Youngsters aid seniors as Boyertown beats Spring-Ford

BOYERTOWN >> It was a time to recognize the senior members of the Boyertown wrestling team.

In keeping with past tradition, the Bears’ 12th-grade grapplers played a predominant role in Wednesday’s match with Spring-Ford. But their underclassmen were more than just spectators to the night’s honorfest, several of them factoring in a dramatic 32-26 victory over the Rams in their last home-mat dual of the season.

Elijah Jones provided the clincher, the junior’s 48-second pin in the 195-pound finale bout giving Boyertown its winning margin in this Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division pairing. It was set up by another Bear youngster: sophomore Jacob Miller, whose 6-3 decision at 182 brought the home team (4-1 PAC, 18-2 overall) all even at 26 after Spring-Ford (2-2, 15-2) took a 26-23 lead off David Pierson’s pin at 170.

“It was quite exciting,” Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said afterward. “We’ve had a great rivalry with Spring-Ford, but this one may take the cake.”

Boyertown sophomore Jacob Miller posted a 6-3 decision at 182. (Jeff Stover – DFM)

Miller, who trailed Jack Files 2-0 after one period, went up 3-2 in the second. His 3-1 edge in the third period laid to rest some thoughts about a possible tie match score and tiebreaking criteria.

Jones knocked those concerns out of the gym with his match-capping pin. It proved a satisfactory cap to a night of honors that included two notable Boyertown mat alumni, Alex Pellicciotti and Jeremy Minich, being entered into the school’s Hall of Fame.

“I knew in the second and third periods I had a better gas tank than he does,” Miller said of Files. “I knew if I kept pushing the pace, either way points would come.”

“That was huge,” Ventresca added. “We needed that, and he came up big. I’m proud of him.”

Boyertown’s senior ranks were bolstered by the return of Jakob and David Campbell from their respective injury and illness issues.

Jakob was seeing his first action after going through concussion protocol since the Jan. 15 “Escape The Rock” Tournament. He celebrated his return with a technical fall at the 5:44 mark of the 132-pound bout, which staked the Bears to a 17-13 lead.

“It’s awesome. I couldn’t wait to be back,” he said. “I practiced for three days, and I knew this was going to be a big match. I was ready to go.”

David, in turn, was dealing with a bug he first contracted one week ago — around the time of the Bears’ 37-33 loss to Owen J. Roberts. His 56-second pin at 126 cut the Rams’ 13-6 lead down to one point (13-12) before classmate Christian Fox followed Jakob’s win with a 10-7 decision of Oscar Granese at 138.

“Wednesday night, I had a 102-degree fever,” he recalled. “Then two days later, I got a stomach bug. It’s unfortunate, but I’m glad to be back healthy.”

Two other Boyertown seniors, Matt Wilde and Hunter Vogels, provided their own moments of productivity and inspiration.

Wilde scored a 9-5 decision of Brandon Meredith at 113, scoring four takedowns against the Ram junior who medalled at states last year. And Vogels, after getting his leg tweaked in the third period of his 160-pound bout with Mike Gradwell, hung tough for an 8-4 decision that gave Boyertown a brief 23-20 lead with three weights to contest.

“Some things happen,” Ventresca said of the situation with Vogels. “I’m proud of him.”

Spring-Ford’s early points came from Matt Lepore’s major decision at 285, Quinn Tobin’s regular verdict at 106 and Dirk Nugent’s first-period pin at 120. The Rams went on to erase Boyertown’s 20-13 lead with Jonathan Westlake scoring an 8-2 decision at 145 and Ben D’Arcangelo’s “major” at 152.

“It’s disappointing,” SF head coach Tim Seislove said. “We knew it was a big match.”

Mike Porreca got Boyertown going at 220, the senior posting a 9-5 decision.

“It was a total team effort,” Ventresca said. “We had guys who stepped up, and others kept fighting. Both teams wrestled great.”

The Bears and Rams now head to Pottsgrove this weekend for the continuation of the District 1 Duals Tournament. They will be joined by fellow PAC members Owen J. Roberts and Methacton in the eight-team run toward the district’s four spots in the PIAA Duals Tournament next week.

“We’re pumped,” Miller said. “This big win, and a big weekend coming up. We’ll try to keep the momentum going.”

NOTES >> Other Boyertown seniors honored pre-match were J.T. Cooley, Chris Berry, Eric Hunsberger, Mason Grohoski and Lauren Haley (manager). … Ventresca and assistant Tony Haley conducted the ceremony recognizing Pellicciotti and Minich. Pellicciotti, a 2010 Boyertown graduate who went on to wrestle at Bucknell University, is the program’s career win leader (170) with 88 pins and three state medals to his credit. Minich, who graduated from Boyertown in 2011, had 138 career wins and 58 falls; he also put together a 29-match win streak his senior season. … Boyertown will be pursuing a fourth straight District 1 Duals team championship this weekend. … Teams heading to Pottsgrove this weekend for District 1-AAA Duals Tournament, joining Owen J. Roberts and Methacton. Looking to qualify for next week’s PIAA Class AAA Duals Tournament at Hershey.

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