BOYERTOWN >> Individually, Boyertown put up some solid numbers during the Pioneer Athletic Conference Wrestling Championships Saturday.
Overall, however, its totals came up short of Owen J. Roberts by the merest of margins.
The host Bears went 5-for-5 in championship qualifiers, had a total of 13 wrestlers reach the medal round, and compiled 216 team points … numbers comparable to their recent post-season showings.
But Owen J. Roberts, just like in the dual meet season, had what it takes to edge out the Bears.
Though managing just two weight-class champions — Ryan Resnick at 160, Nick Duliakas at 195 — the Wildcats matched Boyertown’s 13 medalists. Factor in their four silver finishers, a fourth, four fifths and two sixths, and they scored 217 team points to wrest the PAC team plaque away from the Bears.
“To be honest, I didn’t know if we had enough left at the end,” OJR head coach Steve DeRafelo said. “We had a lot of guys who struggled to win big matches. We had kids who don’t have good records come up with big wins.”
And it all combined to give Owen J. its first team championship in an opening-round individual tournament since the 2012 District 1 AAA Section Four competition.
“We worked hard for it,” Duliakas, whose first-period fall put the ‘Cats on top, said. “It’s awesome to say we’re the league champs. The team came together real well.”
Boyertown’s championship quintet of Matt Wilde (113), David Campbell (120), Jakob Campbell (126), Chris Berry (152) and Elijah Jones (182) was complemented by one third, four fourth places and three fifths. They were hungering for a team championship in what will be Pete Ventresca’s final season as head coach.
“Obviously, we want to finish it out for him,” Wilde, a 3-2 winner over Spring-Ford’s Brandon Meredith in their latest matchup, said. “He’s a wonderful coach, and a great motivator.”
“We all knew it’s his last,” Jakob Campbell added. “Getting the team title for him would be great … a great end, and a high note.”
But the Wildcats had their own championship designs, and those won out.
After Luke Resnick (120), Antonio Petrucelli (132), Cole Meredith (138) and Daniel Mancini (145) ended up second in their bouts, Ryan Resnick claimed his gold medallion with an 11-4 decision of Upper Perkiomen’s Jacob Folk. It capped a day that saw the senior pin his first two opponents in 34 seconds and less … a satisfactory response to his being required to sit out the PIAA Class AAA Duals Tournament last weekend due to a rules situation.
“I was frustrated, but it happens,” he said. “I try to wrestle relentless. If I do that, I know I can come out on top.”
Duliakas (22-6) had a breezy run of his own through the 195 bracket, a 28-second pin and 16-0 technical fall paving his way to the finals. He needed just 78 seconds to get the slap in the finals, setting the stage for the Wildcats’ finishing flourish to the team championship.
“I knew it was close, and I had to get a couple extra (bonus) points,” he said.
Alejandro Acosta came up fourth at 285, David Forrest (106), Ricky McCutchen (152), Jason Zollers (170) and Griffin Gerber (182) scored fifths, and Eric Shanahan (113) and Connor Leister (126) added sixths.
“We had guys battle back in the third and fifth-place bouts,” DeRafelo said. “That’s what it came down to.”
Jakob Campbell, who scored a second-period fall, made his finale in the Boyertown gym even more memorable by nailing down a fourth league championship. He shared that distinction with Norristown’s Eric Fuentes, who won out at 132 in the Eagles’ first PAC tournament participation.
“I think I get more gracious with each victory,” he said. “This time, I enjoyed every minute of it. I went out to have fun in the last one.”
Chris Berry, another of Boyertown’s seniors, pinned his way to gold at 152. Jones closed out the Bears’ gold-medal rush with a pin at 182.
“I was really glad I got to do that,” Berry said of his first PAC championship. “I want to keep on going all the way to states, and see what happens.”
Methacton, which finished third in the team standings, got an Outstanding Wrestler performance from Bryce Reddington. The Warrior senior, coming in with a 28-0 record, scored two pins before posting a 5-0 decision of Mancini.
“It’s all competition,” he said. “I don’t take anything off the mat.”
Reddington’s finish was preceded by Dylan Henry edging Meredith, 3-2. Teammate Brendan Marion later topped Pottstown’s Isaiah Mayes, 8-6, for gold at 170.
“A big part of our success is our 170-pounder,” Reddington said of Marion. “He’s out representing the team as well as anyone.”
Michael Modugno headed a 220-pound weight class dominated by Boyertown graduate Jordan Wood the previous four years. The Upper Perk senior used two pins in the early going, and a five-minute technical fall in the finals, to emerge as Wood’s successor.
In the 285-pound finale, Spring-Ford’s Matt Lepore won out with help from two pins — the fastest a 12-second drop in his first match.
Norristown had another gold medalist in Justin Altrogge, who won at 106 to help the Eagles place fifth with 137.5 points in their PAC debut.
“I’m happy with it,” head coach Mike Harner said. “We had two champions — one (Altrogge) was 14-8 coming in — and a freshman (Isaiah Tucker) who went 4-1 at 126. I was happy with that.”
NOTES >> The top six finishers from each weight class advance to District 1-AAA West Tournament next weekend at Spring-Ford. … Meredith exited the weekend with 99 victories for his scholastic career. He will have the chance to reach that mark in his home gym. … Pope John Paul II’s Brendan Rau, who placed fifth at 195, will be in the 1-AAA West field as a result of his team’s elevation from its previous Class AA designation. The Golden Panther senior was a district qualifier the last three years.
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