Wrestling Notebook: Owen J. Roberts filling lineup voids despite heavy graduation last season

They were a productive and inspiring trio for Owen J. Roberts last winter, and the two preceding seasons.

The Class of 2015 threesome of Derek Gulotta, Demetri D’Orsaneo and Dominick Petrucelli provided a big spark for the Wildcats during their time at Bucktown. Gulotta — the last person not named Jordan Wood to be selected The Mercury’s Wrestler of the Year — was a four-time state medalist in Class AAA, a feat unmatched in Chester County mat history. D’Orsaneo medalled at states his last two years, and Petrucelli was a two-time state qualifier.

Their graduation from high school last spring left the OJR mat program with voids both in its lineup and its leadership. But the current crop of ‘Cats is filling those gaps in a satisfactory manner.

“It’s difficult to replace that kind of talent,” Roberts head coach Steve DeRafelo said, “but our leadership is nice. We have a large group of seniors who’ve collectively stepped up.”

The older guys have had a positive effect on the younger ones, and on the team as a whole. The Wildcats are currently 8-3 on the year — 4-1 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, good for third place — and among the eight Class teams still in the hunt in the District 1 Duals Tournament.

Their most recent outing, a 49-26 win over Council Rock North in the opening round of district duals, stood in contrast to their previous meeting back in December. In their first go-round during the season-opening Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duals at Boyertown, the Indians pulled out a 36-35 victory that consigned Roberts to the fifth-place match.

Since its 3-2 showing at the Bealer Duals, Roberts has been on a roll of sorts. It’s 5-1 in subsequent dual matches and has produced Top-10 team finishes in the King of the Mountain and Conestoga Valley Holiday Classic staged in December.

“It hasn’t been one guy doing it, either,” DeRafelo said. “We’ve had six, seven, eight different times where someone has stepped up and taken the leadership role.”

Through last week’s schedule, several of Roberts’ seniors have been particularly productive while others are coming more into their own.

Connor Mitchell (19-6) has been steady at 220, and 285-pounder Bill Scherfel (16-9) has been a pinning force, dropping all but two opponents thus far. Stone Bissland (10-7) and Micky Kohn (12-11) have been steady, and Xavier Ferrizzi (2-0) — a state qualifier last year, after winning the District 1-West and Southeast Region 195-pound titles — has returned to the lineup after healing an injury sustained prior to the Bear Duals.

“Bill Scherfel has come a long way … he’s enjoying himself,” DeRafelo noted. “Connor Mitchell is finally growing into himself, which is good for him. And Xavier is working hard to get back on the mats.”

Filling the space at 120/126 vacated by Gulotta has been another senior, Bissland (10-7) and super freshman Dan Mancini (19-6). Though he’s not ready to anoint Mancini the next coming of Gulotta, DeRafelo continues to be impressed with the upside the ninth-grader is showing.

“That’s a tall order,” DeRafelo said of the performance Gulotta turned in: A total of 16 post-season medals, the highest a fourth place at states his junior season. “But Dan’s wrestling well. He’s making improvement and changes in his style.

“I don’t think we’ve seen his best yet. Dan’s not afraid to wrestle anybody, and he knows he’s not gotten to be good enough to be where he wants to be. That’s good for him.”

Roberts boasts other high-powered underclassmen in juniors Ryan and Luke Resnick, a respective 23-5 (.821) and 21-4 (.840) on the year and carrying the team’s highest win percentages; and Nick Duliakas (9-7). To replace D’Orsaneo and Petrucelli in the middle of the lineup, Owen J. has freshmen Cole Meredith (7-4) and Ricky McCutchen along with sophomore Jason Zollers, among others.

“We knew the Resnicks were going to get better,” DeRafelo said. “The middle (lineup) question is we have a lot of guys, but not with varsity experience. 45, 52, 60 … they were definitely question marks. But we’ve had a couple guys who’ve stepped up.

“Ricky McCutchen, Meredith and Zollers are filling in the middle nicely.”

Indications are the ‘Cats have other options for filling out that section of the lineup as they close in on the post-season tournament grind, which starts Feb. 20 with the PAC-10 championships at Boyertown.

“There could be movement in the middle,” DeRafelo said. “We have five guys at the three weights. The question is who’s healthier. We’re looking at different matchups.”

Roberts resumes its schedule Wednesday by hosting Spring-Ford — a pairing that will have considerable impact on second place in the PAC-10 standings. It will then rejoin the 1-AAA field at Upper Dublin this weekend for the district duals, the seventh seeds looking at a quarterfinal match with second-seeded Council Rock South.


They’re a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of Boyertown’s lineup.

