PAC-10 grapplers successful in early rounds, must wait until Monday to compete in semifinals

ROYERSFORD — “See you next week’ and “stay tuned.’

Those were two significant messages coming out of Spring-Ford High School, site of the District 1-AAA West wrestling tournament. They spoke to the unique set of circumstances that compelled the district to alter the time frame of a tourney normally planned to encompass just one day,

In anticipation of forecasts for a wintry weather mix hitting the region Saturday afternoon and evening, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) district committee decided to split the tournament up. The decision was to halt Saturday’s action around 1 p.m., then come back Monday to finish up.

“The decision was made at a level above us,’ District One official Dennis Kellon explained. “It was made in the best interests of getting people off the road. It could be a good decision, if we get the six to eight inches of snow predicted.’

Saturday’s session was halted at the conclusion of the quarterfinal-round bouts which had been preceded on the day’s schedule by a preliminary round of up to three matches in each weight class. The tourney will resume 4:30 p.m. Monday with semifinal and consolation bouts (two rounds) leading up the medal matches.

“The bottom line is the wrestlers, fans and coaches are important,’ Kellon said. “We didn’t want to see even one accident upset anything.’

The consensus among a number of wrestlers and coaches combined support of the decision with concerns about what impact the layover may have on individual and team momentum built up during Saturday’s session.

“It’s kind of hard when you get on a roll to get it going again,’ Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said. “But that’s the way it is. District One made the decision in the best interest of the kids.’

“It’s tough,’ Tim Seislove, head coach of the host Rams, added. “The kids get started, then they’ll be sitting for over 48 hours. It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s the right decision.’

For Jordan Wood, one of three Pioneer Athletic Conference grapplers looking to hit the 100-win mark at districts, the pause will force him and his Boyertown teammates to revamp their normal weekend regimens.

“Keep training and work through it in tune-up for Monday,’ the Bears’ junior captain said. “Learn to get through it and keep our weights under control.’

Conversely, Ryan Hayes sees benefits in the break.

“Get rest, and mentally prepare more for Monday,’ Spring-Ford’s senior 120-pounder said. “I’m confident in my semifinal match.’

Hayes ended up contributing to the PAC-10 teams’ overall domination of their Central League counterparts. After advancing 28 of 39 wrestlers out of the preliminary-round action — it had another three receive byes into the main bracket — the PAC continued that roll with a 36-20 edge in semifinal qualifiers.

Area wrestlers dominated the 138-pound weight class, its four semifinal berths claimed by Owen J. Roberts’ Demetri D’Orsaneo, Upper Perkiomen’s Eric Miller, Pottstown’s Bryant Wise and Spring-Ford’s Matt Krieble. That was also the case at 145, with OJR’s Dominick Petrucelli, the Bears’ Hunter Vogels, the Rams’ Nick Beauchamp and Pottstown’s Mason Pennypacker all semifinalists.

“The PAC wrestled well,’ Ventresca, whose squad led the early team point standings with 35, said. “Spring-Ford had a good day, and we did too.’

Of the three area grapplers pursuing 100-win fame at districts, Dominick Petrucelli continued to lead the race.

Roberts’ senior 145-pounder, coming in with 98 victories for his career, halved the number with his 9-7 decision of Garnet Valley’s Robbie Peters. Petrucelli (36-6) rallied from an early point deficit to overtake the GV sophomore, setting up a semifinal pairing with Boyertown’s Hunter Vogels.

Wood (11-0) got one of the three wins he needs for 100 by pinning Radnor’s Kent Chase 89 seconds into their 220-pound duel. And Upper Perk’s Eric MIller (31-5) drew even with Wood coming out of the preliminary round at 138. Miller started with a 1:14 pin of Radnor’s Chris Austin, then posted a 3-0 decision in his quarterfinal bout with Haverford’s Stefan Rozanski.

“I’ll try to stay as relaxed as possible,’ Wood said. “But I’m going to be a little bit on pins and needles.’

The 220 bracket has Wood and another unbeaten wrestler, Upper Darby’s Josh Yeboah-Gyasi, on course for a championship clash. Yeboah-Gyasi came into districts with a 25-0 record, and he added to that with a third-period technical fall of Methacton’s Shuajb Nuredini.

The tourney’s other two unbeatens are Conestoga’s Dan Iredale (20-0) at 152 and Radnor’s Tom Myers (32-0) at 170.

NOTES — The first-day team standings had Spring-Ford second with 26.5 points. … PAC-10 teams held five of the first six spots in points, with Owen J. Roberts (15), Upper Perkiomen (10) and Pottstown (nine) surrounding fourth-place Upper Darby (13.5). … In outlining the tournament’s game plan, Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel noted the first idea was to cut out the scheduled break prior to the 5:45 p.m. Parade of Champions, getting the medal bouts going two hours earlier. “That was Plan A coming in,’ he said. “We hoped to be done by 6:30 p.m. But then we went with Plan B.’ … It was announced any spectators who purchased all-tournament passes will have them honored for Monday’s session.

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