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Pottsgrove-Pottsgrove wrestling, arts groups staging Border Battle at Sunnybrook Ballroom

It’s being described as a case of “athletics meets art.”

The Battle On The Border, the annual pairing of the Pottstown and Pottsgrove wrestling teams, will be staged Saturday evening. The schools’ middle and high-school programs will square off to determine which of the neighboring rivals claims the Border Battle Trophy.

One twist this year, however, is the venue. This Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division pairing will take place at the historic SunnyBrook Ballroom on the eastern side of Pottstown. The middle schools will face off at 6 p.m., with the high schools following at 7 p.m.

Another twist will be the staging of activities by various student groups from the schools. The night will include performances by jazz bands and choral groups, an art show, Pottstown’s Interact Club and other student club displays, the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC) color guard and the annual Mascot Challenge, among others.

“SunnyBrook Ballroom has been the scene of many outstanding entertainment events,” Pottsgrove athletic director Gary DeRenzo said in an e-mail, “but never before has there been a joining of athletics and arts at the scholastic level to showcase talents of two communities.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with entertainment by Jazz and Choral groups to begin at 5:20 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The Border Battle is being sponsored by Sunnybrook Enterprises and Schuylkill Valley Sports.

“Gary and Steve have done an outstanding job coordinating this very unique event designed to promote athletics, the arts and community partnership,” John Armato, the Pottstown School District’s Director of Community Relations, said in an e-mail. “This event would not be possible without the support of both Chuck Gulati (Sunnybrook) and Jerry Williams (Schuylkill Valley), enthusiastic supporters and visionaries of this project.

“I am sure at the end of the night people will be asking how can we do this in our community and all of will be able to say Proud to be from Pottstown/Pottsgrove.”

Pottsgrove goes into the “Battle” with a 10-6 overall record. It is coming off a 60-15 victory over Upper Merion Wednesday, in the schools’ Frontier Division opener.

Pottstown comes into the border battle with a 3-8 overall record and a 47-27 win over Pope John Paul II in their Frontier pairing Wednesday.

“We’re stressing this hasn’t been done before,” Pottstown head coach Nick Wade said. “It could get the buzz back in the sport. They’re trying to make it a fun event.”

The match will break up part of the three-team logjam atop the PAC’s Frontier Division. The Falcons and Trojans share first place in the division with Phoenixville, all at 1-0 following Wednesday’s contests.

“We are very excited about this event and have worked with some great people to make this happen,” Steve Anspach, Pottstown High’s athletic director, said.

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