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By Barry Sankey
PHOENIXVILLE — Individual titles by Pat Finn at 220 pounds and Evan Weneck at 152 led the way as Pottsgrove finished second to Annville-Cleona in the Phoenixville Wrestling Invitational Tournament Saturday.
The Falcons, who placed the most wrestlers with 10, scored 126.5 points to trail only Annville-Cleona’s 130. Host Phoenixville finished sixth with 95.5 points in the eight-team field.
Jordan Valenteen (195) and freshman Mark Cermanski (126) captured gold medals for the Phantoms.
Twin Valley 120-pounder Daniel Grant garnered the Most Outstanding Wrestler award after winning the weight class on a bye, pin and 7-0 decision over Oley Valley’s Joey Fick in the title match.
At 220, Finn, the top seed, received a bye and then scored falls in 1:49 and 3:38 to earn the sophomore his gold medal.
Weneck, who was also seeded first, won a 14-2 major decision over Radnor’s Addison Hanson and then beat Annville-Cleona’s Tanis Pellegrini, 5-2, in the semifinals and York County Tech’s Camron Stewart, 5-3, in the finals.
“It was very good,” said Weneck. “I am excited. I haven’t had the strongest season so far. I lost a close one last night (Friday).
“That was something that kicked me in the butt so I had to go out and win this thing. I won the major decision and then I won a close match. I wrestled a smart match. So I am really excited about those results.”
Weneck said he used the reinforce bar as his key maneuver during Saturday’s tourney.
“That helped me a lot,” said Weneck. “Those felt good when I was on top. I got some back points and it definitely helped me win this tournament.”
Coach Jeff Madden’s Falcons recorded a team-high 23 victories in the event with eight pins, one technical fall and three major decisions along the way.
Nico Demetrio (132) won a second-place silver medal after a tight 6-5 setback to top-seeded Robert Ritchard of Oley Valley in the finals. Demetrio won a major decision in his first bout and then another decision en route to the finals.
The Falcons also got thirds from Nate Miller (113), Qwhadir Miller (138), Dominic Bridi (160) and fourths from Kylif Underwood (106), Chris DeFrancesco (170), Jared Ludy (182) and Dylan Bryan (195) as far as medalists.
Phoenixville picked up thirds from Garrett Serwatka (106), Henry Hancock (145) and Paul Hossler (220) as well as fourths by Bren Myers (152) and David Rosati (285).
The Phantoms had seven placewinners in all with 18 victories, eight pins, one technical fall and three major decisions.
Phoenixville coach Joe Youngblood was happy with the way the tourney unfolded.
“It went well,” said Youngblood. “This was the first time we had the tournament in our new building and I am definitely pleased with how it went. We had a little slow start, but we finished strong. We had two champions, theree thirds and two fourths so it was a nice day.”
Youngblood said Oley Valley formerly hosted this tournament that was moved from the second week of the season.
“We scooped up five of those teams and then we got Pottsgrove and Radnor to come,” said Youngblood. “It was a pretty nice field with good competition, and the JV (junior varsity) competition was great, too.”
The varsity competition took place on four mats in the main gym while the JVs wrestled on two mats in a back gym.
“Cermanski just keeps going and going,” said Youngblood. “He wrestled a tough kid in the finals. He got the escape point in the second period and then rode him out the way he needed to. It was a great match.”
Cermanski edged Phil Corle of Annville-Cleona in the finals. The Phantom ninth grader open with a fall in 1:21 and then used a 10-2 major decision against Oley Valley’s Eric Wily to advance to the finals.
“It was pretty status quo for Jordan (Valenteen),” said Youngblood. “He rose to the occasion on the big stage. He really did a nice job.”
Cermanski discussed his day on the mats.
“He (Corle) was a senior and he was tough,” said Cermanski. “This was my first high school tournament, but I like wrestling tough kids. I like wrestling kids with different styles. I wrestled all older kids. It (126) is a tough weight class. There are a lot of older kids in it, too.”
Cermanski said the adjustment from middle school wrestling to high school has not been hard thus far. He said he has been prepared for the rigors in the practice room by the coaches and teammates like Trey Romance (132), whom he works out with; and the veteran seniors who have been around the Phoenixville program.
Valenteen enjoyed the day of wrestling at the home school.
“Today was a long day,” said Valenteen. “It was fun, though. I was here with all my friends, the wrestlers on our team and some of my friends who are wrestlers at other schools. I had fun wrestling.
“195 is fun now. It is not bad, but I might go down to 182 (for postseason). It depends. It depends on what is best for me. That is what I will end up doing.”
Valenteen said he is glad to see the Phoenixville program on the rise under Youngblood with a busy practice room with far greater numbers, fewer forfeits at meets and a more positive approach overall with the new facilities part of that new outlook.
“It is different with our own room, and we have a lot of bodies in the wrestling room,” said Valenteen. “That is something coach Youngblood and I have not seen in a long while. Almost all of the weights are full. We are getting there step by step.”