Methacton’s Reddington leads PAC’s lone wolves on opening night of Southeast AAA Regional

OXFORD — He’s one of four “lone wolves’ from Pioneer Athletic Conference teams, carrying his school standard forward into regional week.

But unlike the others, Bryce Reddington is not just surviving — he’s taking the fight back to his opponents.

Reddington was one of two dozen PAC grapplers who had to come out of preliminary-round bouts at the Southeast AAA Regional tournament Friday night to get into the main bracket at 132. He did so, then won in the quarterfinals to keep the Warrior program in the postseason picture for this weekend … and possibly next week at Hershey.

“I’ve had kids come to me at school and wish me good luck,’ Reddington said following his quarterfinal victory over Upper Dublin’s Colin Devlin. “It makes me want to do my best for the school.’

Reddington (29-5) found himself in the prelims after coming up short to Upper Darby’s Colin Cronin in the District 1-AAA West finals, 3-1. He responded by controlling Chichester’s Tommy Smarkola in the opener, 7-3, then posted a gritty 5-3 decision over Devlin.

And with that, Methacton’s “lone wolf’ finds himself one win away from a trip to Hershey. But he faces a solid adversary in Pennridge’s Josh Stillings (37-9), who advanced from his perch atop the 132 bracket with a one-point win over Boyertown’s J.T. Cooley.

“I’ve been on teams with him,’ Reddington said. “I just have to stick to my game plan.’

His game plan gets a bit of help from the home front. Bryce’s father, Neil Reddington, qualified for states in the early 1980s as a member of the Warriors’ storied program.

“He’s been in that situation,’ Reddington said, “and he told me to not treat it any differently as any other match. I think it’s cool to be in this situation.’

Just qualifying for states is not something in Reddington’s mindset. The Warrior sophomore wants to get the highest step on the Southeast medal podium available.

“I’m always looking to win a tournament,’ he said. “But I have to take it the same way here. I’m seeing some of the best kids in the state, and I can’t get ahead of myself.’

Evan Weneck (26-4) is taking a similar stance as Pottsgrove’s lone wrestler still in action. To keep his first trip to regional-level mat competition going, though, the senior 170-pounder has to rebound from a preliminary-round loss to Sun Valley’s Okoorian.

But he doesn’t consider working back from a deficit situation to be beyond his capabilities.

“I had a few tournaments where I dropped the first one, then came back,’ Weneck said. “It’s doable.’

With the 1-West tourney not finishing until Monday, Weneck’s workout regimen combined light sessions and running with a visit to Boyertown to fine-tune his skill set with the Bears’ regional qualifiers.

“It was a great workout,’ he said. “I was mentally preparing, drilling the stuff I’ve done all year.’

Like Reddington, Weneck got some insights about wrestling at this level from someone who knew: Nico Demetrio, who qualified for states in 2014 before graduating this past spring.

“He texted me a lot,’ Weneck recalled. “It was a big help, him, my coaches and my father getting me prepared. It’s definitely nerve-wracking to keep my focus.’

The other PAC-10 lone rangers are Phoenixville’s Max Shepherd and Perkiomen Valley’s Alex Michener. Their advancement through the regional, and hopes for state qualification, will depend on their ability to advance through wrestlebacks.

Shepherd (30-4) had a split of his matches at 106. The Phantom junior opened by pinning Kennett’s Logan Reimel in 1:50, but he was dealt a 12-4 major-decision loss by Pennridge’s Matt Parker.

Michener (28-12) found himself on the short end of a 3-2 score in his prelim with West Chester Rustin’s Christos Moscharis.

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Boyertown picked up at regionals from where it left off at districts.

The Bears, who passed Spring-Ford for the 1-AAA West team championship, led the standings at the conclusion of Friday’s session. Their 42 points are two better than the Rams (40), with Pennridge (34), Owen J. Roberts (30) and Council Rock South (29.5) rounding out the top five.

At the same time, Boyertown’s five district champs — Jakob Campbell (106), Lucas Miller (126), Gregg Harvey (182), Jordan Wood (220) and Tommy Killoran (285) — all advanced to the semifinals of their respective brackets. Teammate David Campbell (113) also remains in the gold-medal chase heading into Saturday’s sessions.

“When you get to this level,’ head coach Pete Ventresca said, “you’re facing a lot of hard-nosed kids. I liked how our kids who lost their matches still wrestled tough.

“I’m hoping they will make their way to the top five. The whole goal now is to survive and get to Hershey.’

Wood (14-0) recorded one of Friday’s fastest pins, needing just 43 seconds to dispatch Council Rock South’s Thaison Nguyen. He now has a rematch with Pennridge’s Ezra Outlaw (39-8), the first opponent the Bear junior faced in his belated return to action at the District 1-AAA Duals.

“You’re going to see a different Jordan from that one,’ Ventresca said. “We’re hoping he wrestles up to potential this time.’

Remaining in the championship chase for Spring-Ford are Ryan Hayes (120), Matt Krieble (138), Frankie Krauss (160), Steven Rice (170) and Zach Dorsey (285). Owen J. Roberts’ three district champions — Demetri D’Orsaneo (138), Dominick Petrucelli (145), Xavier Ferrizzi (195) — are joined in the semis by Derek Gulotta. Gulotta (31-8) found himself working out of the preliminary round after a third-place showing at districts, but he responded with a 1:47 pin of Kennett’s Drew Massetti and a 4-3 decision of Harry S Truman’s Dylan Nutall.

Upper Perk’s Dustin Steffenino and Pottstown’s Bryant Wise are the PAC-10’s other semifinalists. Steffenino (33-1), coming off a 1-West championship finish, edged Quakertown’s Harrison Campbell in their 113-pound quarterfinal, 3-2. Wise (26-7) won twice at 138, rolling up a 13-0 major decision on Penn Wood’s Abraham Charles and topping Downingtown East’s Austin Lilis, 7-2.

NOTES — Saturday’s action starts at 9:30 a.m. with first-round consolations. Championship semifinals and second-round consolations are scheduled for 11:30 a.m., with the consolation semis following. The Parade of Champions at 5:45 p.m. kicks off the medal-round bouts at 6 p.m. … Hall of Fame presentations will start the night session at 5:30 p.m.

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