DOWNINGTOWN — Often times when a team goes on a run with team championships it sprouts from that one great class of athletes.
Downingtown West is in the midst of a run, and whether or not its in the middle or towards the end of it is yet to be seen.
The Whippets succession of solid classes and development of its program kids gives West the look of a program that won’t fizzle out anytime soon.
Wednesday, in front of their home fans on senior night, the Whippets capped their second straight Ches-Mont National Division title with a 51-21 win over West Chester Henderson.
West (5-0 division, 16-1 overall) has won 11 straight division dual meets and will send off eight starters to graduation this spring.
“It’s exciting,” West coach Brad Breese said. “It doesn’t happen often so anytime it happens is a good time. We hope to keep it going, but Henderson is tough and they’ll be a tough team to beat next year. It’s something to look forward to next season, but getting it this year is certainly satisfying.”
Through four years of National Division dual meets, West’s seniors combined for a 79-35 record in those contests. Doug Zapf (120 pounds) came in with a reputation and Gavin Hale (152) followed in his older brother’s footsteps, but many of the others have grown into their roles.
Nick Lilley, who had one of six pins for the Whippets, started as an 18-17 freshman and is now a returning state qualifier being counted on for bonus points almost every dual. Jesse Cook (285), who also pinned, was 4-15 as a freshman and is now a top heavyweight in District 1 with a record of 21-7.
“The offseasons were huge,” Cook said. “We had practices every week and went to tournaments in the offseason. Really, it was just a lot of us wanting to hang out with each other and get better at wrestling.”
West also got a fall from Mitch Byers (126) and Chris Madanat (220) and a major decision from Chase Hanak (132), guys who barely wrestled, if at all, as freshmen.
“Chase thought about not coming out his freshman year and the guys made sure he did because they knew the type of wrestler he could be,” Breese said. “Marco (Cardi) never wrestled until his freshman year and the guys brought him in and embraced him and made him part of something and he’s been very beneficial this year. They’re good teammates to each other and that makes a big difference.”
The Whippets will travel to Upper Dublin Friday in their quest to make a repeat trip to the PIAA Duals.
Henderson (4-1, 13-2) will be in new territory under Rob Beighley, competing in the quarterfinals against top-seeded Council Rock South.
“We faced the No. 2 team (Wednesday night) and now we get to face the No. 1 team Friday,” Beighley said. “It’s where we want to be, in a position as a team to be rewarded with opportunities like this. It means we’re getting there and we’re climbing to the top of the region. We’re a team that’s a tough out.”
Getting wins for the Warriors were Sammy McMonagle (106), Killian Delaney (113), Luke Phayre (145) and Ray Martin (160).
“The Ches-Mont National is a tough league,” Beighley said. “Every Wednesday we’re battling good programs.”
Downingtown West 51, West Chester Henderson 21
182- Mielnik (DW) tech. fall Latimer, 5:20 (5-0)
195- Shafer (DW) dec. McGuinness, 6-4 (8-0)
220- Madanat (DW) pinned Range, 1:38 (14-0)
285- Cook (DW) pinned Foster, 2:50 (20-0)
106- S. McMonagle (WCH) pinned Niemeyer, 1:55 (20-6)
113- Delaney (WCH) won by forfeit (20-12)
120- Zapf (DW) pinned Tran, 1:46 (26-12)
126- Byers (DW) pinned English, 2:45 (32-12)
132- Hanak (DW) maj. dec. Mullen, 9-0 (36-12)
138- N. Lilley (DW) pinned O’Hara, :59 (42-12)
145- L. Phayre (WCH) tech. fall Hayford, 4:00 (42-17)
152- G. Hale (DW) dec. M. Phayre, 3-0 (45-17)
160- Martin (WCH) maj. dec. Cusack, 11-3 (45-21)
170- M. Hale (DW) pinned Rubino, 1:36 (51-21)
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