EAST ROCKHILL >> Pennridge’s Xavier Dantzler had to try for a headlock throw.
“That’s just kind of my signature,” he said. “And he told me right before that ‘Don’t throw it, don’t throw it,’ and I threw it anyway cause I’m addicted to it.”
Dantzler went for the move in the first period of his 215-pound match with North Penn’s Ruke Walton and connected on it, the move leading to him eventually winning with a pin at 1:25.
“I was just given the chance to go out there, I listened to my coach before the match, said I could beat him and that’s just what I did,” Danztler said.
The pin was the last of seven Wednesday night for the Rams wrestling team in their Suburban One League Colonial Division with visiting North Penn. Dantzler’s victory, along with a decision by Gio Iadonisi earlier at 152 had Pennridge seniors going 2-for-2 on Senior Night as the Rams rolled to a 55-12 win over the Knights.
“Senior Night, you want these kids to go out, wrestle their best match, hopefully like you said, get a fall if not just wrestle an exciting match for the crowd,” Pennridge coach Brian Kuhns said. “And both of ‘em stood up to the challenge and just really exciting when I’ve had Gio and Xavier, I’ve coached them in random sports since they were 6 years old. So little bittersweet that they’re seniors, reminds me of how old I am.”
After starting the meet with a forfeit victory at 107, the Rams (12-2, 2-0 division) won the four next matches by pin, junior Blaze Lewis capping the run with a fall in 4:21 for his first varsity victory after trailing Braedyn Russell 16-6 after two periods.
“Every win feels good but those type of wins feel special,” Lewis said. “They’re definitely special.”
As with Dantzler, Lewis turned the match in his favor with a headlock throw, hitting it the early moments of the third for the comeback win to put Pennridge up 30-0.
“End of the second period, we got up and he was exhausted,” Lewis said. “I turned to my coaches, they told me to go neutral and he was just exhausted so I tried to hit it and it worked.”
For North Penn (4-4, 0-2), Jaden Stahl at 139 and Brayden Shannon at 160 both won by decision while Devon Pinkett ended the meet with a pin at 285 in 5:04.
“They showed some heart out there and that’s all I asked for tonight,” Knights coach Robert Shettsline said.
North Penn and Pennridge both compete at events this weekend, the Knights wrestling at Souderton’s Big Red Duals Saturday while the Rams head to Council Rock South for Escape the Rock Saturday and Sunday.
“I think it’s a good setup for us going into the postseason, especially team districts is basically a week-and-a-half after that,” Kuhn said. “We’re going to come out of that with a ton of notes on what we know we have to work on. I mean, everybody’s going to get exposed – top, bottom, good, different, whatever, you go to a tournament like that, you know what your weaknesses are right afterwards and you can put that plan together.”
After Stahl gave North Penn its first points Wednesday with an 11-5 decision over Carson Short at 139, Sam Kuhns gave Pennridge its fifth pin, collecting a fall at 145 in 1:53.
Iadonisi extended the Rams’ advantage to 39-6 as he held a 4-3 after a period with William Mayland at 152 before pulling away over the next four minutes to claim an 11-5 decision.
“I was really nervous going into it,” Iadonisi said. “But I just went out there, wrestled like I had been ever since I was young and ended on a good note.”
Iadonisi – who last year took sixth in 145 at the District 1-3A East Tournament – has won his last seven matches, including four last Saturday at the Line Mountain Duals, to stand 12-5 on the season.
“I’ve been shooting a lot better,” he said. “So that’s something I’ll continue doing and then just improve on it.”
A 6-3 decision by NP’s Shannon over Jack Rowe made it 39-6 before the Rams ripped off another three wins.
Talan Hogan built a 14-4 lead after two periods and earned a 20-7 major decision over Quinton Laughlin at 172. Ryan Rowe recorded a pin in 1:49 with Dantzler adding another first-period fall.
“We were working hard the past two weeks, getting ready for Escape the Rock,” Iadonisi said. “And we’re hoping we can do as good as we’ve been practicing.”
Cole Coffin picked up Pennridge’s first pin in 41 seconds at 114 while Danny Metzler made it 18-0 Rams as he won by fall in 3:53 at 121.
Anthony Granite’s pin in 2:26 at 127 increased the margin to 24. At 133, Lewis trailed 11-3 after the first period and was down 10 entering the third but flipped the match with his headlock throw.
“He pulled that out in the dead-right situation in the match and it worked out,” Brian Kuhns said. “So really exciting to see these guys really using what we’re showing every day in the room and using it correctly.”
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