Penn Wood puts up a fight, but Interboro prevails

Lansdowne Teams don’t always measure progress in wins and losses, especially in wrestling.

For example, on Wednesday night Penn Wood’s Abraham Charles wrestled Interboro’s Eric Thomas as part of a dual match at Penn Wood High School. The two 138-pounders met twice last year, with Thomas earning falls in both matches. This time, however, Charles kept his Bucs opponent in the neutral stance. He evaded and parried Thomas’s takedown attempts as well.

“He did a good job of keeping me on my feet,’ said Thomas of Charles. The former collected another win, a closer, more competitive 3-0 decision. On another night, those saved-points could make the difference for the Patriots. Wednesday, they mattered little. Interboro handled Penn Wood, 48-21, in the Del Val League match.

The Bucs won the league a year ago and intend to repeat in 2015 despite a young roster. Jason Miksit, who pinned Sean Spence in 1:58 at 152, is the lone senior for Interboro. But youth doesn’t necessarily mean inexperience.

“We have a lot of kids who wrestled in the middle school program,’ said Bucs head coach Dan Tobin. “They have the experience of being in the spotlight. There’s a familiarity there.’

Still, the lack of seniors has forced some of the underclassmen into leadership roles sooner than expected.

“It’s tough,’ said Thomas. “I try to be the best captain I can be.’

If record is an indicator of his success, Thomas is doing a fine job. Interboro is 13-6, 1-0 in the league, while the junior pushed his individual mark to 22-1 with the victory over Charles.

“That’s nothing but a number,’ Thomas said of the sterling record. “I just go hard in the practice room. I don’t want anything to come easy.’

Thomas has high aspirations. A Del Val League title would be nice. A trip to the PIAA Tournament, which Thomas missed by two matches in 2014, would be better.

Penn Wood, on the other hand, seeks to close the gap between the two programs. According to head coach Dan Madonna he has a “50-50 mix’ between long-time wrestlers and kids fresh out of the hallway.

“Dan Allen, Kelvin Awo, and Abraham (Charles) have been around, and they’ve been helpful. Some have come into wrestling in middle school,’ Madoona said. As for that hallway group, he used a straight-forward approach. “If they look athletic, we try to get them.’

“I will say this, though,’ he added. “It’s hard to get them out of the room. They seem really into it.’

One such example is senior Nazir Withers, a two-year veteran of the sport. Withers claimed a 5-2 decision over Joe Forte at the 160-pound weight class.

“It was slow at the beginning. We were trying to get a feel for each other,’ said Withers. “In the end, I just had more experience. What I’ve learned is it’s not about strength, it’s about technique.’

With the win, Withers continued an unbeaten, 6-0 season. He too, hopes to end his campaign in Hershey. That positivity is not unique to him.

“It’s a testament to all of them,’ said Madonna of the enthusiasm that permeates Penn Wood (5-12, 1-1). “They think they’re in every match. Even tonight. They still want to keep wrestling.’

For now, that’s progress.

Elsewhere in the Del Val:

Academy Park 43, Glen Mills 33: The Knights won the last six matches to take a comeback victory at home. Academy Park’s Elija Gillmore (160) and Max Fitzgerald (170) stemmed the early Battlin’ Bulls storm. Gillmore pinned William Young in 24 seconds. Fitzgerald needed a bit more time to get his pin. He felled Devon Herman in 3:33.

CJ Faustino’s 8-0 decision against Antonio Cook secured the win for the Knights (7-7, 1-1). Glen Mills falls to (4-12, 0-2).

In Central League action:

Penncrest 74, Lower Merion 6: The Lions benefited from seven Aces forfeits to stretch their record to 4-1 in the Central League.

Of the seven contested matches, five ended in falls for the Lions. Matt Young (160) grabbed his 11th win of the season with a tech fall over Hans Fassett. Ryan Stocku (132) improved to 12-1 with a 9-2 decision over Julius Starkey.

Garnet Valley 49, Springfield 21: It was a match that was much closer than its final score. Five of the bouts ended in decisions or major decisions. One needed overtime. Springfield’s Jake Crowther (195) dispatched Ryan Rushton, 7-5 in sudden death.

But it was Garnet Valley (5-3, 4-0) that ultimately pulled away. Robbie Peters pushed his record to 5-1 with a pin at 2:14 of the Cougars’ Zac Venit (145) to start things off. The Jags’ Matt Mortimer (138), now 11-8, closed the match with fall of his own, this one over Mike Psenicska. Springfield falls to 7-13, 1-4 in the Central League.

Conestoga 44, Marple Newtown 28: The Tigers dominated at the heavy end of the lineup, but couldn’t compete with the Pioneers in the lighter weight classes. Conestoga opened the match with three straight wins from 132 to 145. Marple Newtown answered with four victories in the next six bouts. Aaron Goodman (220) closed that run with his 15th win of the season, a pin of Scott Jean. It wasn’t enough. The Pioneers won the final three matches to see out the win. The Tigers are now 7-7, 1-4 in the Central League.

Upper Darby 39, Strath Haven 25: Colin Cronin (132), Max Livingston (145) and Karl Kamanousa (152) won by major decisions over a span of three matches to take control of the match.

Jacob Mejias and Samuel DePhilipo recorded pins for Upper Darby.

Noah Frantz (120) and heavyweight Justin Freemont secured pins for Strath Haven.

In the Ches-Mont:

Sun Valley 54, Oxford 29: The Vanguards (10-3, 2-1 Ches-Mont American) continued their tremendous season with a road victory. Steve Okoorian, Alex Elliot, and Sean Donohue, standout seniors at Sun Valley, all inched closer to the 100-win mark.

Okoorian’s victory over Domehnick Saffi was especially impressive. He wrestled up two weight classes to 182 to secure win number 97, a pin 1:02 into the match.

Elliot (106) pinned Timothy Davis, while Donohue’s fall at 132 gave Sun Valley its first lead of the night. The Vanguards didn’t trail again.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply