Downingtown West asserts power, rolls Avon Grove


DOWNINGTOWN — Cole Zapf and his teammates could see this coming a year ago.

After Downingtown West sent five qualifiers to the Southeast Regional tournament, four of which were underclassmen, Zapf and crew knew the future was bright.

The future is here for the Whippets, and by the looks of it, they may be around awhile.

Downingtown West discarded a hobbled Avon Grove, 62-16, in the Ches-Mont League National Division dual meet at home, Wednesday night. While a couple marquee matchups didn’t happen due to injuries, the Whippets’ rising power was on display.

“Last year at the end of the year, when some of our younger guys were getting better, we knew we could be good,” Zapf said. “The beginning of this year with everyone saying we’re the best team in the Ches-Mont, it got in our head a little bit, but we have a tough lineup and together we’re a pretty tough team.”

West (2-0 division, 6-2 overall) was favored in the contest coming in, but the big draw was a potential showdown between Zapf, a returning state qualifier, and Kevin Edwards, a returning sixth-place state medalist for Avon Grove (0-2, 4-5).

Edwards was out, and teammate Nick Barnhart (145) was a late scratch, both with injuries that are not expected to keep either out long.

With just two seniors in the lineup — West senior Gio Angelini (160) was also out with a minor injury — the Whippets rolled up the bonus points, getting pins from Nick Lilley (132), Alex Murta (138), Pat Cusak (152), Chase Meilnick (170), Cole Zapf (195), Doug Zapf (113) and Mitch Byers (120).

Downingtown West’s Maximus Hale maneuvers at 160 pounds. (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

“Once we knew (Edwards and Barnhart) were out we were just looking for guys to push themselves until they couldn’t push anymore,” West coach Brad Breese said. “All in all I’m pretty happy with the way we performed. I would’ve liked to have seen those other matches, but we didn’t and we dealt with it and moved on.”

Down 38-0, Avon Grove finally got on the board when Brayden Peck (182) turned a 4-2 lead over Joe Shafer into a fall midway through the third period. Josh Walls (285) and Jordan Howard (106) added a major decision and another pin, respectively, for the Red Devils.

“We have a lot of young guys and are inexperienced, overall,” Avon Grove coach Frank McCue said. “We wanted them to wrestle hard and compete, regardless of the outcome.”

Avon Grove’s Brayden Peck lifts Downingtown West’s Joe Shafer at 182 pounds. (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

Chase Hanak (126) and Maximus Hale (160) managed major decisions for West, who also accepted a pair of forfeits due to Avon Grove’s injuries.

“This is what we were hoping for,” Breese said. “We have seven juniors wrestling really well, and they all have three years of experience. Knowing we were going to get some freshman help and have a sophomore who does well, and a couple of seniors, we are expecting a good run, not just in the Ches-Mont, but in the region.”

The Whippets still have a ways to go in claiming their first league title since 2008, but it does appear Downingtown East’s run at the top is over after two divisional losses already. West would love to use its rival as a stepping stone next Wednesday when they square off, much like East has done the past five seasons.

“We’re going strong going into East next week,” Cole Zapf said “We have a full week off and we’re looking to finally get a win against them. It’s been too long, but they’re not as good as they’ve been in the past and hopefully we can beat up on them.”

West has two home meets before heading to West Chester Henderson, February 1, in what figures to be for the National Division championship.

Downingtown West 62, Avon Grove 16

126- C. Hanak (DW) maj. dec. Z. Hoferer, 11-0 (4-0)

132- Lilley (DW) pinned Bosio, :20 (10-0)

138- Murta (DW) pinned Beattie, 3:57 (16-0)

145- G. Hale (DW) won by forfeit (22-0)

152- Cusak (DW) pinned A. Hoferer, 2:56 (28-0)

160- M. Hale (DW) maj. dec. C. Peck, 19-6 (32-0)

170- Meilnick (DW) pinned Wasson, 1:36 (38-0)

182- B. Peck (AG) pinned Shafer, 4:57 (38-6)

195- C. Zapf (DW) pinned Jorgenson, :50 (44-6)

220- Madanat (DW) won by forfeit (50-6)

285- Walls (AG) maj. dec. Cook, 10-2  (50-10)

106- Howard (AG) pinned G. Hanak, 1:33 (50-16)

113- D. Zapf (DW) pinned Riddell, :45 (56-16)

120- Byers (DW) pinned Smith, 4:20 (62-16)

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