Pennsbury splits decisions before falling to Quakertown

ABINGTON – It’s certainly never easy when any team – professional or otherwise – has to rebuild after stretches of success.

Coming off a last place showing at the eight-team Saucon Valley Invitational earlier this month – a tournament in which they finished in third place last year and had never finished below fifth place – the Falcons are off to a slow start after finishing last year with a 16-7 overall record, including a 5-2 mark in league play.

“We’re not there yet, but I know it’s going to be a different looking team come the end of this year,” Pennsbury wrestling coach Phil Kealy said. “Between now and then, there’s going to be a lot of growth and you’re going to see a big difference.”

Nobody knows more about working through the growing pains than Kealy and senior wrestler Connor Joyce, who added four more wins to his varsity record at the Ghost Town Duals Dec. 12 at Abington, bringing him to 84 career wins as he steadily approaches the century mark.

“These guys are excited to get their shot,” Kealy said. “For most of them, this is their first time in the starting lineup. They’ve been waiting and looking forward to it.”

“We bust our butts off in the wrestling room and we have an extremely young team this year,” Joyce said. “A lot of the guys are inexperienced, first-year wrestlers and Coach [Kealy] is just getting us out to tournaments. He’s making sure these kids are wrestling and getting matches to get them some experience so that when they come back they’ll be stronger.”

And Kealy knows that having a presence like Joyce on the team is only a benefit to his young group.

“You really need those upper level guys in the room to bring everybody up to speed,” Kealy said. “He’s one of those guys and you’ve got to have him around because it helps pick everybody up.”

The Falcons swept the 2014 Ghost Town Duals, winning all five of their matches, including a 45-33 victory over West Chester Henderson in the championship round, but couldn’t quite duplicate last year’s showing at this year’s iteration of the tournament.

Pennsbury finished the 10-team 2015 tournament in sixth place after going 2-2 in bracket play and suffering a 48-25 loss to Quakertown in the fifth place match, bringing the Falcons’ record to 2-3 to start the season.

Pennsbury started off the day on a bit of a sour note, dropping their first bout to eventual silver medalists Spring-Ford by a score of 49-18 and following up with a 48-32 loss to Hatboro-Horsham.

Nevertheless, the Falcons battled back and steadily improved in their next two matches with a close 42-39 victory over Northeast and a runaway 54-30 tally over Wissahickon.

Against Northeast, Pennsbury pinned in 7 of the first 13 matches, taking a 42-36 edge into the final bout, where sophomore Mark Hertkorn found himself trailing Vikings junior 120-pounder Elias Melendez 4-2 in the third period.

Although Melendez walked away with a 6-2 decision, Hertkorn had preserved the Falcons’ victory against Northeast. Had Melendez successfully pinned Hertkorn at any point during their match, Northeast would have tied the bout at 42, which would have required a tie-breaker to determine the winner.

For the meet, Hertkorn went 3-2, pinning Wissahickon’s Pete Sweeney and nipping Quakertown’s Trent Neilson in the final match of the day.

Some of Pennsbury’s best wrestling of the all-day affair came from two of their heavyweights – Scott Diethorne and Simeon Appleton – when they took on the Trojans in the final match of bracket play.

Diethorne, a junior, had his hands full with Trojans 220-pound freshman Mark Thompson. Diethorne overcame some early struggles and escaped a near fall in the first round with a nifty reversal before turning the tables and pinning Thompson seconds later.

The 285-pound Appleton – visibly exhausted after grappling with Wissahickon’s Baba Ige – for nearly three full rounds – pinned the senior midway through the third period and earned his first victory of the season and of his varsity career in the process. The victory prompted the freshman wrestler to pound his chest and let out a roar of excitement after the hard fought match.

“We’re actually very pleased with our performance,” Kealy said. “The fact that we’re battling and hanging with Spring-Ford and Hatboro-Horsham, I’m happy with that. They’re a young squad. We lost a lot of starters last year and they’re filling it in. There’s nowhere to go but up from here.”

Wrestlers stepping up for the Falcons included Spencer Hickman, who after finding himself on the wrong side of a fall against Spring-Ford 160-pounder Davis Wheeler, pinned in his last three bouts all in the first period.

Sophomore Antonio Martoccio also went 4-1, winning by pin in three of his triumphs. The 113-pound sophomore, who earned league, district and regional medals and went to states last season, is 6-1 so far this fall, with his only loss coming in overtime at the hands of Spring-Ford sophomore Brandon Meredith.

In addition to Hertkorn, Pennsbury grapplers recording three wins at Ghost Town included Diethorne, junior Connor Gowton (170/182) and senior Zack Clarke (152/160). Sophomores Nick Visco (106) and Shaun Peel (145/152) won two bouts, apiece.

Joyce, Peel, Hickman and Diethorne were winners vs. their Spring-Ford opponents. Martoccio, Hertkorn, Joyce, Clarke, Gowton and Visco defeated their Hatboro-Horsham foes. Martoccio, Hertkorn, Joyce, Hickman and Gowton were winners vs. Quakertown.

The Falcons open their league season Dec. 16 when they host William Tennent before traveling to Council Rock North on Dec. 23.

