Veteran Mayes, Pottstown slam Phoenixville

PHOENIXVILLE >> This is Isaiah Mayes’ final go-around as a scholastic wrestler for Pottstown High School. The Trojans’ 170-pounder enjoyed a stellar junior year, and his goal is to close out his senior season with an even better record and post even more achievements during the upcoming postseason tournaments.

As the lone senior on Pottstown’s varsity squad, Mayes has been thrust into a primary leadership position. But according to first-year Pottstown head coach Brad Clark, Mayes has already been a paramount leader on and off the mats for the youthful Trojans this season.

Mayes is leading by example, such as Wednesday evening’s win by fall at 4:23 during Pottstown’s 60-15 victory over Phoenixville in a matchup of Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division squads.

“I am trying to motivate the team,” said Mayes. “They are at the point where things are not going well, but we’re a young team. I am letting them know that when I was a freshman, that is how I started out, and then I won some matches as a junior. Hard work pays off in the end.”

Pottstown’s Caleb Sargent pins Phoenixville’s Bobby Krause during their bout at 113 on Wednesday night. (Barry Sankey – For Digital First Media)

Mayes compiled a 33-12 overall record as a junior while advancing to the Southeast AAA Regional Tournament. This year, the Ithaca College commit has a hefty goal of landing a medal during the PIAA Championships at Hershey in March.

Pottstown improved its record to 2-1 in league matches (6-10 overall) while dropping Phoenixville, another young team, to 1-2 (2-10 overall).

Mayes’ pin was one of eight registered by Pottstown. The other wins by fall came from junior Alex Caballero (132), junior Nate Parson (138), junior Anthony Wiggins (145), freshman Aiden Weber (160), junior Aubrey King (220), freshman Caleb Sargent (113) and freshman Ezra Figueroa (126).

Phoenixville’s Jimmy Hammaker scored a 5-2 decision at 152 to put the Phantoms on the scoreboard after they began the night in an 18-0 hole following three straight Pottstown falls to start the match by Caballero, Parson and Wiggins.

Hammaker and Austin Andrews were locked in a scoreless tie after the first period. Hammaker scored first on a reversal before Andrews matched it with a minute remaining to leave the two wrestlers locked at 2-2 entering the third stanza. Hammaker started in the down position and came up with an escape with 27 seconds left and a subsequent takedown in the closing seconds to score a three-point decision.

“That is two for him and second in a row for a varsity win,” said Phoenixville coach Alec Bown. “There was nothing flashy. He just did his job.”

The Phantoms also got a forfeit win from Bryce Thompson (182) and a first-period pin from Tanner Romance (195). There was a double forfeit in the 106-pound weight class.

Mayes said his practice partner, Weber, in particular, is buying into Pottstown’s philosophy of improving and building for the future.

“He is going to be just as good as me or even better,” said Mayes.

Mayes said wrestling is a sport where the wrestler has to look into himself all the time when you are in the practice room “busting.” But at the same time, he said wrestlers must still try to have fun.

“We want to develop a consistent mindset of improvement every day,” said Clark. “Then you have a chance to develop yourself when you are put in situations you are not used to. That way, when you are in that situation, you can get through it.”

Clark said having Mayes has been like having an added coach on the team. He hopes the younger wrestlers follow Mayes’ lead and daily work ethic so they can gain experience and improve in a similar fashion.

“He (Mayes) has great support around him,” said Clark. “He is 100-percent focused. He is hard-working and dedicated.”

He also added that Mayes is the type of wrestler who makes coaching satisfying and worthwhile.

Clark said he is stressing the mental aspects of wrestling as well as the physical moves during his first season of coaching the Trojans.

“We have kept a consistent pace and want them to wrestle at a high level,” he said. “That’s what we want from these kids.”

Clark, a 2007 Methacton graduate, was a three-time PIAA medalist. He moved on to Liberty University, where he wrestled for three years. Clark served as a Pottstown assistant coach under Jamie Gill in 2011-2012. He then went on to a three-year tenure at Kutztown University as a volunteer assistant coach before taking over for Brad Bechtel as a head coach with the Trojans this winter.

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