Coatesville’s Boykin leads local contingent to Hershey

POTTSTOWN — When the final buzzer blared, Coatesville’s Mike Boykin simply unsnapped his chinstrap and walked to the middle of the mat.

What he had done the prior six minutes of wrestling prompted oohs and ahhs from the crowd and will likely raise a few eyebrows across the state.

But to Boykin, it was just business as usual. The coaches at the Class AAA Southeast Regional tournament at Pottstown High, thought differently, though. They named Boykin Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after he beat the No. 1 ranked 220-pound wrestler in the state, Jordan Wood of Boyertown, 5-2 in the finals, Saturday night.

Wood was the second undefeated wrestler Boykin, who was ranked No. 2 in the state, knocked off on the day, turning the tables on Wood’s 4-3 victory in the 2013 regional finals. While many think there will be a rubber match in the state finals next Saturday, there’s a lot that can happen between then and now.

Now, however, Boykin leads a local contingent of eight Ches-Mont wrestlers to the PIAA tournament, starting Thursday. Boykin was the lone local champion, while Downingtown East’s Wade Cummings (120 pounds), West Chester Henderson’s Brad Patton (138), Great Valley’s Shane Ruhnke (145), Downingtown West’s Gabe Hale (170) and Avon Grove’s Caleb Edwards (182) placed second. Coatesville’s Wesley McGuire (195) and East’s Sean Snodgrass (285) clinched trips to Hershey with third-place finishes.

It was Boykin’s night, though, as he became Coatesville’s first three-time state qualifier with his second regional championship.

“It feels good,’ said Boykin, who moved to 36-0 on the season. “Knowing I’m the first to do something in school history feels pretty special.’

Against Wood, Boykin scored first with an escape and nearly scored a takedown on the edge, halfway through the second period. With 15 seconds left in the second, Boykin got in on a single-leg and converted to go up, 3-0. After Wood escaped to start the third, Boykin got a hold of Wood’s ankles for his second takedown to ice the victory.

“Now I gotta go win states,’ Boykin said. “That’s the goal. I want to see (Wood) again next week.’

Cummings had a tough task in finals, as well, squaring off against Pennridge’s Scotty Parker, who is ranked No. 2 in the state. Parker escaped in the second for the only score, to win, 1-0, but Cummings heads to Hershey with confidence after hanging tough.

“I’m happy with the result, but there’s still room to get better,’ said Cummings, who beat Garnet Valley’s Mike Marino 5-3 in the semifinals. “The game plan was to focus on my feet and I did a good job of countering (Parker) and frustrating him. I just came up a little short.’

Patton used a 6-4 upset of Council Rock North’s Tim Ambacher in the semifinals to reach the finals, but wound up on the wrong side of a 10-3 decision against Owen J. Roberts’ Demetri D’Orsaneo.

“It means a lot,’ Patton said. “I don’t wrestler year-round since I play three sports, so I’m not surprised no one knows me. It means a lot to come out and do this with not putting in as much work in. I have to thank my coaches, because without them I don’t think I would have done it.’

Ruhnke is heading back to states for a second straight year, this time after falling 16-6 to Central Bucks East’s returning fifth-place state medalist, Francesco Fabozzi.

“I think it’s worse this year with how I performed,’ Ruhnke said. “But it gives me more motivation at states and more to work on this week.’

Hale and Edwards will make their first trips to the Giant Center after reaching the finals. Hale got headlocked by Garnet Valley’s John Dambro in the first period and never recovered, dropping an 8-0 major decision. Hale won his 99th career bout in the semis against Harry S. Truman’s Jesse Huber, 9-0.

Edwards took an early lead against North Penn’s Alex Price in the finals, but lost some steam and was cradled in the third, resulting in a 4-2 loss. Fellow Red Devil, Edgar Garcia (106), was edged in the consolation finals by Council Rock South’s Riley Palmer, 5-1, to deny a return trip to states. Earlier in the night, Garcia was given the Sportsmanship Award by the referees for this season.

McGuire’s 6-3 win over Council Rock South’s Ben Kenis in the consi finals gave Coatesville its first pair of state qualifiers in the same season since 1974.

Snodgrass is a back-to-back state qualifier, thanks to a second-period pin over Spring-Ford’s Josh Boyer. He’s the first two-time state qualifier at East since Mike Lukenda in 2005-06.

Prior to the finals, former Octorara two-time state champion, Mike Letts, was inducted into the Southeast Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.

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