four of its wins. John Bosio (132) and Nick Barnhart (145) earned the fall in the first period, while Jake Anderson (126) maneuvered a late reversal and got the pin with less than a second remaining on the clock. At 195, Ryan Santos fought off his back to put Henderson’s Connor McGuinness there, and Santos finished him off 55 seconds into the bout.
“We kind of figured it would come down to bonus points and you can’t take anything away from (Henderson), they wrestled hard,” Avon Grove coach Frank McCue said. “We have some young guys in the room and working on getting better with the basics and getting better each day. We’ve been seeing improvement. It’s always disappointing to lose but I don’t think it was for a lack of trying.”
Henderson dedicated the meet to the late Frank Patton, Jr., who passed away in October. The Patton name is a pillar in Henderson athletics, and Frank’s grandsons Jimmy Long, a state medalist, and Brad Patton, a state qualifier, were the most recent to wrestle for Henderson.
West Chester Henderson 54, Avon Grove 24
120- Delaney (WCH) pinned Howard, 1:13 (6-0)
126- Armstrong (AG) pinned English, 5:59 (6-6)
132- Bosio (AG) pinned O’Hara, 1:21 (6-12)
138- L. Phayre (WCH) maj. dec. Smith, 15-4 (10-12)
145- Barnhart (AG) pinned Mullen, 1:37 (10-18)
152- M. Phayre (WCH) pinned Peck, 3:20 (16-18)
160- Collins (WCH) pinned M. Ortiz, 1:03 (22-18)
170- Latimer (WCH) pinned Rodriguez, 1:09 (28-18)
182- Martin (WCH) tech. fall Buonocore, 4:32 (33-18)
195- Santos (AG) pinned McGuinness, :55 (33-24)
220- Range (WCH) pinned Jorgenson, 5:05 (39-24)
285- Foster (WCH) pinned Riddell, 1:57 (45-24)
106- S. McMonagle (WCH) pinned K. Ortiz, :27 (51-24)
113- Laws (WCH) dec. Firth, 8-5 (54-24)
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