Spring-Ford 49, Pennsbury 18

106 – Anthony Kostusiak (S) pinned Nicholas Visco, 1:12

113 – Brandon Meredith (S) dec. Antonio Martoccio, 8-6 OT

120 – Dirk Nugent (S) dec. Mark Hertkorn, 6-4

126 – Connor Joyce (P) dec. Hunter Mitch, 2-1

132 – Jimmy Frank (S) tech. fall Nate Smith, 16-0

138 – Oscar Granese (S) pinned Ethan Norris, 1:43

145 – Shaun Peel (P) dec. Justin DeFrancesco, 9-8

152 – Benjamin D’Arcangelo (S) dec. Zack Clarke, 5-3 OT

160 – Spencer Hickman (P) pinned Jack Files, 0:17

170 – Brett McGill (S) tech. fall Connor Gowton, 17-1

182 – Steven Rice (S) win by forfeit

195 – Tim Moran (S) pinned Patrick Chappell, 2:28

220 – Scott Diethorne (P) pinned Zachary Gulgule, 3:28

285 – Matthew Lepore (S) pinned Simeon Appleton, 2:18

Hatboro-Horsham 48, Pennsbury 32

113 – Antonio Martoccio (P) pinned Evan Palmer, 0:18

120 – Mark Hertkorn (P) maj. dec. Sam Negron, 18-8

126 – Connor Joyce (P) pinned A.J. Vega, 0:55

132 – Nick Giuliani (HH) pinned Nate Smith, 0:55

138 – Eric Biehl (HH) pinned Ethan Norris, 3:17

145 – Brendan Wawrzyniak (HH) pinned Shaun Peel, 1:29

152 – Zack Clarke (P) pinned Austin Jaffe, 0:30

160 – Davis Wheeler (HH) pinned Spencer Hickman, 4:17

170 – Connor Gowton (P) pinned Joseph Hwang, 0:57

182 – Jalen Edwards (HH) pinned Patrick Chappell, 1:31

195 – Nick Chapman (HH) win by forfeit

220 – Nick Schuck (HH) pinned Scott Diethorne, 1:52

285 – Matt Chapman (HH) pinned Simeon Appleton, 0:33

106 – Nicholas Visco (P) maj. dec. Grayson Smith, 12-2

Pennsbury 42, Northeast 39

126 – Connor Joyce (P) pinned Edwin Cruz, 0:23

132 – Antonio Rivera (N) pinned Nate Smith, 3:10

138 – Hassan Ali (N) pinned Nicholas Pollazzi, 0:37

145 – Issac Morales (N) pinned Justin Braim, 1:08

152 – Shaun Peel (P) pinned Kyle Mason, 4:55

160 – Zack Clarke (P) pinned Daniel Moukin, 0:55

170 – Spencer Hickman (P) pinned Carlson Ogere, 1:30

182 – Yusuf Aladinov (N) pinned Connor Gowton, 1:04

195 – Joseph Hub (N) pinned Patrick Chappell, 1:24

220 – Scott Diethorne (P) pinned Dominic Edwards, 2:33

285 – Vincent Stratton (N) pinned Simeon Appleton, 0:18

106 – Nicholas Visco (P) pinned Joe Lombardo, 1:35

113 – Antonio Martoccio (P) pinned Abdul Ali, 0:28

120 – Elias Melendez (N) dec. Mark Hertkorn, 6-2

Pennsbury 54, Wissahickon 30

132 – Nick Prieston (W) pinned Nate Smith, 3:22

138 – Nick Senderling (W) pinned Nicholas Pollazzi, 3:58

145 – Justin Braim (P) pinned Benjamin Maltin, 1:07

152 – Jack Jones (W) pinned Shaun Peel, 3:38

160 – Zack Clarke (P) pinned Benjamin Aon, 0:23

170 – Spencer Hickman (P) pinned Cole Supplee, 1:31

182 – Connor Gowton (P) win by forfeit

195 – Brian Fennell (W) pinned Patrick Chappell, 0:41

220 – Scott Diethorne (P) pinned Mark Thompson, 1:03

285 – Simeon Appleton (P) pinned Baba Ige, 4:46

106 – Charlie Brammer (W) pinned Nicholas Visco, 1:35

113 – Antonio Martoccio (P) win by forfeit

120 – Mark Hertkorn (P) pinned Peter Sweeney, 1:10

126 – Connor Joyce (P) win by forfeit

Quakertown 48, Pennsbury 25

138 – Mike Maquire (Q) maj. dec. Nicholas Pollazzi, 10-2

145 – James Tulio (Q) pinned Shaun Peel, 0:48

152 – Tanner Seislove (Q) dec. Zack Clarke, 7-2

160 – Spencer Hickman (P) pinned Nick Basile (Q), 1:04

170 – Connor Gowton (P) pinned Max Russell, 1:04

182 – Jesse Redmond (Q) pinned Patrick Chappell, 0:46

195 – Nick Bonomo (Q) win by forfeit

220 – Gavin Caroff (Q) pinned Scott Diethorne, 1:27

285 – Justin Correa (Q) pinned Simeon Appleton, 0:59

106 – Josh Stahl (Q) tech. fall Nicholas Visco, 16-0

113 – Antonio Martoccio (P) pinned Corey Cope, 3:41

120 – Mark Hertkorn (P) dec. Trent Nielsen, 10-9

126 – Connor Joyce (P) maj. dec. Daulton Kline, 12-0

132 – Stone Snyder (Q) pinned Nate Smith, 1:33

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