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2018-2019 Reporter/Times Herald Wrestling: North Penn aims for SOL Continental four-peat

North Penn's Patrick O'Neill in action during last season's PIAA Class AAA South East Regional. O'Neill and the Knights are out to win a fourth straight SOL Continental Conference title. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)

The North Penn wrestling team has ruled the Suburban One League Continental Conference the past three seasons. But this year’s SOL realignment will make a four-peat an even tougher task for the Knights as two-time defending SOL American champ Quakertown is back in the Continental.

“A team goal every year is to win our league championship,” North Penn coach Robert Shettsline said. “This won’t be easy especially with Quakertown now back in our league. We also want to compete at district duals and qualify multiple wrestlers for the state championship tournament.”

North Penn has not dropped a conference dual meet the past three seasons — a run of 19 straight wins — while Quakertown has racked up 19 straight dual victories since losing a Continental matchup with Pennridge in 2016. NP and the Panthers meet Jan. 16 at Quakertown.

The Knights have a new group of heavyweights but are strong in the light and middle weights, returning Bloomsburg commit Patrick O’Neill, the senior taking seventh at 160 pound in his first trip to the PIAA Championships last season.

Souderton and Pennridge will see if they can push into the SOL Continental title race. The Indians return a pair of state qualifiers in seniors Tyler Williams — sixth-place in 132 at Hershey — and Bruno Stolfi. The Rams graduated PIAA champ Josh Stillings but does have state qualifier Evan Widing back in its lineup.

“Our league is always tough especially with Quakertown back in the Continental but we should be in the mix with everyone this season,” Souderton coach Tristan Boyd said.

With Quakertown in the Continental, the American is left with a void at the top with Hatboro-Horsham and Plymouth Whitemarsh — which finished second and third, respectively, in the conference last season — along with Wissahickon all have an eye on claiming the conference title.

In the always tough Pioneer Athletic Conference, Methacton will try to contend in the Liberty Division with a three wrestlers that reaches states last year — Tonee Ellis, Kibwe McNair and Roman Moser.

Germantown Academy is set on building off taking 12th place at the 2018 Prep Nationals that included a fourth-place finish by junior Christopher Kim at 106.

In the Philadelphia Catholic League, Archbishop Wood has a solid returning group while also asking a few freshman to make an immediate impact as the Vikings look to repeat last year’s success after claiming the league duals crown and took first in the team standings both the PCL and District 12 Championships.

La Salle won just twice last season but a deep Explorers side is looking to bounce back under first-year coach Benjamin. Courtney.

District 1 Postseason Changes

The the path to Hershey is a bit shorter as league tournaments are no longer the first step in the District 1 postseason. Instead, there will be four district Class 3A tournaments — North at Pottstown, East at Quakertown, South at Interboro, West at West Chester Rustin — with the top four from each advancing to the South East Regional at Souderton.

The East field will consist of 16 Suburban One teams. Souderton will be in the North tournament along with the 11 3A PAC programs.  Cheltenham, PW, Upper and Wissahickon will compete in the South field.

The SOL will still hold conference championship meets, all three taking place Jan. 26 — the American at Wissahickon, Continental at Central Bucks South and National at Truman.

Abington Friends
Coach: Terry McGovern
League: Friends Schools League.
Last Season: 6-8.
Key Losses: Sydney Smith, Tommy Yick.
Top Returners: Cole Lewis (Jr.), Clay Lewis (Fr.).
Outlook: Cole Lewis, a Prep Nationals qualifier, and Clay Lewis, who qualified for the PAISAA tournament as an eighth grader, lead a young Kangaroo side.
“Team is very young and very green, this year is a rebuilding year, lost a lot of good wrestlers from injuries and other situations at the beginning of the season,” McGovern said. “We have a lot of really tough tournaments including Beast of the East on our schedule this year to get the guys a lot of experience for the post season. Dual tournaments are going to be hard to win this year with small numbers.”

