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Father bests son in Harner coaching matchup as Norristown tops Upper Merion

WEST NORRITON >> It was the subject of quite a few debates over the Christmas holidays, but after host Norristown blitzed Upper Merion Wednesday night, 45-13, the debate was moot.

There is going to be a time in the next couple of years when the Vikings may challenge the Eagles on the mat, but Wednesday night was not one of them.

Norristown, coached by long-time mentor Mark Harner, overwhelmed the Vikings, coached by Harner’s son and three-time state medalist Tim, and the real debate will have to be postponed a couple of years.

According to the younger Harner, Upper Merion is a program on the rise. And if they can get the manpower over the next couple of seasons, the Vikings will not be the roadkill they seem to be right now.

“My first day at Upper Merion we had four kids, that was it,” the younger Harner said. “We had to practice at the middle school.

“It’s fun, but it’s a lot more stressful than I thought it would be.”

Wednesday night the Eagles were the ones dealing out the stress in large doses, as they built a 27-0 lead before the Vikings could dent the scoreboard.

The inexperience was evident, but the Vikings did battle, and only lost by fall twice.

Surprisingly, one of those falls was to Norristown female Kenna Spence, who flattened Upper Merion’s Manuel Salazar early in the second period.

“That’s not her first pin,” said Norristown’s Harner. “She pinned the Boyertown JV kid and she has four wins.”

The Eagles stormed to a 27-0 lead as they won the match’s first six bouts.

Included in the run was a fall by Zaire Tucker at 145 and a pair of forfeit wins.

Upper Merion’s Anthony Yacovetti stopped the run with a fall at 182 pounds, but the Eagles won three of the remaining matches (there were a pair of no matches in that run) and the rout was complete.

But that didn’t prevent the younger Harner from smiling at the long-term future of the program.

“In three years we’re going to be pretty good,” he said. “Right now we have all freshmen and sophomores and we’re going to be good if these kids progress like they should.”

Norristown 45, Upper Merion 13
132: Isaiah Tucker (N) won by forfeit.
138: Sean Crawley (N) dec. Victor Guinard.
145: Zaire Tucker (N) pinned Miguel Amor, 2:37.
152: Nick Bregenzer (N) dec. Gabe Stribny, 7-0.
160: Nick Semon (N) won by forfeit.
170: Quenton Turner (N) dec. Robert Guesullo, 8-7.
182: Anthony Yacovetti (UM) pinned Dakota Culbreath, 0:29.
195: Rich Maggio (N) won by forfeit.
220: Anthony Swenda (UM) dec. Linkene Wallace, 3-1.
285: Tijir Brittingham (N) won by forfeit.
106: Kenna Spence (N) pinned Manuel Salazar, 2:37.
113: No match.
120: Ayden Cheng (UM) maj.dec. Jared Rubin, 11-0.
126: No match.

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