Downingtown East lone winner at Rustin in District Duals

WESTTOWN — As a healthy favorite, breaking a tie with the eighth criteria isn’t the most inspiring way to win a dual meet. But it certainly beats losing that way.

A lackluster Downingtown East team was pushed to the brink by No. 11 Upper Darby and got bailed out by criteria H in the referee rulebook — most first points scored, 13-8 — to win the Class AAA District dual first round dual, 28-27, Thursday at West Chester Rustin.

Also at Rustin, No. 9 Upper Perkiomen bumped No. 8 Rustin, 36-30, No. 5 Owen J. Roberts topped No. 12 West Chester Henderson, 45-22, and No. 3 Spring-Ford squashed No. 14 Haverford, 51-6. The losers of the first round were eliminated from the tournament.

The No. 6 Cougars will face Spring-Ford next Friday at Upper Dublin High in the quarterfinals.

“It’s pretty easy to sum up, we had some very poor performances and we underestimated our opponent,’ East coach Joe Horvath said. “We were missing some key guys and we can’t do that with a team like ours. We need to be more aggressive from the first whistle.’

Just five days prior, the Cougars put it on Upper Darby, 49-15, at a duals tournament. In the rematch, the Royals won the final two bouts at 220 and 285 to force a tie. Since both teams each had seven bout wins, the refs went to their rulebook and took about 10 minutes to figure out that East was the winner.

“I didn’t know if went that far back,’ Upper Darby coach Bob Martin said. “I’ve been coaching here 33 years and I didn’t know that rule existed. It’s a shame we wrestled that hard and it came down to something like that, but I guess you have to decide it somehow. I’m very proud of the way my guys wrestled, though.’

Pins by Nik Zimmerman (120 pounds) and Wade Cummings (126) broke a 3-3 tie and it seemed East would maybe roll again. But a pin by Sam DePhillipo (132) and a forfeit to Colin Cronin (138) put the Royals right back at even.

While Upper Darby was energized, East looked tentative and somewhat surprised it had a battle on its hands. Max Livingston (145) gave the Royals the lead with a decision before East got three straight wins from Austin Lillis (152), Dalton Burt (160) and James Meyer (170) by a combined eight points.

“We always take a few gambles with our lineup and a few gambles helped us and a few really hurt us,’ Horvath said. “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and analyze our lineup again.’

Upper Darby won three of the last four matches, including a 6-5 decision by Joshua Yeboah-Gashi over Billy McGinley.

The Cougars will have to figure things out in a hurry with a talented Spring-Ford team on deck. The tournament now becomes a double-elimination competition with the top four qualifying for states.

“It certainly lets us know we have a lot of work to do,’ Horvath said. “We have some confidence work. I don’t feel (Thursday’s) match was determined by missing physical tools, I think we were missing some mental tools.’

Rustin was left to contemplate what-if after losing to Upper Perk. The Golden Knights fell victim to the Indians’ trademark headlocks one too many times. Brett Kaliner made the drop to 106 pounds and got Rustin off to a fast start with a first-period fall, but Dan Labus getting pinned at 152 and Shane Boyer’s last-minute defeat swung the match the wrong way for the Golden Knights.

“I think more than anything you take away a learning experience of where you came up short, and why, and where you had success,’ Rustin coach Brad Harkins said. “You have to have a short memory in this sport at times and this is one of those times. Bouncing back quickly is the important part.’

Henderson was simply overmatched by the Wildcats. Weston Frame (160) and James McDonald (285) earned pins for the Warriors, but the triad of state-ranked wrestlers — Derek Gulotta (120), Demetri D’Orsaneo (145) and Dominick Petrucelli (152) — gave OJR the upper hand.

The tightest bout of the dual was at 113 where Ryan Resnick used a third-period reversal to edge Jacob Reid, 2-1.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply