Lower Bucks wrestlers advance in South East Region Tournament (VIDEO)

SOUDERTON – The seconds were winding down in the third period and Neshaminy senior Kyle Osterhoudt was holding on to a precarious 3-1 lead in the opening bout of the South East Region Class AAA wrestling tournament. Ridley heavyweight John Sheldon desperately needed a takedown to deadlock the score to send the duel to overtime so he took a chance.

Osterhoudt turned the tables on the Ridley wrestler however, getting a takedown and then the pin to advance to the tournament semifinals Saturday at Souderton High School.

“I knew he was going to try to latch onto me there, so I let him get into it,” said Osterhoudt. “Then, I turned my hips so he’d fall, got my two (points) and pinned him.”

While the Skins’ 285-pounder has over 20 pins this season including a win by fall over Bensalem heavyweight Nick Cooper in the Suburban One National League (SONL) Championships, he says he was surprised when the pin presented itself at regionals.

“I thought I was going to beat him by points so the pin was icing on the cake, for me,” said Osterhoudt.

“At this level, it’s hard to get somebody pinned; winning by one – the only thing that matters is advancing,” added Neshaminy head coach Mike Stewart. “The kid made a mistake and he took advantage of it.”

After entering regionals as a fourth-place winner in districts last season, Osterhoudt is in a much better spot this time around, coming into the tourney a district runner-up as first- and second-place winners earn automatic berths into the regional quarterfinals.

With his win over Sheldon using his 21st pin of the season, Osterhoudt advanced to a semifinal bout with Avon Grove senior Josh Walls, a 3-2 winner over Bensalem senior Nick Cooper.

“It’s really exciting and I’m happy to be back this year,” said Osterhoudt. “It’s a great way to finish out my senior year. Hopefully, I’ll continue on and go to states.”

One factor working in Osterhoudt’s favor is the fact that the top five wrestlers from the region earn PIAA berths. Only the top four got to go to states last year.

Garnet Valley senior Cary Palmer, right, posted an 8-3 decision win over Garnet Valley senior Nick Puliti to reach the South East Region Class AAA 138-pound semifinals today at Souderton High School. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

Another senior grappler hoping to make states is Council Rock North 120-pounder Aidan Burke. The way his final campaign on the mat was panning out, Burke feels fortunate to be moving on.

A wrestler with over 100 wins for the Indians, Burke – who is committed to Mercyhurst – lost time early in the season with a concussion then suffered a high ankle sprain in the Escape The Rock tournament.

“It’s been hard; I feel like with my head and then my ankle, it’s just been a rough year,” said Burke. “It’s great to be back.”

For a while, there was concern that Burke might not make his way back in time to compete in the postseason. But Aidan shrugged off the injuries, got his 99th win in the Rock’s last dual meet at Truman before reaching the century mark with a tech-fall win in the SONL semifinals.

At districts, he dropped a 7-1 decision to Pennridge senior and District One 120-pound champion Matt Parker before wrestling his way back with a major decision over William Tennent sophomore Anthony Colella and a 2-0 win over Souderton junior Harrison Andrade.

As the third-place winner in districts, that meant Burke had to win twice on the first day at regionals and he did just that. After pinning West Chester East freshman Jamison Eadie in 1:24, Aidan earned a 7-3 decision over Boyertown senior David Campbell.

Both put the CR North senior in the 120-pound regional semifinal facing West Chester Henderson senior Jacob Reid.

Working the mat at 106 pounds this season for the Indians, freshman Luke Lucerne advanced to the semifinals with a major decision win over West Chester East sophomore Corey Celenza.

While they won their opening bouts, CR North senior Nick Nucero (152) and freshman Cam Robinson (132) dropped decisions in quarterfinals and must wrestle their way back in the tournament. Junior Shane Thompson, this year’s 113-pound D-1 champ, also dropped a decision in regional quarters.

Two others for the Rock including junior Jacob Shalinsky (138) and freshman Dillon Sheehy (145) also fell to wrestle-backs with the ninth-grader getting nipped 8-7 by Cheltenham senior August Gershwin.

Meanwhile, CR South advanced five wrestlers to the semifinals including Max Mendez (106), Zack Trampe (132), Cary Palmer (138), Riley Palmer (145) and Joe Doyle (220).

A two-time state medal winner and the defending regional champ at 132 pounds, Trampe majored Unionville senior Jake Taylor to advance to the semifinals. Doyle, another senior for the Hawks who captured a regional title belt in 2016 and medaled in states last year, took just 1:21 of the clock to pin Spring-Ford senior Taylor LaRoca to advance to the semifinals.

A state medalist and SE Region champion last season at 195 pounds, Council Rock South senior Joe Doyle (top) wants to return to states and win a PIAA title belt this time around at 220. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

Doyle could be headed for a rematch with Upper Darby 220-pounder Brian Kennerly. Big Joe pinned the Royals wrestler to win regionals last year at 195 pounds but lost 6-4 to the Upper Darby senior at the King of the Mountain tournament.

Six others for the Golden Hawks fell to wrestle-backs though sophomores Braden Ricchini (113), L.J. Kahn (152) and Shane Anderson (285) posted wins in the pigtail round before falling in the quarterfinals.

Ricchini pinned Upper Darby sophomore Marcus Mojica before getting teched in the quarters. Kahn blanked Strath Haven senior Devon Moore 7-0 before getting pinned in the second round by Coatesville senior Chase Stephens. And Anderson won a 5-1 decision over Marple-Newtown senior Anthony Goodman before getting pinned in the quarters.

Junior Ben Radner (120) also lost in the quarterfinals after dropping a decision to West Chester Henderson senior Jake Reid. Radner qualified for states as a freshman but could not clear a concussion protocol in time to compete in the 2016 postseason.

Of the four Tigers making it to regionals, only Truman sophomore Gunnar Fuss (126) has advanced to the semifinals. A third-place medalist in 2016, Fuss outpaced Great Valley senior Matt Marino 3-1 in overtime.

The other Tigers fell to wrestle-backs after falling including freshman Dan Baskins (106) though junior Alex Litz (182) and senior Isaiah Goldbold (220) lost by the slimmest of margins in the pigtail round.

Pennsbury’s regional wrestlers Antonio Martoccio (126) and senior Connor Gowton (160) also fell to wrestle-backs, though Martoccio, a state qualifier in 2015, outpaced Downingtown East junior Brett Horne before getting pinned in the quarters by Boyertown senior Jacob Campbell.

Martoccio faces Neshaminy sophomore Jackson Erb in wrestle-backs. After losing to Erb 7-6 during the regular season, Antonio outlasted the Neshaminy wrestler 5-4 in the District 1 third-place matchup.

Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

TOP PHOTO: Neshaminy senior Kyle Osterhoudt, seen here in the District 1 championships on the right, pinned Ridley heavyweight John Sheldon in the PIAA South East Region-AAA quarterfinals Friday night to advance to the tournament semifinals Saturday back at Souderton High School. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media file photo)

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