LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Momentum swings and winning rallies.
Boyertown has been a master of both during its recent run of success. The Bears mastered both concepts on the way to their various regular season match victories and tournament triumphs … particularly in the District 1 duals competition, where they were the masters the last three seasons.
But its hopes for a “fourpeat” were ended by one of those momentum swings. That one carried Council Rock South to a streak-ending 38-24 victory Saturday at Pottsgrove, in this year’s Class AAA duals championship match.
The Hawks’ first surge carried them to a 17-3 lead five bouts in; their second overturned the Bears’ lone lead of the day and put the locals in the unfamiliar position of having to fight back for two six-point outcomes in the day’s last two weights. Boyertown was unable to accomplish that task, left with the runner-up team trophy and silver medals after three years of championship gold.
“In a match like this,” Rock South head coach Brad Silimperi explained, “there are going to be momentum swings. You have to work strategy and minimize bonus points.”
C.R. South was able to do both. The Hawks limited the Bears to Elijah Jones’ pin at 195, and major decisions by Chris Berry (160), Jacob Miller (182) and Matt Wilde (113). They also made a couple significant tweaks to their lineup from their previous match with Spring-Ford, bumping Eric Woloshyn up to 138 while Zach Trampe went down to 132 and moving Tyler Gettman up to 220 from 195.
The highly-regarded Trampe (21-1) — a two-time state medalist — got Council Rock’s first momentum swing going with a major decision of Jakob Campbell at 132, while Woloshyn weathered Brett Breidor’s late charge for a three-point win at 138. Then Gettman controlled Michael Porreca for a 7-3 decision at 220 after Jones pinned Giani Gilch five seconds before the end of the first period at 195.
“They were great strategic moves,” Silimperi said. “The matchups we got were worth the gamble.”
Boyertown’s best run of the afternoon was the 17 unanswered points it scored in the four weight classes from 160 to 195. Beyond that, the Bears’ only other points came from David Campbell’s match-opening 9-4 decision of Mike McKinney at 126, and Wilde’s 15-5 major decision on Braden Ricchini.
“I think we got the most out of our kids,” Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said. “They wrestled well to get here.”
The biggest highlight for the Bears was Hunter Vogels reaching the 100-win mark for his scholastic career. Vogels handled Robert Cooper in a 5-1 decision at 160, breaking out of a 0-0 deadlock after one period to become the program’s 29th wrestler to accomplish that feat.
“He’s pretty strong … definitely one of the stronger guys I’ve ever faced,” Vogels, clutching the plaque commemorating his feat, said. “I knew he was going to be tough. I stepped up, and the way things matched up, it was a good match.”
An ankle sprain he sustained during Wednesday’s match with Spring-Ford limited Vogels to one appearance Friday: An 8-4 decision at 160 in Boyertown’s 48-18 semifinal victory over Garnet Valley. Though conceding he is “pretty banged up,” Vogels nonetheless was ready to steel himself for a tournament grind continuing for five more weeks.
“This close to 100 and Hershey, I didn’t want to miss anything,” he said.
“Hunter has been a big part of our lineup,” Ventresca added. “He’s an exceptional talent. This was a really big moment for him.”
The Bears (20-3) will face a somewhat-recognizable opponent in the first round of states. Exeter (22-1) is coming off a championship run in the District 3-AAA Duals, topping Cedar Cliff Saturday 32-27.
“That’s something, going to Hershey to wrestle a team that’s 20 minutes away from us,” Ventresca said with a laugh. “But we’ll put our best team out there, and see what happens.”
* * *
Owen J. Roberts didn’t let a Friday loss put more of a damper on its spirits.
To the contrary, the Wildcats effected a significant recovery for the remainder of the District 1-AAA Duals Tournament. They won out after an opening-round loss to finish as the district’s third-place team, and one of its four qualifiers for the PIAA AAA Team Championships this coming week.
Off its 39-23 loss to Garnet Valley Friday, Roberts (16-2) went 3-0 in the consolation bracket. OJR started the rebound with a 39-33 win over West Chester Rustin, then topped Methacton Saturday by a 34-24 count.
The Wildcats capped the weekend with a 39-24 victory over Downingtown West in the third-place match. This is their first state-duals qualification since the 2012-13 season, when they were district champions.
“I’m really pleased with the way the kids responded,” head coach Steve DeRafelo said. “The way they wrestled (Saturday) … I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The ‘Cats opened against Methacton with 16 unanswered points. They countered the Warriors’ pin by Bryce Reddington at 145, and Corey Morabito’s fall at 106, with two pins and a technical fall to make the state-duals cut.
Methacton, which came into districts as the third seed, had reached Friday’s semifinal round with a 30-28 win over Downingtown West. But the Warriors fell short of Rock South, 31-24, and out of state contention with their second loss to the Wildcats in four days.
“We have to get over the hump, win close matches,” Methacton head coach A.J. Maida said. “We lost 2-1 decisions that were the difference.
“There’s a lot left for us to do. But I was not at all disappointed with the effort.”
Along with the pins, the Warriors got decisions from Michael Blakemore (160), Brendan Marion (182), Salaam McNair (195) and Tonee Ellis (285). Ironically, the 285-pound bout ended up being OJR’s clincher, Methacton trailing 31-18 with two weight classes to be contested.
“You have quality teams here, and that’s what happens,” Maida said. “The effort was there. I’m proud of the kids, and we’ll be excited to get back to it.”
OJR’s pins came from Antonio Petrucelli (132) and Nick Duliakas (220), with Ryan Resnick adding a tech-fall at 170. Luke Resnick (120) and Dan Mancini (152) contributed major decisions.
Against Downingtown West, OJR got falls from Duliakas and Alejandro Acosta (285), tech-falls by the Resnicks and major decisions from Mancini (145) and Jason Zollers (170). It opened a 13-0 lead through the first four weights — one West cut only to seven (22-15) through 195, and one that was bolstered by the pins from Duliakas and Acosta.
“Today, we controlled tieups on our feet,” DeRafelo said. “I don’t know how many stalling points we got. We also got back points.”
While Roberts and Downingtown West are in the state field, they must first win preliminary matches Monday to qualify for the Hershey phase. The Wildcats will host Archbishop Wood, the Division 12 runner-up, in a 6 p.m. pairing while the Whippets face the winner of the Cumberland Valley/Central Dauphin third-place match in District 3.
“It’s a rough thing, going Monday night to qualify for Hershey,” DeRafelo said. “We went through that one year and lost.”
NOTES >> Berry is the next Boyertown wrestler in position to join the 100-win fraternity. The Bear senior came out of the district duals with 94 victories; he boasts a 27-6 record to date. … Owen J. will add to its busy schedule for the coming week by visiting Spring-Ford Wednesday. The Wildcats are looking to go 5-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Liberty Division. … If they’re able to get by AB Wood Monday, the Wildcats’ first opponent in the Hershey phase of the state duals will be the District 11 champion.
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