Academy of the New Church
Coach: Eyvind Boyesen (25th season).
League: Friends Schools League.
Last Season: 8-12.
Key Losses: Gannon Blair, Derek Cronlund, Ethan Timbers.
Top Returners: Joe Dybalski (Sr., 220), Winston Roth (Sr., 152), Jordan Wilson (Jr., 138), Matt Thygeson (Sr., 170), Sean McCurdy (Jr., 195).
Others to Watch: George Boulajeris (Jr., 132), Caden Simons (Jr., 285), Nick Weinstein (Fr., 120).
Outlook: “With a good nucleus of returning wrestlers and a team of 30 participants, ANC should fair very well in dual meets and look to challenge for a Friends League Championship,” Boyesen said. “Joe Dybalski, a National Prep Qualifier last season, should fair well and looks to compete again at the National Preps.”

Archbishop Wood
Coach: Chris Meister (fourth season).
League: Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division.
Last Season: 12-4 (3-0 division).
Key Losses: Tommy Hooven, Max Shaffer, Matt Palage, Stephen Veneziale.
Top Returners: Kevin Baker (Jr., 120/126), Talon Pisarchuk (So., 145/152), Zac St. Thomas (Sr., 152/160), Billy Grace (Sr., 182/195), Liam Jones (170/182).
Others to Watch: David McDonough (Fr., 113), Connor Eck (So., 126/132), Nolan Cataldi (Fr., 145/152), Quinn Collins (Fr., 170/182).
Outlook: The Vikings are looking to repeat the success of last season’s squad — winning the PCL Duals title, taking first at both PCL and District 12 Championships — with a side that has both youth and experience.
Bensalem transfer Eck — who made the South East Regional last year — is expected to anchor the light weights, which may feature three freshman at 106, 113 and 120. Wood’s strength in at the middle weights with Pisarchuk, who qualified for the Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals in the offseason, and captains St. Thomas, Grace and Jones — who all advanced to North East Regionals in 2018.
Freshmen Cataldi and Collins are also expected to contribute in the middle weights. Wood took a hit at the heavyweights with Charlie Mininger (195/220) and Joe Kelly (285) both out for the year with leg injuries that occurred during the football season.

Central Bucks West
Coach: Steve Romesburg (seventh season).
League: Suburban One League Continental Conference.
Last Season: 3-7 (2-4 conference).
Key Losses: Andrew Soto, Spencer Piligian, Harrison Radovich.
Top Returners: Chris Cleland (So., 113), Ryan Hiber (Sr. 220), Jake Tosti (Sr. 120).
Others to Watch: Teague McCormack (Fr., 106), CJ Waller (Fr., 125), Carl DiGiorgio (Fr., 195).
Outlook: The young Bucks aren’t big in number, but they do return a pair of regional qualifiers in Cleland and Hieber while Tosti reached districts last year.
CB West may still lack some numbers, but all of its wrestlers will be ready to do battle,” Romesburg said. “With a young group and a team with a few vacancies, the team looks to gain valuable experience as the season presses on. Anchored by two seniors, Ryan Hieber (220 lbs.) and Jake Tosti (120 lbs.), the rest of the team will need to do their job and get a few pins along the way to help achieve a win.”

Germantown Academy
Coach: Solomon Fleckman (third season).
League: Inter-Academic League.
Key Losses: Brandon Seidman, Patrick Salmon, Ben Sawyer, Andrew Sandifer
Top Returners: Christopher Kim (Jr.), Mark Fasciocco (Sr.), Jamie McGrath (So.), Sami Cerebe (So.), Christian Coleman (So.).
Outlook: The Patriots graduated two of their three Prep Nationals medalists (Salmon and Seideman) but GA’s third, Kim, took fourth at 106 – the program’s highest finisher at the meet since 2012.
Senior Fasciocco and sophomores Cereb, Coleman and McGrath return to the GA lineup after all qualified for Prep Nationals last season.

Coach: Trenton Mongillo (second season).
League: SOL American Conference.
Last Season: 12-9 (6-1 conference), lost to Downingtown West in District 1-3A Duals first round.
Key Losses: Nick Chapman, Sammy Negron.
Top Returners: Alanna Barberio (So., 113), AJ Vegas (Sr., 138), Davis Wheeler (Sr., 145), CJ Grier (Jr., 182), Logan Flynn (Jr., 195).
Others to Watch: Sam Smith (So., 126), Russell Lilly (Fr., 132), Hunter Long (Fr., 145).
Outlook: The Hatters finished second in the American last season and will try to make a push to the top with a lineup that includes district qualifiers Flynn, Grier, Vegas and Wheeler.
“HH looks to be competitive this season as a team and individually,” Mongillo said. “We want to win the American (Conference) title, qualify for District Duals, and win.
“We have a full lineup, with experienced and versatile wrestlers and a large team with over 40 wrestlers in the room.”

