OXFORD — After taking third at districts a week ago, Downingtown West’s Max Hale knew if he was going to climb to the top of the regional podium, he would have to earn it.
When the dust settled in the 170-pound bracket, there was Hale, standing tallest with wins over the second, third and fourth-place finishers along the way.
Hale used a 7-5 decision against West Chester East’s Andrew DiBernardo in the finals to win his first Class 3A Southeast Regional title, giving West a pair of champs, along with Doug Zapf (120 pounds), Saturday at Oxford High.
After a first round win, Hale knocked off top-seeded Jason Zollers of Owen J. Roberts, 5-4, in quarterfinals, followed by a 10-6 win over Unionville’s Tyler Mousaw, who pinned Hale a week ago. Mousaw finished third.
“It feels so good,” Hale said. “Before the seeding even came out I wanted to wrestle Mousaw again to prove I could beat him. To get a win over him and the top dog, it feels great.”
Snowy conditions postponed action originally scheduled for Friday, forcing certain third and fifth-place matches to be wrestled Sunday, starting at 9 am. In between, it was a whirlwind of non-stop action, and only the strongest survived.
The Whippets did not have its best day as a team, but Zapf made sure the finals started well for them.
Deadlocked in a 1-1 match against former Malvern Prep wrestler, Shane Hanson-Ashworth, now of Council Rock South, Zapf went to the rideout period. Starting on top, Zapf tapped his chest before getting into position, and went on to ride Hanson-Ashworth out. He then picked up an escape and point for cautions to win his second straight regional crown, 3-1.
“I always like to do that before matches,” Zapf said of the chest bump. “When it comes down to that, it takes guts and heart and who wants it more. It’s not about technique, it’s about the willingness to win.”
The West pair were the only local champs, while Sun Valley’s Hunter Catka (220) earned the Ches-Mont League a third gold.
DiBernardo became the first Viking to qualify for the state tournament since Josh Mummert in 2007.
Downingtown East’s Lukas Richie (126) and Josh Wileczek (195) also reached finals, but finished second. Harry S. Truman’s Gunnar Fuss countered a shot by Richie to score the only takedown in a 3-2 decision, and Wileczek was on the wrong end of a 14-3 major decision against Boyertown’s Elijah Jones.
“It feels awesome,” said Wileczek of his first trip to Hershey. “I choked last year at districts, so this feels good for sure.”
Joe Shafer (195) was the third qualifier for the Whippets, who can tie West Chester Henderson for the most local qualifiers (four), with a win by Nick Lilley (138) in the fifth-place match, Sunday. Sending Lilley to that match was Henderson’s Luke Phayre, who won three in a row after an opening round loss to even surprise himself.
“It’s crazy,” Phayre said. “I definitely didn’t expect it, not being seeded very high. I took it one match at a time and tried to get each victory.”
Also advancing for the Warriors are Sammy McMonagle (fourth at 106), Killian Delaney (third, 113) and Ray Martin (third, 160).
Coatesville’s Brennan McBride pinned McMonagle to take third at 106 and Unionville’s Caden Mareno bounced back after a tough semifinal loss to Souderton’s Tyler Williams with a 6-2 win over Methacton’s Kibwe McNair for third.
“Theres a lot more mat wrestling than in Maryland,” said the former McDonogh School (MD) wrestler, Mareno. “It’s a little more rough here. They really try to grind you on the mat, so I have to get better with my escapes and get back to the drawing board this week.”
Avon Grove’s Nick Barnhart (145) avenged two straight losses to Rustin’s Tyler Kaliner with a 5-2 win in the consolation semis and will wrestle Pennridge’s Evan Widing for third, Sunday.
Octorara’s Seth Hoopes won his 100th career bout with a 7-6 sudden victory win against Lower Merion’s Christian Hodges in the consi semis, and he will face Spring-Ford’s Brandon Meredith for third, Sunday.
106- Waterman (Council Rock South) maj. dec. M. Vulakh (Pope John Paul), 10-2
113- Mendez (Council Rock South) dec. Lucerne (Council Rock North), 3-1
120- Zapf (Downingtown West) dec. Hanson-Ashworth (Council Rock South), 3-1 RO
126- Fuss (Harry S. Truman) dec. Richie (Downingtown East), 3-2
132- Radner (Council Rock South) pinned Williams (Souderton), 1:20
138- Robinson (Council Rock North) dec. Petrucelli (Owen J. Roberts), 8-2
145- R. Vulakh (Pope John Paul) tech. fall Moser (Methacton), 2:51
152- Mancini (Owen J. Roberts) maj. dec. Sheehy (Council Rock North), 16-3
160- O’Neill (North Penn) dec. Crawford (Strath Haven), 6-0
170- M. Hale (Downingtown West) dec. DiBernardo (WC East), 7-5
182- Stillings (Pennridge) pinned Miller (Boyertown), 1:17
195- Jones (Boyertown) maj. dec. Wileczek (Downingtown East), 14-3
220- Catka (Sun Valley) maj. dec. Chapman (Hatboro Horsham), 10-1
285- Cody (North Penn) dec. Cooper (Bensalem), 6-3
106- McBride (Coatesville) pinned McMonagle (Henderson), 1:43
113- Delaney (Henderson) dec. Kuhns (Upper Perk), 1-0
120- Hoopes (Octorara) vs. Meredith (Spring-Ford) — Sunday
126- Stahl (Quakertown) med. forfeit McGill (Spring-Ford)
132- Mareno (Unionville) dec. McNair (Methacton), 6-2
138- Woloshyn (Council Rock South) dec. L. Phayre (Henderson), 7-0
145- Widing (Pennridge) vs. Barnhart (Avon Grove) — Sunday
152- D’Arcangelo (Spring-Ford) vs. Flanagan (Council Rock South) — Sunday
160- Martin (Henderson) medical forfeit Blakemore (Methacton)
170- Mousaw (Unionville) dec. Zollers (Owen J. Roberts), 8-3
182- Litz (Harry S. Truman) dec. Smith (Spring-Ford), 6-3
195- Shafer (Downingtown West) vs. Aladinov (William Tennent) — Sunday
220- Ellis (Methacton) dec. McLeod (Pottsgrove), 8-5
285- DiSanto (Plymouth Whitemarsh) dec. Mahoney (Garnet Valley), 3-1 SV
106- Hauserman (Council Rock North) dec. Reynolds (Spring-Ford), 8-2
113- Martin (Neshaminy) vs. Morabito (Methacton) — Sunday
120- Hodges (Lower Merion) vs. Celenza (WC East) — Sunday
126- Jordan (Neshaminy) vs. Quinn (Owen J. Roberts) — Sunday
132- DeFalco (Quakertown) vs. Thompson (Council Rock North) — Sunday
138- Andrade (Souderton) vs. Lilley (Downingtown West) — Sunday
145- Erb (Neshaminy) dec. Kaliner (Rustin), 9-3
152- Lledo (Lower Merino) dec. M. Phayre (Henderson), 8-2
160- Mortimer (Boyertown) dec. Frank (Sun Valley), 8-2
170- Burns (Strath Haven) vs. Korbich (Council Rock South) — Sunday
182- Gilch (Council Rock South) pinned Mielnik (Downingtown West), 3:24
195- Stolfi (Souderton) dec. Raimondo (Coatesville), 4-2
220- Pelham (Conestoga) vs. Verespy (North Penn) — Sunday
285- Holbert (Strath Haven) vs. Bramwell (Ridley) — Sunday
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