Great Valley’s Ruhnke earns 100th career win

EAST WHITELAND — With his opponent waiting for him in the middle of the mat, Great Valley’s Shane Ruhnke sprinted through his team’s gauntlet to the scorer’s table.

The Sun Valley side clamoured things like “this is the match we want’ and “not tonight,’ referring to Ruhnke’s quest for his 100th win.

They may have wanted to reconsider their requests. Ruhnke shook off a slow first period to pin Steve Okoorian late in the second for his 100th career victory.

The milestone moment also propelled the host Patriots to a 45-17 Ches-Mont American Division win over the Vanguards.

Ruhnke (152 pounds) is the first Great Valley wrestler to reach the century mark since Domenic DeRobertis in 2009.

“It’s a good milestone I think,’ Ruhnke said. “It was one of my goals this year, to get 100 wins…I kind of forgot about it and got lost in the match, but after I won it hit me and I remembered it was my 100th win.’

Okoorian had been undefeated in the American Division this season with wins over Oxford’s Kyle Youssi and Unionville’s Mike Caldwell. He kept it close early, relenting just a late first-period takedown.

In the second period, Ruhnke scored two takedowns and a pair of near-fall points before tilting Okoorian again and finishing him off.

“That’s the match we wanted to wrestle,’ Great Valley coach Owen Brown said. “We were hoping to get one of their better kids. I was glad he took care of business and pinned a good kid. It’s a pretty awesome way to get 100. I’m very proud of him.’

Great Valley (1-1 division, 3-10 overall) finally had almost a full lineup, forfeiting just 113, and showed a lot of resolve for a growing team. The Patriots won the first eight bouts and didn’t trail Sun Valley (1-3, 3-12) in a match until the ninth one, spanning 30 minutes of actually wrestled time.

Nate Tang (170) picked up a major decision, Cole Kemmerer (106) won by technical fall and Dean Lang (285) pinned for Great Valley in that stretch.

“Having Jerome Nelson (160) and Nate Tang back in the lineup after being out until Christmas was nice,’ Brown said. “Marcus Johnson had a nice win at 182 and Cole Kemmerer clinched the dual meet for us. Right off the bat, from 152 to 106, (Sun Valley) didn’t win a single bout and that’s pretty impressive.’

Lang may be the next Patriot to join the 100-win club, as his pin Wednesday gave him 88. With four league meets and the postseason to follow, Lang has a good chance if he continues the impressive pace he’s competed at the last couple seasons.

“I’m glad to see (Lang) put it all together,’ Brown said. “He put a lot of muscle strength on and has made some major strides in his four years. The sky’s the limit if he wants to continue wrestling. He works hard and is a good leader for the team.’

After the Vanguards went on a mini-run, winning three in a row in the lightweights, Ray Colon came up with an exciting win at 132 for the Pats. Down a point against Christian Bateman, Colon was able to score a reversal on the edge of the mat as time ran out for an 8-7 win.

Nick Chawaga (145) ended the scoring for Great Valley with a come-from-behind, 4-2 decision.”Everyone gave their best effort and everyone pushed a full six minutes,’ Ruhnke said. “Nobody left anything out there.’

West Chester Henderson’s Josh Nichter (132) could be the Ches-Mont’s next 100-match winner. The senior has 98 career victories heading into a tri-meet against Phelps School and Abington Friday afternoon.

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