La Salle
Coach: Benjamin Courtney (first season).
League: PCL Red Division
Last Season: 2-12 (1-3 division)
Key Losses: Garrett Zobel.
Top Returners: Jimmy Podraza (Sr., 132), Luke Lotsis (Sr., 138), Nate Williamson (Sr., 182), Dillon Trainer (Jr., 220).
Others to Watch: Leland Mersky (Sr., 285).
Outlook: La Salle is looking for a bounce-back campaign in its first season under Courtney. The Explorers are young — and also graduated Zobel, a two-time state medalist — but with more than 40 wrestlers on the roster they have a deep lineup aiming to contend in the PCL. As a sophomore, Trainer advanced to the North East Regionals at 220.

Coach: Brad Clark (second season)
League: Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division.
Last Season: 11-10 (2-3), lost to Council Rock South District 1-3A Duals first round.
Key Losses: Michael Blakemore.
Top Returners: Tonee Ellis (Sr.), Kibwe McNair (Jr.), Roman Moser (Jr.), Corey Morabito (Sr.), Jorge Carmona (Sr.), William Rebert (Sr.).
Outlook: With a trio of returning state qualifiers — Ellis, McNair and Moser — the Warriors look to battle with usual District 1 heavyweights Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford in the PAC Liberty.

Coach: Mark Harner
League: PAC Liberty Division.
Last Season: 4-11 (0-5 division).
Key Losses: Rick Bregenzer, Rich Maggio
Top Returners: Nick Semon (Sr.), Sean Cawley (Jr.) Marvins Ravix (Jr.), Lakine Wallace (Sr.).
Others to Watch: Isaiah Tucker (Jr.), Kenya Spence (Jr.).
Outlook: The Eagles look to breakthrough in the always tough PAC Liberty. Semon advanced to regionals in 2018 after taking fourth at the District 1-3A Central tournament.

North Penn
Coach: Robert Shettsline (25th season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
Last Season: 12-5 (6-0 conference), lost to West Chester Henderson District 1-3A Duals first round
Key Losses: Erik Laughlin (knee injury), Ryan Cody (eight place PIAAs, 285), Reid Dentner, Garret Quallet, Dan Sibel, Owen Verespy.
Top Returners: Patrick O’Neill (Sr., 160), Nophir Harrell (So., 132), Alec Schrum (Jr., 138), Eddie Galang (So., 113/120), Mehedi Hasan (Sr., 145), Jarret Niedosik (Jr., 170), Jabez Chae (Jr., 120).
Others to Watch: Will Marrow (Fr., 126).
Outlook: The Knights’ run at a fourth-straight Continental crown has some hurdles with NP replacing its upper weights and two-time American champ Quakertown now in the conference. But North Penn has a strong group in the light and middle weights led by Bloomsburg commit O’Neill, who last season at 160 won the South East Regional title and took seventh at states. Schrum, Hasan and Niedosik all qualified for districts last season.

Coach: JT Smith (first season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
Last Season: 5-5 (3-3 conference).
Key Losses: Josh Stillings, David Blanchard, Michael Beljan.
Top Returners: Evan Widing (Sr.), Jadin Bass (Sr.) Logan Green (Jr.)
Outlook: Stillings is now at Drexel after earning the Rams’ first state gold since 2005 but there’s still a solid group at Pennridge for first-year coach Smith. Widing won a pair of matches at the PIAA Championships last season while both Bass and Green were regional qualifiers after earning silvers at District 1-3A East.

