Spring-Ford too much for Souderton in District 1-AAA opener

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Through his first two-plus years as part of the Spring-Ford wrestling program, Brandon Meredith has put together quite an impressive resume as one of the Rams’ premiere lightweights.

A Pioneer Athletic Conference and Southeast AAA Regional champion last winter, he capped his sophomore season with a fourth-place finish at the PIAA Championships in Hershey.

On Thursday night, Meredith kick-started his and his team’s postseason campaign during the Rams’ 55-20 win over Souderton in the opening round of the District 1-AAA Duals at Methacton High School.

“We knew that if we could get it started early, we could get the momentum on our side,” he said. “We’re strong at the top and bottom of our lineup, and a lot of guys in the middle can come up big for us at any time.”

Wrestling at 113, Meredith posted a second-period pin of Souderton’s Connor Crawford to extend the Rams’ early lead to 18-0. Heavyweight Matt Lepore opened up the match with a 20-second pin of Ethan Wardrobe before Quinn Tobin followed with a win by forfeit.

Souderton’s Brandon Bach wrestles Spring-Ford’s Colin Taylor during District Duals Wrestling at Methacton High School January 26, 2017. (Gene Walsh – Digital First Media)

With the win, No. 7 ranked Spring-Ford (13-1) will take on Council Rock South — a 50-10 winner over Oxford — during next Friday’s quarterfinal round at Pottsgrove High School.

Meredith’s junior campaign has been nearly flawless. After dropping a bout during the championship semifinals at the Cumberland Valley Kick-Off to start the season, he’s rattled off 20 consecutive wins, brining his season record to 22-1. Even with all his accomplishments to date, Meredith’s biggest critic is the one in the mirror.

“Even when I win, I want to try and critique myself so I don’t make the same mistakes I made at states last year,” he said. “No matter who I’m up against or what the result is, I’m always trying to find something that I’m doing wrong. I was slow in the beginning of my match tonight — I needed to be more aggressive early on.”

Meredith held a 4-1 advantage through the opening period. That was nothing compared to the second period, though. Meredith had his way with Connor Crawford during the second period, posting a pair of takedowns and a near-fall before getting the slap just 17 seconds before the buzzer sounded.

Behind Lepore and Meredith, Jake Pajovich (132), Michael Gradwell (160) and Chase Smith all posted wins by fall. Jonathan Westlake came up with a thrilling decision over Cole Ragusa at 145 while Ben D’Arcangelo pulled out a 6-2 bout at 152.

“We saw some of those (Souderton) kids up at Manheim earlier this year,” said Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove. “So we knew what we were up against. I thought our kids came out tonight and wrestled really well.”

Souderton earned pins on the shoulders of Brandon Bach (126) and Jack Morgan (195). Harrison Andrade posted an 11-3 major decision at 120 while Connor Trowbridge (138) followed with a 12-4 major decision.

For Souderton head coach Tristan Boyd, the Indians have come an awful long way from where they stood two years ago when they finished 0-7 in the Suburban One League.

“We’re sort of going through those growing pains,” he said. “One of the main things is learning how to pull out the tough bouts and tough matches. It’s all part of the learning process.

“We’re working hard and we feel like we’re getting better every day.”

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