In a sport where never-ending whistles and stalling calls from the crowd can overwhelm and eardrum, this is the time of year that wrestling sounds its best.
With less than a month until the individual postseason commences, the Class 3A District 1 Duals will serve as a chance for 16 teams to rally around each other for a rowdy and unpredictable tournament.
Listen to the sounds of the gym. The loudest roars will likely lead you to the most together team. While that doesn’t always guarantee wins, it often reflects respect and value of one’s teammates, and that can take a team pretty far this time of year.
Action will take place at two venues — West Chester Rustin and Council Rock South — with the first round beginning at 5:30 pm. The second round will follow right after, tentatively scheduled for 7 pm.
The winners of the first round will advance to the second phase of the tournament next Friday and Saturday, where it becomes double elimination and the top four advance to the PIAA Duals. The losers of the first round are done.
Here is a look at all eight of Thursday’s matchups. All statistics, records and rankings were found on pa-wrestling.com and do not include results from January 24.
No. 1 Council Rock South (6-2) vs. No. 16 Methacton, 7 pm at Council Rock South
Ranked wrestlers: South — Kyle Waterman (1 at 106), Maximo Mendez (1 at 113), Shane Hanson-Ashworth (4 at 120), Ben Radner (1 at 132), Eric Woloshyn (HM at 145), Cole Flanagan (5 at 160), Nik Korbich (HM at 170).
Methacton — Corey Morabito (3 at 113), Kibwe McNair (2 at 132), Roman Moser (5 at 145), Michael Blakemore (4 at 170), Tonee Ellis (HM at 285).
Outlook: These two met last year in the semifinals and South pulled out a seven-point win. Methacton lost more to graduation and have lost five straight duals while dealing with injuries. South is loaded in the first half of its lineup and lead District 1 with 76 decision victories, meaning the Golden Hawks know how to pull out the close ones. The highlight of the dual could come at 132, where Radner and McNair are the top ranked kids. As a freshman, McNair pulled off a 7-5 win in sudden victory over Radner in last year’s dual, so there could be some fireworks.
No. 2 Downingtown West (12-1) vs. No. 15 Hatboro Horsham (5-6), 7 pm at West Chester Rustin
Ranked wrestlers: West — Doug Zapf (1 at 120), Nick Lilley (3 at 138), Gavin Hale (2 at 152), Max Hale (2 at 170), Chase Mielnik (5 at 182), Jesse Cook (3 at 285).
Hatboro — Nick Chapman (1 at 220).
Outlook: The Whippets start their quest to return to the PIAA Duals for a second straight year as their highest seed since they were just Downingtown in 1997. West is very solid throughout, and especially from 152 on up. Sophomore Max Hale leads the team with 11 pins, with Cook and Mielnik right behind him with 10. Hatboro will need to be the ones mustering falls to stay in it, and the Hatters are 11th in the district with 84 on the year. Chapman is 19-0 with 19 pins, but he can only wrestle once and West has only surrendered 39 six-pointers in 315 matches this season.
No. 3 Spring-Ford (12-2) vs. No. 14 Perkiomen Valley (8-3), 5:30 pm at Council Rock South
Ranked wrestlers: Spring-Ford — Brandon Meredith (2 at 120), Jack McGill (HM at 126), Ben D’Arcangelo (4 at 152), Chase Smith (HM at 182), Tyler LaRocca (HM at 220), Matt Lepore (4 at 285).
Perk Valley — PJ Kakos (HM at 113)
Outlook: These two face each for the second time in as many days, so both parties are surely thrilled to have to drive all the way to Holland for a mulligan of the Pioneer Athletic Conference dual. The Rams are solid throughout their lineup, proved by their district-best .675 winning percentage as a team. Meredith is one of only seven wrestlers with at least 10 bouts wrestled to still be undefeated (22-0). Many times, second and third-tiered programs apply for the duals to get their kids a look at new wrestlers, but Perk Valley won’t even gain that out of this one.
No. 4 Boyertown (10-2) vs. No. 13 Great Valley (17-3), 7 pm at West Chester Rustin
Ranked wrestlers: Boyertown — Julien Maldonado (HM at 106), Jacob Miller (3 at 182), Elijah Jones (1 at 195).
