EAST WHITELAND — In a lot of ways, Great Valley junior Ethan Seeley can relate to many of his teammates.
As a seventh grader, wrestling for the first time, Seeley found himself on the junior varsity before figuring out he could find success in the sport in eighth grade.
Now, three years later, Seeley not only finds himself trying to elevate many fellow Patriots with little experience, but pushing himself to improve on a sixth-place finish at the Class AAA Southeast Regional tournament last March.
Saturday, at the Great Valley Invitational, Seeley helped the Pats come from behind to beat Springside Chestnut Hill in the finals, 39-36. Conestoga finished third with a 50-27 defeat of Academy Park in the consolation final.
“It helps build confidence, wrestling well,” Seeley said of the win. “I was glad some of our younger guys could come up clutch.”
Seeley is now 19-0 on the season, wrestling mostly at 182 pounds. He went 3-0 on the day with a pair of pins and a forfeit, while Great Valley (12-2) also knocked off Academy Park, 68-12, and Harrison, 66-7.
“As a team we don’t have a lot of kids who did youth wrestling,” Great Valley coach Mike Semar said. “It’s about getting these experiences. From a program that has been struggling for awhile, it’s nice to be at least competitive.”
Ken Levin (106 pounds), Casey Capetola (113), Pat Driscoll (170), Andrew DiSanto (182) and Tyler Humphreys (220) also were unblemished on the day for Great Valley.
In the finals, the Patriots trailed 21-3 after five bouts before getting four straight pins from Driscoll, DiSanto, Seeley and Humphreys to take a lead they’d never relinquish. Levin and Capetola then earned falls to clinch the meet with two bouts to go.
“I like helping out,” said Seeley of his inherited leadership role. “It’s awesome seeing the guys grow and get better and to see guys who didn’t know how to wrestle go out and and win meaningful matches.”
As a sophomore, Seeley went 30-11 and was a win away from qualifying for states in his fourth year as a wrestler. Back at 182, he’s currently ranked No 5 at that weight on pa-wrestling.com and has come a long way since his less-than-glamorous start in middle school.
“A lot of my friends would beat me up for wrestling and it wasn’t fun,” Seeley said. “I knew if I wanted to have fun I had to get better.”
All offseason Seeley spent time wrestling with Turks Head wrestling club in West Chester, getting as much competition as he could find to sharpen his craft.
“We looked at what his weaknesses were and now, some of them are his strengths,” Semar said. “He wasn’t always great on his feet and now that’s one of his best things. He just loves wrestling and that is infectious for the other kids.”
Along with the Academy Park win, Conestoga (2-1 Central, 4-1 overall) topped Bristol, 65-11, and also made up its Central League dual with Harriton, who was also in the tournament, after the tournament was over since the original meet cancelled Thursday due to snow.
The Pioneers blew by the Rams, 66-16. Their only loss came at the hands of Chestnut Hill, 37-33, in a dual that came down to the final bout.
“I’m pleased overall,” Conestoga coach Tom Elicker said. “You never like to lose matches, but the one we did lose was hard-fought. Third place is what it is, but we were looking to get matches and we’re just trying to get better every day.”
Morgan Lofland (113), Liam Matson (145), Owen Mallott (160) and Paul Pelham (220) were 4-0 on the day for the Pioneers.
Lofland is 13-3 in his freshman season and brings with him a seventh-place medal at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling tournament last year. With his hot start and middle school accolades, Lofland is poised to be the next star for a program that has had two straight seasons with a state medalist.
“He’s been wrestling a long time and he has some pedigree with the postseason, last year,” Elicker said. “We’re looking for big things from him come the postseason and for four strong years from him.”
Great Valley 39, Springside Chestnut Hill 36
132- Goldberg (SCH) maj. dec. Greiser, 14-5 (0-4)
138- O’Neil (SCH) tech. fall Williams, 4:06 (0-9)
145- Wilson (GV) dec. Cramer, 5-1 (3-9)
152- Hugee (SCH) pinned Paollela, :51 (3-15)
160- Guzik (SCH) pinned Neale, 3:15 (3-21)
170- Driscoll (GV) pinned McDermott, 3:46 (9-21)
182- DiSanto (GV) pinned Ishikawa, 5:50 (15-21)
195- Seeley (GV) pinned Edling, 3:12 (21-21)
220- Humphreys (GV) pinned Fehns, :38 (27-21)
285- McCann (SCH) dec. Lafferty, 2-1 (27-24)
106- Levin (GV) pinned Neverosky, :56 (33-24)
113- Capetola (GV) pinned Maderski, 1:13 (39-24)
120- Kioko (SCH) pinned Kahan, 3:30 (39-30)
126- Purcell (SCH) pinned Thornton, 1:11 (39-36)
Conestoga 50, Academy Park 27
132- Amendola (CON) pinned Diallo, :55 (6-0)
138- Martinez (CON) pinned Bush, 2:46 (12-0)
145- Matson (CON) pinned Patterson, 4:40 (18-0)
152- Arbes (CON) pinned Pena, 3:36 (24-0)
160- Mallot (CON) tech. fall Taylor, 17-0 (29-0)
170- Gray (AP) pinned Hayes, 3:10 (29-6)
182- Nankay (AP) pinned Hamilton, 5:12 (29-12)
195- Gibli (AP) dec. Palomo, 9-5 (29-15)
220- Pelham (CON) won by forfeit (35-15)
285- Bookwalter (CON) pinned Tounkara, 2:33 (41-15)
106- Welsh (AP) pinned Nabaa, 5:43 (41-21)
113- Lofland (CON) won by forfeit (47-21)
120- Fields (AP) pinned Walker, 1:38 (47-27)
126- Toll (CON) dec. David, 4-2 (50-27)
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