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Garnet Valley fights back to stay alive in District Duals

Garnet Valley's Kevin Puliti gets in a scramble with Owen J. Roberts' Matt Englehardt on his way to a 5-4 win at 132 pounds. (NATE HECKERBERGER - FOR DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA)

Garnet Valley was just three minutes from taking the easier route to a PIAA Class 3A Duals berth. Instead, the Jags will have to work a little harder.

Garnet Valley rebounded from a narrow quarterfinals loss in the District 1 3A quarterfinals Friday at Upper Dublin High School, a 37-31 setback to third-seeded Owen J. Roberts. The No. 6 Jags rallied to top No. 7 Downingtown West, 45-28, in the first consolation round and will face No. 5 Boyertown in the consolation semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m. for a states berth.

The Jags fought an uphill battle most of the way against OJR. Kevin Puliti eked out a 5-4 decision at 132 pounds, but Owen J. claimed the next five bouts to drop GV into a 27-3 hole.

But the Jags didn’t go quietly. Dillon Conlon and Sam DiTriolio squeaked out decisions at 182 and 195, respectively. Joe Morrone (220) and Matthew Ricci (106) scored pins around a Coltin Deery forfeit to even the score at 27.

A major decision at 113 by OJR’s Joshua Jackson nudged the Wildcats ahead before Griffin Hollingsworth answered with a 1-0 decision over David Forrest at 120. With Garnet Valley trailing by one, Chris Wood had a chance to win it at 126, and though he took a lead in the second period with back points, Jacob Dunleavy rallied to score a pin in 3 minutes, 32 seconds to send Owen J. Roberts to the semis.

The Jags weren’t done, though it again took Deery, this time in a mid-match first-period pin, and Ricci, in a quick pin up at 113, to swing the tide against Downingtown West.

Gavin Hollingsworth (138), Desmon Perry (145) and Austin Filippone (160) put the Jags up 18-3 with pins in the first three bouts. But the Whippets answered in kind with two pins and a forfeit to retake the lead.

Joe Morrone leveled the match at 21-all with his 7-1 decision at 220 pounds. Deery followed, and Ricci gave GV a safe lead at 33-24 with his pin. Griffin Hollingsworth and Puliti tacked on pins for good measure at 120 and 126, respectively, to gain some momentum to carry into Saturday.

A states berth is on the line against Boyertown, which was routed by top-seeded Council Rock South, 55-9, in the championship semifinal, leaving them to fight for one of the district’s four states berths via consolations (only semifinal winners qualify directly for states). The winner of GV-Boyertown clinches a states berth and will wrestle the OJR-Neshaminy winner for seeding as either the third or fourth team in the district.

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