HERSHEY — On one hand, Downingtown West will be thrilled to not have to see any District 11 competition the next three weeks.
On the other, any Whippet with aspirations of climbing the podium at the state tournament will have to make the next three weeks count in the wrestling room because District 11 will surely be ready when they return.
A day after a tough loss to Bethlehem Catholic, Downingtown West succumbed to the reigning PIAA team champion, Nazareth, 42-22, in the second round of consolations and were eliminated from the Class 3A PIAA Duals.
The Whippets started their Friday with a 50-20 win against Cumberland Valley at the Giant Center in Hershey, but lost the first eight bouts against Nazareth.
“It was a great opportunity,” West coach Brad Breese said. “It was great to get the matchups that made us adjust what needs to be adjusted. If you’re on a win streak and you don’t have to push yourself, sometimes flaws show up when you least want them to. It’s nice to do it now before something happens that you don’t want it to.”
One of those Whippets who was on a hot streak was Doug Zapf (120 pounds), who had won 22 straight bouts entering the Nazareth dual. Pitted against returning fourth-place state medalist, Sean Pierson, Zapf couldn’t finish a couple of good shot attempts and went to overtime tied, 1-1. After being rode out in the first ride out period, Zapf cut Pierson immediately but couldn’t bring him down and lost, 2-1.
Three bouts later returning state qualifier, Nick Lilley (138) was forced to injury default with a leg injury against Andrew Cerniglia, putting his postseason in question.
Despite a troublesome Friday night, Breese remains positive his squad can make some serious noise when the individual postseason starts next Saturday.
“I think we battled in the tight matches,” Breese said. “Kind of like the Bethlehem Catholic match, our guys stepped up near the end of the match and got some wins and hopefully we can step on the mat with a little bit more confidence. We’re still looking to be the top team in the area and we’re looking to come back in a couple weeks and prove what we can do here again.”
West (21-4) won four of the final six bouts, all with bonus points. Max Hale (170) finally got the Whippets on the board against Nazareth with a major decision and Chase Mielnik (182) followed with a second-period fall.
“It’s all about getting prepared for the the postseason,” Mielnik said. “It was nice to see how I could compete against different areas and how I’ll be able to do when I come back here again in four weeks.”
Chris Madanat (220) and Jesse Cook (285) earned pins against Nazareth.
Against Cumberland Valley, West trailed 20-13 at the midway point, but won the final seven matches.
“I think we feel pretty good,” said Mielnik, who also pinned against Cumberland Valley. “It was a tough loss (against Nazareth) but going forward that’s behind us. It’s all about the individual tournaments now and we can still win the region as a team. We’re not going to stop going out there and competing hard as we can.”
West is done its regular season and will compete in the Ches-Mont Championships at West Chester Rustin next Saturday.
Gavin Hale (152) is two wins away from reaching 100 for his career, and Zapf currently has 144 to his name.
“We had a great season,” Breese said. “Having 21 wins, it’s been a lot of years since we had that many at West.”
Downingtown West 50, Cumberland Valley 20
285- Cook (DW) pinned Thomas, 4:24 (6-0)
106- Dzielak (CV) maj. dec. Niemeyer, 12-1 (6-4)
113- Monn (CV) pinned Cardi, 4:58 (6-10)
120- Zapf (DW) maj. dec. Arbogast, 13-2 (10-10)
126- Byers (DW) dec. Miller, 3-1 (13-10)
132- Zimmerman (CV) maj. dec. Hanak, 13-3 (13-14)
138- Viehman (CV) pinned D. Lilley, 2:35 (13-20)
145- N. Lilley (DW) maj. dec. McKenzie, 10-1 (17-20)
152- Hayford (DW) won by forfeit (23-20)
160- G. Hale (DW) pinned Reisinger, :29 (29-20)
170- M. Hale (DW) tech. fall Hart, 3:08 (34-20)
182- Mielnik (DW) pinned Kupko, 1:24 (40-20)
195- Shafer (DW) pinned Wandling, 2:12 (46-20)
220- Madanat (DW) maj. dec. Mundis, 8-0 (50-20)
Nazareth 42, Downingtown West 22
113- Smith (N) pinned Cardi, 4:30 (6-0)
120- Pierson (N) dec. Zapf, 2-1 RO (9-0)
126- B. Wilson (N) maj. dec. Byers, 8-0 (13-0)
132- O’Grady (N) dec. Hanak, 9-2 (16-0)
138- Cerniglia (N) inj. def. N. Lilley (22-0)
145- Stefanik (N) maj. dec. D. Lilley, 16-2 (26-0)
152- Sasso (N) pinned G. Hale, 4:24 (32-0)
160- Herceg (N) dec. Cusack, 7-1 (35-0)
170- M. Hale (DW) maj. dec. Dressler, 11-3 (35-4)
182- Mielnik (DW) pinned Keifer, 1:36 (35-10)
195- C. Wilson (N) maj. dec. Shafer, 12-0 (39-10)
220- Madanat (DW) pinned Schott, 4:50 (39-16)
285- Cook (DW) pinned Searock, 1:39 (39-22)
106- Fulmer (N) dec. Niemeyer, 7-1 (42-22)
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