BOYERTOWN — Pity the poor opposition … those who faced Spring-Ford’s wrestlers during the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s individual tournament.
Various Rams expressed frustration at how the team’s regular season ended up: A second-place finish to Boyertown and unceremonious ouster from the PIAA Class AAA Duals tourney last weekend. To a man, they used that frustration to fuel an inspired showing Saturday.
Spring-Ford came away from Boyertown High with six champions and three runners-up from the 13 it advanced through the day’s action. That output was sufficient to net the Rams the team championship, their 259 points outdistancing the host Bears (234), third-place Owen J. Roberts (200) and the rest of the PAC-10 field.
“The finish we had to the season left a bitter taste in our mouths,’ SF head coach Tim Seislove said. “We were in a grind the last part of January and the beginning of February, but now we’re moving on in the individual competition.’
One person putting the regular season in his rear-view mirror is Ryan Hayes.
Spring-Ford’s senior 120-pounder came into the medal round facing a familiar adversary in Owen J’s Derek Gulotta, who he faced no less than 10 times during his high-school career. And Gulotta, a three-time champion of the Section Four/PAC-10 tourneys, had won every one of those meeting — albeit by close margins in some.
But this was Hayes’ opportunity to end all the frustration. And he did so, a third-period escape from a bottom start and subsequent takedown with the margin of victory in a 5-2 decision at 120.
“I finally got the win I was looking for my whole high-school career,’ Hayes (35-3) said while clutching the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award he received, due in part to his win over Gulotta (26-7). “The last two, three years in finals I lost to him. It made me work harder, and it paid off.’
While Hayes was the first Ram to strike gold, he was far from the last. Jon Cooper (152), Frankie Krauss (160), Steven Rice (170), Brendan Zimmie (195) and Zach Dorsey (285) followed suit with a number of outcomes ranging from nail-biters to lopsided.
Cooper (21-16) put together a 5-1 decision of Pottstown’s Saddiq Ibn-Mustafah, who worked his way from the pigtail round through a win over Phoenixville top seed Trey Romance and Pottsgrove’s Ryan Finn.
“Obviously this is huge,’ Cooper said. “We were frustrated at the end of the (regular) season, so we took it out on the opponents.’
Krauss’s 12-4 major decision of Upper Perkiomen’s Trevor Weeks capped a memorable day. The Rams’ senior 160-pounder started by getting the 100th win of his scholastic career — a first-period pin of Methacton’s Michael Gradwell — before scoring another first-period drop of OJR’s Micky Kohn.
Against Weeks, Krauss (35-2) built a 6-2 lead through the first period and never looked back.
“It was a good day. The team did a great job,’ he said. “Our goal was to beat Boyertown. We got back on track early in the week against Upper Perk.
“You saw a different team out there.’
After Steven Rice (30-19) topped the 170-pound field with his 3-1 decision of Pottsgrove’s Evan Weneck, Brendan Zimmie found himself in a close bout with Roberts’ Xavier Ferrizzi. It was 3-2 until Zimmie (30-7) dropped Ferrizzi to the mat and body-pressed him into a pin with just two seconds to go in regulation.
“It was exciting,’ the Ram senior admitted. “I wrestled him before, and I knew he was tough. We both tried to work things, but we couldn’t get them.’
The capper for Spring-Ford came in the 285-pound finale, where Zach Dorsey and Boyertown’s Tommy Killoran met in a sequel to their regular-season dual match. Killoran won the first time 1-0, but this time around Dorsey (34-2) pulled out a 2-1 overtime decision.
“I’m proud of the team,’ Hayes said. “This was a big goal for us, after getting bumped out at states.’
Its runner-up finish notwithstanding, Boyertown came away with four league champions and three runners-up out of 12 district advancers. It also won two of three gold-medal pairings with Spring-Ford: Jakob Campbell over Brandon Meredith at 106, and Gregg Harvey over Ryan Yanulevich at 182.
“It was a nice tournament,’ Bear head coach Pete Ventresca said. “We couldn’t match them (Spring-Ford) at the end. They had a heck of a tournament.’
Campbell (32-9) rolled up a 9-2 decision on Meredith at 106 before Lucas Miller (33-9) edged OJR’s Stone Bissland 2-0 at 126. Harvey (37-6) repeated as a PAC-10 champ with his 13-1 major on Yanulevich.
“I wanted to go out and wrestle my best,’ Harvey said afterward. “We’re both improved, both good. It was just a good match.’
Jordan Wood (10-0) pinned his way through the 220-pound category with a 67-second drop of Owen J’s Will Dawson. The Boyertown junior, a two-time silver medalist at states, pronounced himself ready to go after going through a prolonged recovery period from shoulder surgery he underwent back in September.
“No more taking it easy,’ Wood, who spent a combined 4:02 on the mats in his three bouts, said. “I’m trying to make that a trend, getting done as quick as possible and dominating.’
Roberts came away with a pair of PAC titlists in Demetri D’Orsaneo and Dominick Petrucelli. D’Orsaneo (31-5) won at 138 with a 9-4 decision of Pottstown’s Bryant Wise, and Petrucelli (35-6) followed his classmate at 145 with a 3-1 decision of Spring-Ford’s Nick Beauchamp.
“I felt good all day,’ D’Orsaneo, an eighth-place state medalist last winter, said. “The training and running I’ve done kicked in. I didn’t feel tired in any one of my matches.’
The PAC’s other gold medalists were Upper Perk’s Dustin Steffenino at 113 and Methacton’s Bryce Reddington at 132.
Steffenino (29-1) prevailed over Boyertown’s David Campbell in a 7-1 decision, and Reddington (25-4) struck gold with a 5-0 decision of the Bears’ J.T. Cooley.
NOTES — Though the top three wrestlers from each weight class received medals, five in each bracket will advance to districts next weekend at Spring-Ford. … Petrucelli and Wood are the next PAC-10 grapplers in line to reach the 100-win mark for their scholastic careers. Both are in position to do it at districts, Petrucelli with 98 wins and Wood with 97. … Pope John Paul II, which had PAC medalists in Nick Yerger (fourth at 126) and Luke Genetti (fifth at 220), will now head to Church Farm School next week for District 1’s Class AA tournament.
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