Perkiomen Valley
Coach: Jared Dubbs (fifth season).
League: PAC Liberty Division.
Last Season: 10-7 (1-4), lost to Spring-Ford in District 1-3A Duals first round.
Key Losses: Willie Mathis, Cody Jefferies, Jahir Holmes.
Top Returners: PJ Kakos (Jr., 126), Austin Rowley (Sr., 152), Stephen Coleman (Sr., 132).
Others to Watch: Riley Kershaw (Sr., 145), Jakob Sterling (Jr., 220).
Outlook: “We are carrying a large team with varying amounts of experience,” Dubbs said. “We look to have a strong season and be competitive within the PAC. We have some returning wrestlers that can do very well and hope to wind up in Hershey this year.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh
Coach: David Luthy (second season).
League: SOL American Conference.
Last Season: 9-6 (5-2 conference).
Key Losses: Marco DiBattista, Zach Fisher, Scotty Horry, Warren Young.
Top Returners: Paolo DiSanot (Jr., 220/285), Isaac Avellino (Sr., 145), Michael Clarkson (Sr., 152), Dylan Moore (Sr., 106), David Garcia (Sr., 195).
Others to Watch: Mike Miller (Fr., 220/285), Steven Foster (Jr., 113), Jake Ginesin (So., 160), Jake Bainbridge (So., 126).
Outlook: The Colonials should be among the teams vying to top spot in the American after defending champ Quakertown is now in the Continental. DiSanto earned his first state appearance as a sophomore by taking regional bronze in 285.
“This season the Colonials will need to look to new faces to fill holes left by the outgoing seniors that have been a staple for their lineup for several years,” Luthy said.” This year the Colonials will be a younger team but do not let their youth fool you as they will be very competitive in the Suburban One American League.”

Coach: Tristan Boyd (eighth season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
Last Season: 6-10 (4-2 conference).
Key Losses: Harrison Andrade (117 career wins).
Top Returners: Tyler Williams (Sr., 138/145), Bruno Stolfi (Sr., 195), Connor Trowbridge (145/152).
Outlook: The Indians look to stay among the top sides in the Continental after taking third last season. Both Williams and Stolfi advances to states in 2018 with Williams leaving Hershey with a sixth-place medal in 132. Trowbridge reached regionals after taking third at districts.
“We have a lot of seniors this season with the capability to do well,” Boyd said. “Tyler is a returning PA 6th and Bruno lost in the blood round at states. Several other seniors including Connor, Brydon Bateman, Spenser Haslam and Dean Taipale should do well this season provided we stay healthy through a tougher than normal schedule. We are adding some good youth this season as well.”

Upper Merion
Coach: Tim Harner (second season).
League: PAC Frontier Division.
Last Season: 2-12 (1-4 division).
Key Losses: Anthony Yacovetti (regional qualifier)
Top Returners: Faith (Myers (Sr., 138), Collin Power (So.), Ayden Cheng (So.), Sean Williams (Jr.), Johnathan Baez (So.), Victor Guirard (So.), Manny Salazar (Jr.), Miguel Amor (Jr.)
Others to Watch: David Estock (Fr., 132), Gabe Vamas (138), Eduardo Lazado (152), Jeifer Perez (170), James Shore (220), Treymayne Brown (285).
Outlook: The Vikings continue to rebuild in season No. 2 under Harner with 13 freshmen on the roster, six being looked at to contribute in the varsity lineup. Harner sees a handful of wrestlers making a postseason push including Power, Cheng, Williams and Brown.

Upper Moreland
Coach: John DeFranco (seventh season).
League: SOL American Conference.
Last Season: 6-7 (4-3 conference).
Key Losses: Harry Green.
Top Returners: Austin Zubyk (Sr., 170), Chris Walker (Jr., 138).
Others to Watch: Chris Diaz-Jackson (So., 132), John Richter (Sr., 145).
Outlook: My expectations are always the same, work hard, wrestle tough and continue to improve each week,” DeFranco said. “We start off the season at the Pope John Paul II Invitational Tournament and we’ll see what we have and where we can improve after our first competition. As a team, we’re looking forward Hatboro-Horsham ‘Battle of the Border’ Match.”

Coach: Anthony Stagliano (ninth season).
League: SOL American Conference.
Last Season: 10-16 (3-4 conference).
Key Losses: Nick Senderling, Brayden Druger, Jon Keller.
Top Returners: Charlie Brammer (Sr., 126/132), Peter Sweeney (Sr., 138/145), Brian Fennell (Sr., 195/220), Mark Thompson (Sr., 285).
Others to Watch: Kevin Salmon (Jr., 160/170), Dan Keller (Jr., 182/195).
Outlook: Brammer, Sweeney and Thompson return to the lineup after reaching districts last year as the Trojans are set on contending for the American title and a spot in district duals.

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