That status of Jordan Wood and Tom Killoran is further fortified by their pinning prowess within The Mercury’s coverage area.

The Bear seniors have combined for 35 falls: Wood (27-1) with an area-best 20, Killoran (23-5) one spot back at 15. They lead a pin-packed Boyertown roster that boasts six wrestlers with double figures in falls.

Third place belongs to Upper Perkiomen’s Mike Felix with 14, and Spring-Ford’s Hunter Mitch is fourth at 13.

Behind Wood and Killoran, teammate J.T. Cooley is tied for fifth place with Pottstown’s Ernest McCalvin and Mason Pennypacker, Spring-Ford’s Matt Krieble, Owen J. Roberts’ Connor Mitchell and UP’s Jarek Svanson, all registering 12 falls. Brody O’Connell follows with 11 pins while Gregg Harvey and David Campbell each have 10.

Others who’ve posted 10 falls are OJR’s Dan Mancini and Ryan Resnick, UP’s Jared Kuhns and Pottsgrove’s Chris Quintrell.


And now there are 25.

Jakob Campbell became the latest Boyertown wrestler to reach the 100-win plateau for his scholastic career. The Bears’ junior 113-pounder hit the mark last Thursday, during his team’s 67-6 romp over Unionville in the opening round of the District 1 Duals Tournament.

Campbell followed Boyertown teammate Garrett Mauger, who got his hundred in the course of a win over Methacton the previous week. They join current Bears Gregg Harvey, Jordan Wood and Lucas Miller as active 100-win clubbers this winter.

The next area wrestlers closing on the century mark are Pottstown’s Mason Pennypacker, who had 94 heading into the weekend’s New Oxford Invitational; and Spring-Ford’s Matt Krieble, at 91 following the Rams’ district-duals opener against Neshaminy.


The current senior class of Boyertown’s wrestling team has been touted as perhaps the best in the program’s history.

The numbers give considerable credence to that claim. This year, the six Bears from the Class of 2016 who are lineup regulars — Gregg Harvey, Tom Killoran, Garrett Mauger, Lucas Miller, Brody O’Connell, Jordan Wood — have compiled some strong numbers over the course of their scholastic careers… and that’s with another run of post-season tournaments on the horizon.

  • Six state medals >> Wood had three of them in the Class AAA 220-pound field — a gold medal last season, a pair of silvers the previous two go-rounds — while Harvey, Miller and Killoran have one apiece.
  • Seven medals at the regional level >> Again, Wood heads the list with two gold and one silver; Harvey has two, and Killoran and Miller boast one apiece.
  • 11 district medals >> Harvey and Wood each have three, Miller has two and Killoran, Mauger and O’Connell all have one.
  • 16 medals from the league tournament. >> Harvey, Mauger, Miller, O’Connell and Wood have the “hat trick,” and Killoran rounds out the total.

“They went through the last 14-15 years together,” Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said following the team’s Senior Night celebration, staged in conjunction with its match against Spring-Ford. “They’re a tight-knit group. We knew they’d be special if they stuck together, and it paid off.”

“We started showing our talent in junior-high school, working together and doing national tournaments,” Harvey added. “We’ve seen a big part of us come out, culminating with the group coming together and making each other better.”


With the regular season in the home stretch, and the district duals tournament in the mix, several area teams will be in a frenzied run the next two weeks to keep their respective schedules on track — that due, in part, to last weekend’s blizzard forcing the rescheduling of various events.

Boyertown could be looking at a five-matches-in-five-days run this week. The Bears will close out their PAC-10 slate with back-to-back duals against Pottsgrove Tuesday and Phoenixville Wednesday, then head this weekend to Upper Dublin for the continuation of the District 1 Duals tourney. They could have at least three matches in a bid for a third straight district team championship.

Owen J. Roberts will be looking at a unique situation next Tuesday (Feb. 9): An away-and-away doubleheader. The Wildcats will first go to Pottsgrove for a PAC-10 dual, then get back on the bus and make the short trip to Pottstown for an evening tilt with the Trojans … one billed as the schools’ Take Down Cancer match.

“We’ve never wrestled a team, then got on the bus and gone somewhere else for a match,” head coach Steve DeRafelo noted. “We could be looking at wrestling six to nine duals in a week’s time.”

Add to that their final home date of the regular season, against Pope John Paul II Feb. 10, and it shapes up as a real test of the Wildcats’ stamina.

Pottsgrove, coming into the week with only four PAC matches in the books, has the most catching-up to do. The Falcons will look to cover a big chunk of that this week, hosting Boyertown Tuesday and visiting Methacton Wednesday; they will complete the run Thursday by vising Norristown for a non-leaguer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply