Penncrest’s Pyfer could feel the support in Hershey

HERSHEY — There’s an emotional side to the ultimate alpha male sport.

You could see it in the 10-man Delaware County contingent of wrestlers and their coaches during the PIAA Tournament at the Giant Center.

They are fearless, they are committed to each other and don’t even think about messing with one of them because they have each other’s backs.

It’s a winning formula.

It’s intense.

When a wrestler is eliminated, the emotion that comes out seems driven not so much by the defeat but the end of a chapter made of blood, sweat and tears and the uncertainty that lies ahead.

“The thing I’m always going to remember about being at the state tournament is I had people by my side that actually wanted to see me succeed and weren’t just there just because I was a winner,’ Penncrest 182-pounder Joe Pyfer said. “I had a really close bond with my coaches. I had great teammates. Everybody came up and supported and believed in me. I came up short. It’s a one-time opportunity for me. I didn’t end it the way I wanted to, but just being here is something some kids who wrestle their whole life don’t get to do.’

Pyfer went 2-2 in the tournament to finish the season 36-6. Among others, he applauded Lions coaches Will Harmon and Gregory Jacobs.

The reaction was typical for virtually all of the Delco guys.

“It’s just being with your teammates,’ Garnet Valley’s Matt Marino, who roomed with fellow Jaguars wrestler Nick Puliti, his best friend, said of the state tournament. “It’s not all about the wrestling. It’s just something to be a part of.’

Only one Delco wrestler — Alex Elliott of Sun Valley — made it to the medal stand. All of them earned respect from Elliott, Puliti, Marino and Pyfer to Eric Thomas (Interboro), Pat Rowe (GV), Steven Okoorian (Sun Valley), Sean Donohue (SV), Tom Meyers (Radnor) and Colin Cronin (Upper Darby).

Joshua Yeboah-Gyasi, the 220-pound Upper Darby wrestler, was scratched from the tournament due to a concussion. Amid pressure from the tournament bracket heads, his coach, Bob Martin, made sure Yeboah-Gyasi’s name was in the official program.

“He earned it,’ Martin said.

So did Martin, the other Delco coaches and the young men who battled for each other on the mats in the tournament.

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Meyers exorcised the so-called Myers curse.

Unlike his less fortunate brothers, he won the match he had to make the states, a first in a family of successful wrestlers.

“Neither of them got to Hershey,’ Meyers said. “We were all like projected to, especially my one older brother.’

John Meyers graduated in 2009. Bob Meyers is from the class of 2011.

Tom Meyers is pretty much done with competitive wrestling. He’s headed to the University of Massachusetts to play lacrosse.

· · ·

Cronin, the Upper Darby sophomore eliminated at 132, hung around for the medal round Saturday.

You never forget the last match.

“Afterward everyone knew I could have won that match,’ Cronin said. “I was wrestling sloppy at the end. I wasn’t wrestling my best. It’s tough watching this. I should be wrestling right now for a place. This will hopefully make me a little bit more eager to place next year.’

· · ·

Sun Valley coach Tom Ellis is taking the Vanguards squad to a wrestling meet in New Orleans this summer.

This past summer the squad wrestled in Dallas.

Ellis likes the exposure and experience his guys get competing in out-of-your-comfort-zone meets.

Elliott’s success at 160 pounds couldn’t have been hurt by the last trip.

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