Downingtown West handles Upper Perk in District 1-AAA opener

WEST CHESTER >> For Downingtown West, the winning began even before the first whistle of the opening bout blew.

The Whippets got the all-important coin flip, setting the stage for their District 1 Class AAA Duals Tournament match with Upper Perkiomen. That gave them the luxury of influencing the pairings for the bouts they wanted.

West also got 12 points from two weight classes the Indians forfeited. That also proved a key to their 49-17 victory over the Indians at West Chester Rustin.

“We got the matches we wanted,” Downingtown head coach Brad Breese said. “And them forfeiting at 182 and 195 gave us extra breathing room.”

That proved to be more than UP could contend with. Coming off Wednesday’s 45-26 win over Pottsgrove — their first match under Jake Engle, named the program’s interim head coach earlier in the week following the resignation of Sam Walters — the Tribe fell by the wayside to go one-and-out in the district’s team tourney.

“I knew they had a tough lineup, especially in the middle,” Engle said. “They came out at the better end.”

The Whippets effectively punched their ticket for the tournament’s quarterfinal phase at Pottsgrove by building a 42-14 lead through the 106-pound bout. That proved insurmountable with only three weight classes left to contest.

“On paper when I figured it out, we’d be strong at the end,” Breese said. “If something were to go wrong, it could have been tight.”

It didn’t, though, with UP’s points coming from four wrestlers: Gavin Marks, Zach Rozanski, Jacob Folk and Mike Modugno.

Upper Perkiomen’s Jacob Folk locks up a cradle on his way to a major decision at 160 pounds.  (Nate Heckenberger – For Digital First Media)

“They all stepped up,” Engle said.

West, the district’s sixth seed, will now face Methacton — a 49-24 winner over Penncrest in first-round duals action at Methacton — in the quarterfinal round. The Warriors came in as the tourney’s third seed.

“We wrestled pretty well,” Breese said. “We had some ups and downs, but the guys responded.”

Upper Perk, in turn, will visit Upper Merion Saturday in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division pairing. Next Wednesday (Feb. 1), they will host a Pope John Paul II squad headed by Tom Hontz — a former longtime UP head coach for whom Engle wrestled during his high-school career.

“It’s going to be emotional against PJP,” Engle said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

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