Great Valley — Ethan Seeley (4 at 182), Tyler Lafferty (HM at 285)
Outlook: It’s rare to not see Boyertown pepper the district rankings, but don’t let that fool you. What this team lacks in star power from years past, it makes up for with tough program kids who have been through some battles. Miller has undoubtedly gotten better drilling with Jones for a couple years now, and he could threaten Seeley’s top record in the district, 25-0, if they meet up. Great Valley leads District 1 in pins, with 133, and while that’s partially reflective of the schedule, the Pats will need to capitalize on a Boyertown team that’s given up six more often than in its recent heyday.
No. 5 Council Rock North (9-4) vs. No. 12 West Chester East (9-3), 7 pm at Council Rock South
Ranked wrestlers: North — Kyle Hauserman (2 at 106), Luke Lucerne (3 at 120), Cam Robinson (1 at 138), Shane Thompson (HM at 145), Dillon Sheehy (3 at 152).
East — Andrew DiBernardo (HM at 182), Joseph Timm (HM at 285)
Outlook: North has battled the injury bug this season, but getting Nick Nucero (160) back and a little healthier elsewhere gave the seeding committee enough assurance to put them fifth. The Indians have three kids that are likely regional finalist favorites — Hauserman, Lucerne and Robinson — and the roster can put up some points. There are also some holes, especially up top, where East will have to capitalize. The Vikings are hungry to make a name for themselves and will need to win the toss and get big efforts from veterans Tommy Luke (126) and Corey Celenza (120), among others.
No. 6 Owen J. Roberts (10-2) vs. No. 10 Quakertown (10-4), 5:30 pm at West Chester Rustin
Ranked wrestlers: OJR — David Forrest (5 at 113), Connor Quinn (5 at 126), Antonio Petrucelli (4 at 138), Cole Meredith (2 at 145), Daniel Mancini (1 at 152), Ricky McCutchen (HM at 160), Jason Zollers (3 at 170)
Quakertown — Domenic DeFalco (HM at 132)
Outlook: An early-season loss to Boyertown probably cost the Wildcats a top-four seed, but the silver lining is they’re on the opposite side of Council Rock South. After finishing third in the district last year, OJR weathered some losses to graduation and have another formidable lineup. Quakertown is solid down low with Corey Cope (113), state qualifier Josh Stahl (120) and DeFalco, but OJR’s run in the middle of Petrucelli, Meredith, Mancini, McCutchen and Zollers will be tough to handle for the Panthers.
No. 7 Neshaminy (10-4) vs. No. 10 West Chester Rustin (8-1), 5:30 pm at West Chester Rustin
Ranked wrestlers: Neshaminy — Zach Martin (HM at 113), Colton Jordan (4 at 126), Jackson Erb (4 at 145), Brock Leinbach (HM at 170)
Rustin — Dan Labus (1 at 160)
Outlook: Rustin once again finds itself right around that spot where an upset can happen, and the Golden Knights have found magic in their home gym the last two years. The Knights just welcomed state qualifier Collin Hurley (160) back into the lineup last week and if he and Labus and the solid group of freshman can all compete at the same time, finally, Rustin could be in the mix for another trip to the second round. With only two seniors starting, Neshaminy has some good youth, beginning with juniors Jordan and Erb. The Redskins have been pinned almost as much as they’ve pinned, so bonus points will, as always, play a factor. This dual may come down to the upperweights, where neither team is all that experienced.
No. 8 West Chester Henderson (11-1) vs. No. 9 North Penn (9-4), 5:30 at Council Rock South
Ranked wrestlers: Henderson — Sammy McMonagle (HM at 106), Killian Delaney (4 at 120), Matt Phayre (HM at 152), Ray Martin (4 at 160).
North Penn — Patrick O’Neill (2 at 160), Owen Verespy (3 at 220), Ryan Cody (2 at 285).
Outlook: This is the highest seed the Warriors have had since being No. 7 in 2010. Henderson appears to have a little more scoring ability in its lineup, but North Penn is a tough, scrappy team and will make the Warriors earn everything. The Knights are strongest up top with their big boys, and have a very experienced back half of the lineup. Henderson’s weapons are spread out a bit more, but the Warriors should be able to wrack up some bonus in the lightweights. The highlight bout of the dual could come at 160 between Martin and O’Neill. Charlie Collins (11-0 at 160) has been a pleasant surprise for the Warriors and he should continue to make an impact.
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