UWCHLAN — As Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf sprinted from his bench, the sight of Downingtown East’s Kyle Mittelstadt stopped him in his tracks.
It was West’s turn to present, but East put the onus on the West sideline by sending out first. If Zapf and the Whippets wanted the match everyone wanted to see, it was on them.
The returning state champion quickly obliged, retreating back to his sideline to wait for the next bout against his old rival, Lukas Richie.
The two battled for the fifth, and potentially, final time, and after a thrilling six minutes, Zapf’s 3-1 decision at 132 pounds spurred on West’s second straight win over the home Cougars, 43-18, Wednesday night in Ches-Mont National Division action.
“I really wanted that match,” Zapf said. “Maybe not for a win or a loss, but just to wrestle him again and get some competition. He’s really good and I think everyone wanted to see that match.”
Richie went toe-to-toe with the champ, leading 1-0 after two. He rode Zapf out for 55 seconds in the third before the score knotted at one. Locked up with his right arm, Zapf shot left and got Richie to the mat for the winning takedown with 20 seconds remaining.
“It’s the same patience,” West coach Brad Breese said of Zapf. “He doesn’t rush anything and no stupid shots and he’s good offensively and defensively. He got the one point when he needed to get it and got the takedown when he needed it. It was a typical match for him.”
As a freshman, Richie won the first matchup, 3-1, but Zapf won their three bouts in the postseason that season, including the blood round at regionals for a spot to states.
Richie, who has slaved a few dragons himself the past two seasons, remained stuck on 96 career wins, but certainly walked away better for it.
“It was a great match,” East coach Joe Horvath said. “He let down on the underhook in the last 20 seconds, but those are the types of matches you learn from and I’m sure that he will.”
West (2-0 division, 8-0 overall) won 10 of 14 bouts, with Marco Cardi (113 pounds), Max Hale (170), Chase Mielnik (182) and Chris Madanat (220) earning falls.
Gavin Hale (152) worked a major decision, while Matt Wolf (120), Mitch Byers (126), Nick Lilley (138) and Jesse Cook (285) won by decision.
“I think we’re doing some of the right things in the practice room, and that might be more evident by the JV guys,” Breese said. “They’re going out and attacking and not holding back, and when the JV pushes the variety to work hard, everyone gets better. It’s starting to trickle down to everyone.”
East (1-2, 9-6) got pins from Keanu Manuel (106) and Jett Lucas-Murphy (145), and strong decisions by Matt Romanelli (160) and Josh Wileczek (195).
Since making the drop, Romanelli is 3-0 at 160 and is 17-6 as a freshman.
“I think the best thing about Matt is his confidence,” Horvath said. “He’s shaken off a lot of the nerves and inexperience and he knows he can compete with anybody. And he’s proving it.”
Both East and West are putting their names in the hat for the District 1 Duals that begin next Thursday. Seeding comes out Sunday, and West has a good shot to be a top three seed as it looks to reach the state duals for the second straight season.
First, the Whippets travel to Exeter Saturday for a duals tournament where they could face Chester County’s top dog, Malvern Prep, in the finals.
“I think some guys could do a little better, but we’re wrestling well,” Zapf said. “With District Duals next week and a big weekend in Exeter, it’ll be a really good test for everyone.”
Downingtown West 43, Downingtown East 18
106- Manuel (DE) pinned Niemeyer, 1:42 (0-6)
113- Cardi (DW) pinned Hillestad, 4:16 (6-6)
120- Wolf (DW) dec. Mullen, 7-1 (9-6)
126- Byers (DW) dec. Mittelstadt, 5-2 (12-6)
132- Zapf (DW) dec. Richie, 3-1 (15-6)
138- N. Lilley (DW) dec. Horne, 12-5 (18-6)
145- Lucas-Murphy (DE) pinned D. Lilley, 1:48 (18-12)
152- G. Hale (DW) maj. dec. Lawton, 9-0 (22-12)
160- Romanelli (DE) dec. Cusack, 7-2 (22-15)
170- M. Hale (DW) pinned Uggla, 1:31 (28-15)
182- Mielnik (DW) pinned Grubb, 1:43 (34-15)
195- Wileczek (DE) dec. Shafer, 7-2 (34-18)
220- Madanat (DW) pinned Hodges, :47 (40-18)
285- Cook (DW) dec. Aceto, 7-1 (43-18)
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