Norristown tops Plymouth Whitemarsh by criteria

WEST NORRITON >> Mark Harner swears he knew exactly what his Norristown High wrestling team needed to do to pull out a win Wednesday night in the Eagles’ season opener against rival Plymouth Whitemarsh.

If it were any other coach there might have been some doubt. But not Harner.

So when Norristown freshman 126-pounder Nick Semon took the mat for the final bout of the evening with the Eagles trailing by six, Harner knew exactly what he needed the freshman to do.

Naturally, he had to win by fall. But Semon also needed to score first, by any means necessary.

Semon, after a minor difficulty, accomplished both aims. And it turned the Eagles into winners.

Although the final score turned out to be 39-39, the Eagles were declared 40-39 victors by means of the PIAA wrestling rulebook’s criteria I – accumulative first points scored.

The win, accomplished in the conference opener, gives the Eagles a leg up on accomplishing their goal of winning the Suburban One League’s American Conference in the school’s final season in the league.

“I knew it immediately after the (Rich) Maggio match (at 170 pounds),” Harner claimed. “I knew we could at least get a tie.

“That’s why those guys who won late in the match had to get the first takedown.”

The Colonials built an early 15-6 lead after four bouts on the strength of falls by Zach Fisher and Ben Billings, but the Eagles quickly tied it behind Mike Johnson’s stick at 160 and Maggio’s decision win at 170.

Mason Hall gave the Eagles a short-lived, 21-15 lead when he won by fall at 182, but PW won the next three bouts – one by fall and two by forfeit – and Norristown was staring up at a 33-21 deficit with four bouts left to be decided.

Eagle Justin Altrogge won by fall at 106 and Grant Rubin did likewise at 113.

That gave Norristown the opportunity to forfeit to the Colonials Marco DiBattista at 120 and put the match in the hands of Semon.

“I didn’t know what criteria it was going to,” said Colonials head coach Justin Giovinco. “I was focused on the match.”

In order to force a tie, however, Semon had to pin at 126.

And he wasn’t off to a flying start in that direction.

“I knew what I had to do, but I had no idea how I would go about it,” Semon said.

What the Eagles coaches wanted Semon to do was employ a cement job against his foe, Mike Clarkson, but Semon was actually going about it incorrectly.

“I was pretty clueless until Coach started talking to me,” Semon said.

Finally with a grasp of the situation and how to go about mastering it, Semon accomplished his goal. And the Eagles bench exploded.

But first, it had to be made official. And after a semi-quick visit to the rulebook, Norristown had its win.

“Half of our lineup has never been varsity,” Giovinco said, “so we knew this was going to be a rebuilding year for us.

“But our kids didn’t show up tonight. They have to buckle up and go for six minutes. Obviously, it sucks to lose, but it’s a good learning experience for us. It will enable us to look at things through a different lens.”

As for the Eagles, they know they’re in first place at the moment, but it doesn’t look like anyone in the SOL American will dominate this year.

“We have holes,” Harner said. “We can lose to anybody on a given night. Every match can go either way.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply