Kowal, Mongiello, Houriet lead 10 Pennsbury grapplers to districts

LANGHORNE — Say you had to pick who would go further this postseason between Council Rock South lightweight Riley Palmer and Pennsbury heavyweight Mason Houriet.

Keep in mind that Palmer — a returning state medalist — went unbeaten this year at 106 pounds and that Houriet has been off the mat since the Souderton Duals on Jan. 10.

Most would have picked the little guy for the Golden Hawks.

This year, however, most would have been wrong. Palmer failed to make weight at SOLs and is thus barred from advancing to districts.

Houriet returned from a shoulder injury he suffered in January to go 3-1 in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference championships Feb. 14 at Neshaminy, good enough for a third-place finish and a spot in this Saturday’s District 1-AAA Tournament at Interboro High School.

After winning his first bout at SOLs, Houriet got pinned by 285-pound SOL champ Bruce Graeber but hey, everyone gets pinned by the Neshaminy junior, at least everybody in the SOL. Mason came back with another decision win before pinning Abington junior Jamal Graham in a consolation final.

“I didn’t want to just give up on my senior season,’ said Houriet. “I figured I’d give it one more shot.’

Mason is taking nine of his teammates with him to districts including senior classmates Eric Mongiello and Luke Kowal who captured SOL National crowns at 138 and 160 pounds, respectively. Kowal earned a tough 4-2 decision win over CR North junior Josh Shalinsky, who won the SOL 152-pound title last year with a close decision win over Kowal.

Pennsbury freshman Antonio Martoccio, (2nd, 106 pounds), junior Connor Joyce (2nd, 120) and junior Alex Cwenar (2nd, 170) are headed to districts after taking runner-up medals at SOLs.

Martoccio, who hadn’t lost since the Souderton Duals and has 29 wins, got tech-falled by CR North’s Aidan Burke, who was wrestling down a notch in the championship. Joyce, who won SOL and D-1 trophies last year at 113 pounds, found himself on the short side of a decision in his bout with Truman senior Dylan Nuttall. And while Cwenar took CR South sophomore Joe Doyle to OT in the final, he eventually dropped a 4-2 decision.

Additional Falcon grapplers headed to districts include Kenny Hickman (3rd, 182), Kenny Clarke (4th, 152) Andrew Roccograndi (4th, 113) and Alexander Holliday (4th, 195). Hickman pinned CR South senior Scott Mackin in 58 seconds to earn his third-place medal.

“That was definitely well-wrestled by Kenny,’ said Houriet. “He never faced Mackin before so he didn’t know what to expect. Mackin is close wrestling partners with (Ben) Kenis so he’s a tough guy to beat.’

Hickman won just 10 matches last year and four of those wins were in the postseason. Already this year, he’s got 25 wins to his name.

“We all work extremely hard, especially going into the postseason. We take it up another notch just keep drilling and going hard,’ said Houriet.”Coach Kealy is all about toughness and fighting through every last second of the (bout) — wrestle like it’s your last match, ever and make sure you get the win.’

In Houriet’s case, the biggest challenge was just getting back on the mat. “It’s tough to wrestle with just one arm,’ he quipped.

The senior heavyweight said he was conditioning throughout his absence, running and going to the gym three to four times a week. For that, he advances to districts where he will try to win a medal, something that’s eluded him in the tournament the last two years there.

SOL National Championships

Championship Finals

106 — Aidan Burke (CRN) won by tech. fall over Antonio Martoccio (P), 17-2 5:10

120 — Dylan Nuttall (T) dec. Connor Joyce (P), 4-1

138 — Eric Mongiello (P) won by forfeit over Shane Flanagan (CRS)

160 — Luke Kowal (P) dec. Josh Shalinsky (CRN), 4-2

170 — Joe Doyle (CRS) dec. Alex Cwenar (P), 4-2

Consolational Finals

113 — Tom Matarazzo (CRN) pinned Andrew Roccograndi (P), 1:57

152 — Luke Ely (CRN) dec. Zack Clarke (P), 4-2

182 — Kenny Hickman (P) pinned Scott Mackin (CRS), 0:58

195 — Justin Litz (T) pinned Alexander Holliday (P), 2:53

285 — Mason Houriet (P) pinned Jamal Graham (A), 3:14

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