Ridley’s Alkins, McCarthy advance to semifinals

POTTSTOWN — Fueled by the disappointment of how Ridley’s team dual season had unfolded, Lawrence Alkins brought resolve and a plan to take his opponent head-on into Pottstown’s Strom Gymnasium Friday night.

The plan worked and the inner strength that Alkins displayed earned the junior a berth in Saturday’s 182-pound semifinals of the Class AAA Southeast Regional wrestling tournament.

The top three finishers at each weight will head to Hershey for next week’s PIAA Tournament.

“I just wanted to come here with a good mindset and go full force for everybody who’s in my way,” Alkins said after dispatching Downingtown East’s Jason Gibson, 5-3, in a grueling quarterfinal.

“You can’t really think of anything else but winning,” he added. “You have to be very, very confident in yourself because anything can happen here. If you have any thoughts of losing, you might as well quit. So I went into my match smart and set up a plan and it worked out.”

Alkins will have company in Saturday’s semifinals, with teammate Donte McCarthy dominating his quarterfinal over West Chester Henderson’s Kyle Medrow, 11-5, at 120 pounds.

“It hasn’t been the best of years for Ridley wrestling, but we’re trying to make the most of this opportunity,” Alkins said. “Hopefully me and Donte to make it happen, because our teammates have been very supportive of us.”

Twenty other athletes from Delaware County were among the 126 wrestlers from 49 schools that filled the gym with non-stop action for more than 3½ hours.

District One-West champion teammates Michael Marino (120) and John Dambro (170) carried the standard for Garnet Valley, with each easily advancing to their respective semifinals — Marino with a 12-1 major decision and Dambro by pin in 1 minute, 56 seconds.

Ryan Dougherty of Penncrest bulled his way to the 152-pound semifinals with a third-period pin, Academy Park’s Samson Akporotu advanced to the semis at 160 with a 10-7 decision, and Karon Lucas-Tillery of Penn Wood punched his ticket to the semis with a 10-3 win at 195.

The night did not begin well for Central League champion Garnet Valley, which saw half of its four wrestlers relegated to the consolation round less than a half hour into the tournament.

The first Jaguar, sophomore Ben Tuohey, opened up the 126-pound bracket with a 4-3 loss to West Chester Henderson’s Joey Wilson. Moments later, 145-pounder Sean Lyons came up on the short end of an excruciatingly tough 1-0 loss to West Chester Rustin’s Thomas Hatzipavlides.

Upper Darby’s Anthony Petril, the first Delco wrestler to take the mat at 106, showed some spunk in a 5-3 opening win over Dylan Nuttall of Harry S. Truman. The Royals’ senior then had the misfortune of running into the top seed in the quarterfinals, where he was pinned in 2:46 by Avon Grove’s Edgar Garcia.

Nate Frantz of Strath Haven also lost his quarterfinal, and will oppose Petril in a second-round consolation Saturday.

Sun Valley junior Alex Elliott won his 138-pound opening-round Delco showdown with Interboro’s Joey Gonzales, 6-2, and then took top seed Demetri D’Orsanio of Owen J. Roberts to the limit before falling, 6-3, in the quarterfinal. Steve Phillips of Interboro also won out of the gate, with a second-period pin at 170, but then ran into the buzzsaw that is Garnet Valley top seed John Dambro.

Springfield’s Dennis Charamella has had to deal with defeat just a handful of times this season, so it was understandable that the senior was particularly hard on himself as he sat in the grandstands with Lions coach Dave Pecunia, both studying video of his 3-1 loss to West Chester Henderson’s Brad Patton in the 138-pound quarterfinals.

“It’s really frustrating because I felt I was in control, I was up 1-0 and then I tried a dump-toss and it didn’t work,” Charamella said. “That put (Patton) ahead so he could just stall the rest of the match. I was thinking if I stayed on my feet, that I should be able to take this one. I made a stupid mistake, but it’s all in the past now. I have to move on.”

Charamella, 33-4, will come back Saturday in the consolation bracket but the task is a tough one.

“You can’t make mistakes at this level, points are hard to come by,” Pecunia said. “But he’ll learn from this and it is what it is. He’s got to go out (Saturday) and win three in a row. You just concentrate on one match at a time, it’s as simple as that.”

Charamella will have plenty of company among his Delco brethren trying to claw their way through the consolation bracket, including Garnet Valley’s Tuohey (126) and Lyons (145), Marple Newtown’s Pat Callaghan (126), Interboro’s Gonzales (138) and Eric Thomas (132), Sun Valley’s Steve Okoorian (152), Radnor’s Tom Meyers (160) and Zak Taylor (170), as well as Penncrest’s Liam Frank (182) and Austin Jacque (195).

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