EXTON >> When Noel Gilgeous arrived on the Church Farm School campus as a seventh grader, he hardly knew much about wrestling.
Even after joining the wrestling team and learning some of the basics, it was hardly love at first sight for Gilgeous.
“When I started wrestling in seventh grade I hated it,” Gilgeous said. “I came back because it was like a family and that made me want to be there.”
Sebastian Corrales showed up at Church Farm the same year, and unlike Gilgeous, Corrales brought with him some experience from youth wrestling in Philadelphia. The current seniors quickly formed a bond, based around a sport that molded them into two of the best in school history just six years later.
“We’re brothers,” Corrales said of Gilgeous. “He was a new wrestler and I got to help him out and work with him. I’m hoping we can go to states and prove we contributed to this program. This program is built from the ground up with a lot of first-time wrestlers.”
Saturday at the Church Farm Invitational, Gilgeous (195 pounds) won his third straight title, while Corrales reached the finals for a fourth time but finished second. Junior Emmanuel Lawal won his second straight championship. Westtown finished third as a team with two finalists.
Corrales reached the PIAA Class AA tournament three years ago as a freshman. Gilgeous made it two years ago as a sophomore and Lawal was a state qualifier a year ago. Now, the goal is to get there together.
“We’ve all been there alone,” Corrales said. “It would be great to have the support from our teammates. It’s a big stage and you can get shy with all the big lights, so having your brothers next to you creates a great environment.”
Gilgeous gave the Griffins their first champ with a 6-0 win over Norristown’s Lakine Wallace in the finals.
“I wanted to show the new kids they can do it,” Gilgeous said. “I love this sport and I’m gonna fight and give it my all. I want the other kids to have that same love.”
Lawal followed with a 5-3 decision over Tijear Brittingham of Norristown. Tied at three, Lawal scored a takedown in the closing seconds to avoid overtime.
“In my first two matches I was working hard and my body was exhausted,” said Lawal, who pinned his first two opponents. “When the (finals) match started I could feel my muscles get sore and tired, but with 30 seconds left and my coaches yelling at me, I didn’t want to go to overtime. I got aggressive and saw him make a mistake and I swung around back and got the two.”
Gilgeous moved to 10-0 on the season, while Lawal is 13-0. Corrales saw his unblemished record disappear with a 12-7 loss to Caravel’s Nick Hall in the finals. Corrales trailed 4-1 in the first, but roared back to take a 7-5 lead midway through the second period.
That’s when things went south for Corrales, who gave up two points on locked hands violations to tie the score at seven. After Hall escaped with 39 seconds left, Corrales couldn’t come up with a takedown and gave up a four-point move as time expired.
“I think this will help me start my drive back up to practice more,” said Corrales, who has 93 career victories. “I took a break over Christmas and that clearly showed. Last year I didn’t have many losses before the postseason like this, so this is a wake-up call.”
Kofi Prempeh (120) and Edwin Kent (138) took fourth for the Griffins.
Westtown’s Ethan Kisiel (106) and Mohammad Mustafa (113) reached the finals, but both lost by fall.
Griff Hankin (126) and Jack Shea (132) used late surges to clinch their third-place finishes for Westtown. Shea scored the deciding points as time expired to edge Radnor’s Chris Henkel in the consolation final.
“I knew I needed one point and (Henkel) kept lifting me,” Shea said. “On the return I knew I could get the roll, so he lifted me the last time and I kept rolling. I knew the whole team was watching so I didn’t want to let them down.”
Placing fourth for the Quakers were Harrison Williams (195), Jack Devuono (220) and Eli Arauz (285).
1. Caravel Academy, 234; 2. Haverford High, 155; 3. Westtown School, 133; 4. Radnor, 132; 5. Norristown, 131; 6. Church Farm School, 125; 7. Glen Mills, 99; 8. Friends Central, 92; 9. Tower Hill, 73; 10. Conwell-Egan, 57; 11. Germantown Friends, 51; 12. Abraham Lincoln, 49; 13. Abington Friends, 41; 14. George School, 33; 15. Executive Education Academy, 19.
106- Kling (Caravel) pinned Kiseil (Westtown), 1:20
113- Bowne (Caravel) pinned Mustafa (Westtown), 1:29
120- Gray (Caravel) inj. def. Gallagher (Friends Central)
126- Poore (Caravel) pinned Pokharel (Haverford), 1:02
132- Knight (Caravel) dec. Tucker (Norristown), 9-6
138- Jacobs (Tower Hill) dec. Zeelander (Germantown Friends), 10-6
145- Hartman (Conwell-Egan) dec. Lazano (Haverford), 4-2
152- Hall (Caravel) dec. Corrales (Church Farm), 12-7
160- Berneri (Caravel) dec. Morgan (Glen Mills), 2-1 RO
170- McAdams (Haverford) pinned Platt-Brannon (Friends Central), 1:59
182- Duarte (Caravel) dec. Brown (Tower Hill), 9-7
195- Gilgeous (Church Farm) dec. Wallace (Norristown), 6-0
220- Averett (Glen Mills) pinned Loudini (Friends Central), 5:00
285- Lawal (Church Farm) dec. Brittingham (Norristown), 5-3
106- Kelly (Conwell-Egan) pinned Brown (Radnor), 1:32
113- Lacianca (Haverford) pinned LaVine (Radnor), 1:26
120- Crossan (Haverford) pinned Prempeh (Church Farm), 1:49
126- Hankin (Westtown) dec. Velazquez (Lincoln), 7-3
132- Shea (Westtown) dec. Henkel (Radnor), 4-2
138- Mulligan (Radnor) dec. Kent (Church Farm), 6-4
145- Rudick (Germantown Friends) dec. Anderson (Radnor), 3-0
152- Semon (Norristown) pinned Snider (Friends Central), 2:19
160- Hydrisko (Radnor, Lewis (Abington Friends) tie
170- Potter (Caravel) pinned Carter (Norristown), 2:30
182- Harwood (Haverford) pinned Colbert (Glen Mills), 4:24
195- Smith (Glen Mills) dec. Williams (Westtown), 5-3
220- Ravix (Norristown) dec. Devuono (Westtown), 5-1
285- Trzcinski (Lincoln) pinned Arauz (Westtown), 4:26
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