Miller reaches milestone as Boyertown rolls in PIAA opener

HERSHEY — He wasn’t leaving anything to chance this time.

Lucas Miller went into last weekend’s District 1 Class AAA Duals tournament two wins short of 100 for his scholastic career. The Boyertown junior got the first one, then found himself fall short in the subsequent semifinal and championship matches, coming away from Upper Dublin at 99.

So when the Bears opened the PIAA Class AAA state duals Thursday, Miller was determined to get the job done. He did so in a big way, scoring one of eight pins that fueled the Bears’ 65-3 rout of St. Mary’s at the Giant Center in Hershey.

“I was hoping to win last week,’ Miller, clutching a poster commemorating his accomplishment, said following the match. “But I’m not complaining about it.

“I was disappointed how I wrestled last week.’

There was hardly any disappointment felt by Boyertown (19-0) in its match with District 9’s dual champions. The Bears went on a resounding 62-point run from the opening whistle, adding two major decisions to the flurry of falls they scored on the Flying Dutchmen.

A decision in the 160-pound finale provided St. Mary’s all its points on the night. Boyertown, in the meantime, advances to a quarterfinal-round matchup against District 7 runner-up Belle Vernon, a 52-12 winner over Jersey Shore in Thursday’s other opening-round action.

“We knew if we wrestled well, we could win,’ Miller said. “We wrestle as good as we think we can. We looked pretty good.’

Miller faced off against St. Mary’s 126-pounder Cameron Resch one bout after the Bears clinched the team victory, courtesy of Garrett Mauger’s 3:41 pin of Cameron Winters. He used a cradle to dispatch the Dutchmen junior after getting a takedown in the first period.

“I was going for a dump,’ Miller recalled, “but he kind of rolled. That was fortunate for me.’

Boyertown’s revamped lineup, reflecting Jordan Wood’s return to action off a recovery period for a shoulder injury, flexed considerable muscle from top to bottom. It had an 11-2 edge in first takedowns and saw only two weights where St. Mary’s led after the first period.

“This is the first time we had our full lineup,’ Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said. “And this is when it counts.

The roll started with Will Scholl’s 4-0 decision of Nicklas Taylor at 170. Gregg Harvey then got Boyertown’s pin parade started with a 3:54 drop of Michael Wolfel at 182, and Brody O’Connell followed with a 7-1 decision of Mitchell Cashmer at 195.

Wood continued his belated return to the mats by pinning Dutchmen 220-pounder Daniel Salinas in 1:19. Tommy Killoran and Jakob Campbell added falls of their own: Killoran over Raymond Kline in 4:32 at 285, Campbell in 1:51 at 106.

“I thought we matched up well with them,’ Ventresca said. “We knew their strengths are where we’re strong.’

After David Campbell racked up an 8-0 major on Raymond Dent at 113, and the pins by Mauger and Miller, the Bears got their other “major’ from J.T. Cooley, an 8-0 shutout of Garret Cook. Chris Berry (138) and Hunter Vogels (145) closed out the pin parade with respective drops of Tim Beimel and William McGonnel. Elijah Jones then gritted out a 4-2 decision of Kyle Pecht at 152.

“Elijah is a great kid. He works hard and is very coachable,’ Ventresca said. “He’s got a big-time learning curve. I think you’ll see him on the podium next year.’

For now, Boyertown’s focus is on a Belle Vernon unit its coach described as being “very tough.’

“There will be good matchups,’ he said. “We want to wrestle the best teams.’

NOTES — Vogels had the fastest fall for Boyertown, getting the slap on McGonnel in 1:07. It was one of three pins Boyertown scored in the first period.

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