Downingtown West holds off Pottstown


DOWNINGTOWN — There is an art to losing in wrestling, and Downingtown West did it to perfection, Saturday, to pull out a hard-fought win.

The Whippets won just six bouts, including two by forfeit, but gave up just six bonus points as they held off Pottstown, 31-30, at home in a non-league dual meet.

Alex Murta (132 pounds) and Cole Zapf (170) secured pins to help West (2-0) to its second win over a Pioneer Athletic Conference team in two days.

“It gives us a great boost and huge for our confidence to win a tight match,” West coach Brad Breese said. “Last year we lost that match every single time. If it came down to someone pulling one out, we lost every time, so this was a great confidence booster.”

West built a 25-3 lead six bouts in, accepting forfeits at 106 and 113, and getting a decision by Chase Hanak (120). Joe Rennie scored a takedown and two near-fall points as time ran out to push the margin to eight to earn a pivotal major decision.

Murta’s second period fall gave the Whippets a 22-point buffer with the big boys of Pottstown (0-2)on deck.

“We talked about it, coming in, scoring bonus points and (West) did a great job wrestling defensively against us,” Pottstown coach Brad Bechtel said. “They kept it to decisions where they needed.”

After a decision by Pottstown’s Conor Benfield (138), returning regional qualifier Logan Pennypacker (145) had a 6-0 lead in the third, but a takedown by West’s Gavin Hale prevented a major decision in a 9-2 final.

At 152, West’s Gio Angelini was down 6-0 in the second, but staved off two-time state qualifier Bryant Wise in the third to lose by decision, 6-2.

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“It was kinda inspiring,” Zapf said. “Kids losing close and coming up big and it gives everyone more energy to do well and get the win.”

Another regional qualifier, Mason Pennypacker (160) was finally able to break through the stingy middle of West’s lineup, finishing off a pin in the second period against freshman Joe Shafer. Zapf came right back, exacting some revenge in the process by decking Saddiq Ibn-Mustafah in the second after losing by fall to him two years ago.

“I kinda felt I had to come up big,” Zapf said. “I had to at least get a major and a pin would be nice, but I put him on his back and knew I had to finish it.”

After missing most of his sophomore season due to injury, Zapf is off to a strong start as one of the leaders of the Whippets.

“We did a good job through the middle to conserve points,” Breese said. “I didn’t expect Shafer to get pinned there, but Cole came back and got the pin. We do expect that from (Zapf). Everyone looks up to him and if he sets the pace, they follow.”

Up 13, West needed a win to clinch it. Instead, Kevin Clements (182) denied Pottstown’s Isaiah Mayes’ attempt at a major with a 7-0 loss. West’s Max Titus (195) pulled off a gutsy effort, managing an escape late in the third to lose, 10-3, once again eliminating a major decision and clinching the meet with a seven-point lead.

“It proves they can stay in the match and we’ve come to expect that with these guys,” Breese said. “They work hard in practice do some of the things they do in practice. A really good example is Chase Hanak against (Bubba) Gephart. I didn’t know if Chase could win that match, and Gephart being a senior, that maturity should’ve got the win, but when Chase finally attacked, good things happened.”

Downingtown West 31, Pottstown 30

285- Zazzi (PT) dec. Giles, 5-3 (0-3)

106- D. Zapf (DW) won by forfeit (6-3)

113- Byers (DW) won by forfeit (12-3)

120- Hanak (DW) dec. Gephart, 9-5 (15-3)

126- Rennie (DW) maj. dec. Parson, 9-1 (19-3)

132- Murta (DW) pinned Ecker, 2:18 (25-3)

138- Benfield (PT) dec. Patchel, 6-2 (25-6)

145- L. Pennypacker (PT) dec. Hale, 9-2 (25-9)

152- Wise (PT) dec. Angelini, 6-2 (25-12)

160- M. Pennypacker (PT) pinned Shafer, 2:42 (25-18)

170- C. Zapf (DW) pinned Ibn-Mustafah, 3:12 (31-18)

182- Mayes (PT) dec. Clements, 7-0 (31-21)

195- McCalvin (PT) dec. Titus, 10-3 (31-24)

220- Diamond (PT) pinned McIntosh, 1:10 (31-30)

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