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Oxford’s Johnson, Rustin’s Hurley overcome health issues to win Ches-Mont titles

WESTTOWN >> Oxford’s Cooper Johnson spent last Monday in a hospital having procedures done to treat his Crohn’s Disease. 

Saturday, West Chester Rustin’s Collin Hurley spent 75 of his allotted 90 seconds of injury time getting his left dislocated shoulder popped back into place.

With nothing but pride on the line at the Ches-Mont Championships at Rustin, Johnson and Hurley exemplified the notion that wrestlers are just built a little tougher than your everyday athlete.

West Chester Henderson won the team title and Great Valley’s Ethan Seeley was named Outstanding Wrestler, but Johnson and Hurley stole the show with their gutsy titles at their respective weights.

“I had to miss a couple days of practice, but I came back and knew I had to fight through it,” Johnson said. “After taking third at leagues last year, I wanted to get to the top and I wrestled to win even though the week was difficult for me and I had to fight through a lot of adversity.”

Oxford’s Cooper Johnson (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Johnson (126 pounds) was one of six Hornets to reach the finals, and Brandon Sheffield (145) and Sam Blevins (285) joined him as champions. Sheffield majored Downingtown East’s Jett Lucas-Murphy in the finals, Blevins edged Coatesville’s Ayden Geter, 5-2, and Johnson was a 10-2 winner over Henderson’s Palmer Delaney.

“It’s a big deal because Oxford in the past had some hammers with coach (Scott) Gold,” Johnson said. “They had some down years, but this year we’ve been able to fill in a lot of holes with young talent and we knew we could take top three here.”

Rustin took the hard way to a third-place finish, with Hurley (160) the only finalist, but 11 other Golden Knights finishing in the top six.

In the finals, Hurley took Henderson’s Koh Bauman down and led 2-0 going into the second. From the top position, Bauman ran an arm bar, which dislocated Hurley’s left shoulder. Bauman was awarded four near-fall points and Hurley strained as the trainer put his shoulder back into place.

“I can’t leave (wrestling), especially with this being my senior season,” Hurley said. “It would hurt more to watch my teammates wrestle without me than to have my shoulder pop out a couple times.”

Rustin’s Collin Hurley (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Hurley bounced back and headlocked Bauman for the fall with 27 seconds left in the second period.

“To be honest I knew I couldn’t last the rest of the match without any injury time left,” Hurley said. “I had to find a way to get him to his back and I hipped in at the right time and caught him on his back. Credit to (Bauman), he’s gonna be really good.”

Sammy McMonagle (113) and Killian Delaney (120) won titles for Henderson, while Luke Phayre (152) and Gavin Range (220) joined Palmer Delaney and Bauman as runners-up.

Henderson tied Rustin with a tournament-high 12 placers.

“We all wrestled well,” McMonagle said. “Even the kids who didn’t place wrestled well. Almost the whole team placed and everyone gave their best effort.”

Downingtown East’s Keanu Manuel (106) started off the finals with a 68-second pin against Cannon Hershey of Oxford. Hershey made the finals with a pin over Downingtown West’s Dom Findora, but the sophomore Cougar was too talented and too motivated.

Downingtown East’s Keanu Manuel (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

“I was on a mission,” Manuel said. “I wanted to get three pins and go out and dominate. I wanted to show the crowd who I am.”

East had another pair — Lukas Richie (138) and Matt Romanelli (170) — climb to the top of the podium.

Seeley (195) breezed to the finals with two pins in under a minute, and then took West’s Chase Mielnik down four times on his way to a 10-5 win.

“I was definitely more confident this year than last,” Seeley said. “I trained with (Mielnik) all summer and he got better and I got better, so I knew it would be a great test for both of us.”

Sandwiching Seeley’s win was a pair titles by West’s Max Hale (182) and Pat Cusack (220). Hale used a 4-2 decision to get by Unionville’s Tyler Mousaw, who knocked off West Chester East’s Andrew DiBernardo in the semifinals.

Great Valley’s Ethan Seeley (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Cusack had to come from behind against Range. Trailing 4-3 going into the third, Cusack started on top and eventually cradled Range for the fall.

“I was really patient with it,” Cusack said. “In most of my losses this year I would get stressed out about being down, but in the third period I was calm and patient and when it opened, I took it.”

Downingtown West’s Pat Cusack (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

West Chester East’s Corey Celenza (132) had a dominant, 11-2 finals win over Unionville’s Dom Chaclas, and Avon Grove’s Nick Barnhart (152) shut out Phayre, 3-0, for his title.

Team Standings

1. West Chester Henderson, 222; 2. Oxford, 199; 3. West Chester Rustin, 178; 4. Downingtown East, 174.5; 5. Coatesville, 134; 6. Downingtown West, 129; 7. Unionville, 116.5; 7. West Chester East, 116.5; 9. Great Valley, 92; 10. Avon Grove, 78; 11. Kennett, 52.5; 12. Sun Valley, 8.

West Chester Henderson

Championship Finals

106- Manuel (Downingtown East) pinned Hershey (Oxford), 1:08 

113- S. McMonagle (Henderson) dec. Lucier (Coatesville), 6-0

120- K. Delaney (Henderson) pinned Quin (Oxford), 2:44

126- C. Johnson (Oxford) maj. dec. P. Delaney (Henderson), 10-2

132- Celenza (WC East) maj. dec. D. Chaclas (Unionville), 11-2

138- Richie (Downingtown East) maj. dec. Lehman (Unionville), 11-2

145- Sheffield (Oxford) maj. dec. Lucas-Murphy (Downingtown East), 13-3

152- Barnhart (Avon Grove) dec. Phayre (Henderson), 3-0

160- Hurley (Rustin) pinned Bauman (Henderson), 3:37

170- Romanelli (Downingtown East) pinned W. Johnson (Oxford), 3:05

182- Hale (Downingtown West) dec. Mousaw (Unionville), 4-2

195- Seeley (Great Valley) dec. C. Mielnik (Downingtown West), 10-5

220- Cusack (Downingtown West) pinned Range (Henderson), 4:38

285- Blevins (Oxford) dec. Geter (Coatesville), 5-2

Consolation Finals

106- Findora (Downingtown West) dec. Wilson (Henderson), 6-1

113- King (Rustin) dec. Smith (Oxford), 8-3

120- Kochersperger (Kennett) dec. Luke (WC East), 11-4

126- Capetola (Great Valley) dec. M. Lavalais (Coatesville), 11-8

132- Mittelstadt (Downingtown East) dec. Tran (Henderson), 5-0

138- Meredith (Oxford) pinned Lourido (Rustin), 3:33

145-Pratzner (Rustin) pinned English (Henderson), 4:40

152- Semar (Great Valley) pinned Clifford (WC East), :40

160- Evans (Coatesville) pinned Peck (Avon Grove), 1:40

170- Baldwin (Henderson) maj. dec. Hatzipavlides (Rustin), 15-1

182- DiBernardo (WC East) pinned DiSanto (Great Valley), :40

195- Scheerer (Downingtown East) pinned Jones (Rustin), 1:47

220- Aceto (Downingtown East) maj. dec. S. Cooper (WC East), 8-0

285- Lemmon-Kishi (WC East) pinned G. Walsh (Rustin), 2:25

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