Campbell, Jones lead Boyertown to fifth at Escape The Rock

HOLLAND >> Getting back on the medal podium gave Jakob Campbell a good feeling.

Even if the step the Boyertown senior earned wasn’t up to his expectations.

Campbell scored a third-place finish in the 132-pound weight class at the Escape The Rock Tournament Sunday. Having made a similar finish two years ago – albeit at 106 – the Boyertown senior was happy to be back in medal contention at the prestigious mid-January competition hosted by Council Rock South.

“I was dealing with injuries last year,” he said of his absence from the 2016 tourney. “This is always a good tournament. It (finish) is obviously not where I wanted to be.”

Campbell’s third-place outing, and a similar one by teammate Elijah Jones led Boyertown’s charge. The Bears had six wrestlers reach the medal stand … a showing that helped the team place fifth in the 48-school field.

Campbell was solid through the quarterfinal round, with a first-period pin to his credit. The effort came a bit untracked in the semifinal round, though, in an 8-1 loss to Northampton’s K.J. Fenstermacher.

Boyertown’s Hunter Vogels lifts Huntingdon’s Seth Baney during a 3-2 loss in the 160-pound seventh-place bout. (Nate Heckenberger – For DFM)

But he responded with a 10-2 major decision of Canon-McMillan’s Matt Oblock. He was then awarded third place when his medal-round opponent, Hanover Park’s Lou Raino, was disqualified for a slam.

“When I lost the semifinal, I saw a couple things I needed to work on,” Jakob recalled. “That woke me up and made me realize there was work to do.”

One task for his immediate future is to drop down to the next-lowest weight class (128). A 113-pounder his junior year, Campbell went up three weight classes to start the 2016-17 season.

“It’s been nice to be able to eat,” he said, citing a “natural growth spurt” as part of the reason for the increase. “Going down to 128 is more my size.
“My focus coming into the season was to get better wrestling. When the season came around, I planned to work on my weight.”

A third-place finish at the Rock suited Jones just fine, too … but for compelling reasons of his own.

“The first time here, I went 0-2,” he recalled. “The second time, I lost in the ‘blood’ (medal-qualifying) round.”

Jones avoided that fate this time, going 6-1 in the 182-pound bracket. His lone loss was a technical fall to Michael Beard, a nationally-ranked wrestler from Malvern Prep.

“He’s definitely good,” the Boyertown junior said of Beard, who went on to win the bracket and be named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

But Jones effected quite a recovery from that lone setback. He blanked his next two opponents – Chance Rayhart of Big Spring, L.J. Castellano of Delbarton – by identical 3-1 scores, then received a pass to the medal round when his consolation-semifinal opponent, Dominic Mainiero of Queen of Peace, had to forfeit for medical reasons.

In the bracket’s third-place bout, Jones saw South Philadelphia’s Miles Lee cut his early lead to 3-2 in the third period. But an escape gave him enough cushion to score the win.

“I went out in the match trying to stay focused, even in the third period,” he recalled. “I wanted to stay with my shots.”

“Elijah works his butt off,” Ventresca added. “He deserves all the credit for the time and effort he puts in.”

Matt Wilde also put himself in position to finish third at 113, but that bid was thwarted by a 1-0 loss to Belle Vernon’s Jacob Dunlap. Wilde had rallied from a early-round 2-1 loss to Malvern Prep’s Shane Hanson-Ashworth with decision victories over North Allegheny’s Jacob Dowling (9-2), Northampton’s Logan Ninos (10-2 major) and Hanover Park’s Dom Difrancesantonio (2-1).

Owen J. Roberts’ showing at the Rock centered on brothers Ryan and Luke Resnick. They emerged as the Wildcats’ lone medalists for the weekend, Ryan fourth at 160 and Luke seventh at 120.

Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Resnick comes up empty on a shot attempt against Belle Vernon’s Zach Hartman in a 4-2 loss in the 160-pound consolation final. (Nate Heckenberger – For DFM)

But head coach Steve DeRafelo was quick to note there was more to his team’s showing this weekend than just the Resnicks.

“Alejandro Acosta (285) and Daniel Mancini (145) both made it to the ‘blood’ round,” he noted. “Cole Meredith (138) had a couple of good matches – he ran into the sixth seed and had a good match – and Jason Zollers (170) wrestled as good as I’ve ever seen.”

Ryan pinned his way through the early rounds before blanking Huntingdon’s Seth Baney, 3-0. His unbeaten run ended in the semifinal round, though, in a 5-2 decision to North Allegheny’s Eric Hong.

He came back with a solid 8-1 decision of Paulboro’s Santino Morina to qualify for the third-place bout, where Belle Vernon’s Zachary Hartman scored a 4-2 win.

Luke Resnick rallied from a 3-0 loss to Canon-McMillan’s Logan Macri with a 2-0 decision of St. Christopher’s Connor Alexander in their medal bout.

“Sometimes it’s hard this time of year to take steps in the right direction,” DeRafelo said. “Fortunately, we weathered the storm and became tougher because of it.”

Boyertown’s Chris Berry ended up fifth at 152 when his opponent, Rock South’s Riley Palmer, was forced to forfeit the bout for medical reasons. Berry had advanced to the semifinal round before being nipped by Athens’ Kaidon Winters, 2-0.

David Campbell reached the medal stand with his sixth-place finish at 126. He was blanked by Paulsboro’s Anthony Duca, 5-0, after a previous 5-4 decision of Oscar Smith’s Trevon Majette.

Hunter Vogels placed eighth at 160 following a 3-2 loss to Huntington’s Seth Baney. The Boyertown senior, who went 3-3 at the Rock, was coming off another close 3-1 loss to Paulsboro’s Santino Morina in his previous bout.

“Overall, I think we performed well,” Ventresca said. “Some of our younger guys had tough draws. Our guys who are veterans really steapped up in the face of great competition.

“We’re always looking for improvement in every aspect. We’ll look and see where we improved.”

NOTES >> This year’s ETR tournament was conducted in memory of Jimmy Vollrath, a 2009 Council Rock South graduate and two-time PIAA qualifier during his time in the Golden Hawk mat progran. Vollrath, who went on to wrestle at Penn State, fell victim to cancer this past year. … The championship round started with the 132-pound weight class. … The wrestlers finishing second through fourth in the various weight classes were presented plaques, with those placing fifth through eighth got medals. The champions, of course, received the gaudy championship belts for which the tournament has been renowned. … Malvern Prep, with two individual champions and runners-up, was the team champion with 164 points. Boyertown’s fifth-place point total was 97. … Big Spring’s Britain Shields, with four falls at 170, was recognized as the top pinner. … Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts will be in the thick of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s divisional schedule Wednesday. The Bears host Methacton, and the Wildcats Perkiomen Valley, on the first full night of divisional competition this season.

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