TOWAMENCIN >> The duel meet and conference title may have been clinched for the North Penn wrestling the match before his, but Dan Sibel was going to give it everything he had for his last time in front of the Knights’ faithful.
“As as a senior, this is the last time I’m going to wrestle out here,” he said. “I went out there ready to give it my all and that’s what I did.”
Sibel’s full effort ended up earning him a pin late in the second period against Central Bucks East’s Ben Eckley — the fourth of five pinfalls for North Penn Friday night — as the teams battled for the outright Suburban One League Continental championship. After the Patriots took a 16-10 lead after six matches, it was all Knights, as they won the final eight matches to claim their third straight conference title with a 53-16 victory on Senior Night.
“It’s great. Wasn’t so sure how the year was going to start out but these guys really grew and came along throughout the whole year,” North Penn coach Robert Shettsline said.
The Knights (12-6, 6-0 conference) dominated the middle and upper weights, taking every match after 145 in a meet that began at 106. In the final eight bouts, the Knights claimed five pins, a major decision — Reid Denter 13-3 over Danny Eckley at 170 — and a forfeit at 182 that put NP up 38-16 with three matches left that sealed the victory.
“It feels great. This is my first year wrestling varsity so to be a part of it was just really, really great,” Sibel said. “And then to get win for my team that just added even more to it.”
North Penn has not dropped a conference match during its three-year reign — going 19-0 — with Shettsline crediting the success to building a program that begins not just at the high school level.
“We’re getting together with the young and middle school and we know that’s where North Penn wrestling is,” Shettsline said. “So, it’s not just the high school and my assistants, it’s the middle school programs as well as the youth programs. Those guys are spending hours at night and it’s slowly starting to trickle down.”
The Knights started Friday night taking three of the first four matches — Eddie Galang opening with a 12-1 major decision at 106. East’s Donovan Rice rallied for a 5-0 deficit after a period by earning a second-period fall over Austin Zeigler, but North Penn got decisions from Nolan Roberts at 120 (6-2) and Alec Schrum at 126 (4-2) to take a 10-6 lead.
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) February 10, 2018
“They’re definitely some toss-up matches there and we needed to come out on top so there were a few matches that we’re not sure how it’s going to go. We needed to win those,” Shettsline said.
The Patriots (12-8, 5-1) responded with back-to-back wins to grab a 16-10 lead. At 132, Dylan Rafferty picked up a 10-0 major decision with Connor Loveless shaking off a 3-0 deficit to pin NP’s Mahedi Hasan in the second period.
But it was all North Penn from there. Jarret Niedosik began the eight-match run with a third-period pin on Austin Cheeseman at 145 with Erik Laughlin giving the Knights the lead for good at 152 as he pinned Marcus Chernyshev with 2.1 seconds to go in the first period.
“We started from the beginning of the season with our goals set for this league title. We never really wavered on that, we’re always aiming (for it),” Sibel said. “We’re always one match at a time but we’re always aiming for this final goal.”
Patrick O’Neill earned the night’s fastest pin at 160, getting Jake MacConnell’s shoulders onto the mat at 29 seconds. Dentner went out to a 13-0 lead after two periods at 170 before finishing with a 13-3 major decision over Danny Eckley. After Garret Quallet too the forfeit win at 182, Sibel’s pin pushed the advantage to 44-16.
“My top has always been my most dominant aspect of my skill,” Sibel said. “So once I got on top I gained a lot of confidence, my nerves cooled down and I was ready to get to work, really.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) February 10, 2018
Owen Versepy collected North Penn’s fifth and final pin 1:05 into his match at 220 with Connor Hansberry. Ryan Cody finished the night with a 6-3 decision over East’s Trent Petro.
“That’s just ecstatic. It’s amazing to be able to celebrate both senior night and the championship in front of the biggest crowd we’ve had all year,” Sibel said. “It just makes it all better.”
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