UWCHLAN >> In the 1990 PIAA Championships, two seniors from across the state — Rob Beighley of Kiski Area and Joe Horvath of West Chester East — competed just mats away from each other.
Beighley, a 140-pounder at the time, and Horvath, who was a 145 pounds, both walked away without a state medal, but 29 years later there’s a whole lot of winning still going on between the two of them.
Prior to Wednesday’s Ches-Mont National Division dual meet, Horvath was honored for his 300th career victory in his coaching career, a feat he and his Cougars accomplished the opening weekend of the season.
But it was the squad of Beighley, who won his 100th career dual this past weekend, that walked out of the Downingtown East victorious with a 45-21 win.
“I was glad to be here to celebrate Joe’s 300th,” Beighley said. “That’s a great accomplishment, especially for a young guy. That’s a million hours of dedication and it’s something to be proud of.”
East (0-2 National Division, 6-8 overall) led by as much as seven early on thanks to a decision by Spencer Uggla (182 pounds) and pins by Zach Sharaf (285) and Keanu Manuel (106).
Horvath, who began his head coaching career in 1998 at Downingtown, is now 256-94 while at East. He’s coached 11 regional champs, seven state medalists and his Cougars won five straight National Division titles from 2012-2016, while also becoming the first Ches-Mont school to qualify for the PIAA Duals.
“I’m proud I’ve had the longevity,” Horvath said. “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s not easy for any coach. I’m most proud of the kids. You don’t get to 300 wins unless you have the kids. This is my 21st year and I’m very fortunate to have had the kids and the teams I’ve had.”
If Horvath has carved out his success with a calculated, fundamentals-first approach, Beighley has done it with a more bold, aggressive flair. It has worked for both, and while the Cougars started fast, Henderson (3-0, 14-2) won seven of the last nine to pull away from an injury-riddled East team.
Without Kyle Mittelstadt, Matt Romanelli, who will miss the remainder of the season, and Jack Scheerer, East couldn’t stop the bleeding when the Warriors got rolling.
Brett Patton (113) pulled Henderson within one with a first-period fall and Sammy McMonagle (120) gave the Warriors the lead for good with a technical fall.
“Every time we wrestle Downingtown East we know they’re going to be very competitive and we’ll get their best effort,” Beighley said. “It took a lot of strategic planning to get our best against their best, with district duals coming up, but also to secure the win.”
With East forfeiting 126, Henderson’s returning state runner-up, Killian Delaney, bumped up to face Lukas Richie, who was making his debut at 132. With a noticeable size advantage, Richie moved to 4-0 in his high school career against Delaney with a 7-2 decision.
“It’s very important for (Richie) to be in competitive matches heading towards the postseason,” Horvath said. “It does not serve him well to wrestle blowout matches. He needs tight matches to prepare for the postseason.”
Jett Lucas-Murphy (138) followed with a decision to cut Henderson’s lead to four, but the Warriors scored 20 points in their final four bouts to make their case for a top-four seed in the District 1 Duals, which begin next Thursday.
Connor McMonagle (145) won via technical fall, Luke Phayre (160) and Mason Baldwin (170) pinned, while Bobby English (152) worked a decision, as many of the Warriors moved up a weight class or two.
“It’s big because (Downingtown East) is a big rival for us,” Phayre said. “A lot of guys wrestled up and took one for the team and we got the job done.”
Beighley only has 199 more wins to go to hit the 300-win milestone, but with Henderson’s best team in years, at least on paper, competing for a spot in the PIAA Duals is more present focus.
“My 100th win was nice and good, but I’m just happy with the way we’ve been wrestling this year,” Beighley said. “We’ve been wrestling aggressive and we have some tough kids.”
West Chester Henderson 45, Downingtown East 21
182- Uggla (DE) dec. Bauman, 9-4 (0-3)
195- Plawecki (WCH) tech. fall Wileczek, 4:26 (5-3)
220- Range (WCH) dec. Aceto, 5-3 (8-3)
285- Sharaf (DE) pinned Caruso, :42 (8-9)
106- Manuel (DE) pinned Wilson, :58 (8-15)
113- Patton (WCH) pinned Hillestad, 1:55 (14-15)
120- S. McMonagle (WCH) tech. fall Mullen, 4:59 (19-15)
126- P. Delaney (WCH) won by forfeit (25-15)
132- Richie (DE) dec. K. Delaney, 7-2 (25-18)
138- Lucas-Murphy (DE) dec. Tran, 6-0 (25-21)
145- C. McMonagle (WCH) tech. fall Vincent, 3:22 (30-21)
152- B. English (WCH) dec. Huntoon, 9-2 (33-21)
160- Phayre (WCH) pinned Palladino, 1:20 (39-21)
170- Baldwin (WCH) pinned Dyer, 3:27 (45-21)
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