POTTSTOWN - Two local wrestlers survived the rigors of the two-day Southeast Regional AAA Tournament at Pottstown’s Strom Gymnasium on Feb. 28 and March 1 to advance to the PIAA State Championships March 6-8 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Spring-Ford junior 113-pounder Ryan Hayes placed second for a silver medal, and Perkiomen Valley senior 160-pounder Nick Giangiulio earned a third-place bronze medal at regionals to land berths at states.
Spring-Ford finished fifth in team scoring with 39 points on a day that also saw Pioneer Athletic Conference counterpart Boyertown placed first with 91 pointers and another PAC-10 school, Owen J. Roberts, notch third with 51 counters.
Pennridge came in second with 80.5 markers while Council Rock South finished fourth with 41 to complete the top five schools.
Hayes fell to Owen J. Roberts junior Derek Gulotta, 9-3, in the championship finals in rematches of the PAC-10 and District 1-AAA West tourney finals. It marked the eighth edition of the Hayes-Gulotta confrontation, and Gulotta has won every time, although some of the bouts have been close.
After a scoreless first period, Hayes started in the down postion to start the second period and scored with an escape point. But Gulotta turned the tide with a headlock move that produced a two-point takedown and three-point near fall prior to the end of the second period. Gulotta (33-5) tacked on two more takedowns in the third stanza as well as an escape point while Hayes also managed an escape point.
Still, overall, Hayes (37-7) achieved his goal of earning a trip to Hershey for the state tournament.
“That was my goal, to get to states,” said Hayes. “It came back down that way. I took it to Derek. I did my best, but it just was his match, like last week. I had a good feeling up off of last year and not placing at all to winning and finishing runner-up. Every match he comes up on top. I was more excited before the match because I knew I was going to Hershey.
“My mindset was never down. He got me with the headlock. He capitalizes on my mistakes, but it is close every time.”
In the quarterfinals, Hayes beat Pennsbury sophomore Connor Joyce on a 10-1 major decision. In the semifinals, Hayes decisioned Upper Perkiomen junior Dustin Steffenino, 5-2. Steffenino went on to place third for a bronze medal with a 4-1 verdict against Joyce in the consolation finals. So Steffenino also qualified for states.
Giangiulio won his consolation final match, 4-1, against Downingtown East senior Christian Jarani, who beat Giangiulio in the opening round, 3-0. Giangiulio fought his way through the wrestlebacks with four straight victories to push his record to 35-5 for the year.
First, he decisioned Coatesville’s Zach Dellicompagni, 9-7, in sudden victory. Then came a 3-0 decision over Radnor junior Tom Meyers; and then a fall in 4:29 over Academy Park senior Samson Akporotu to reach the third-place bout.
This will be Giangiulio’s second straight trip to the state tourney.
“I took first here last year, but then I lost my first two matches at states,” said Giangiulio. “This year I did it the hard way, roundabout. I lost and then I came right back. I was resilient, which was a nice way to go. That was a good match. I probably was just more focused. I pushed the pace, which made it harder. More goes at the end.
“I’ll admit I was disappointed at getting knocked into the consolation round. It botheredme a little bit, but I still got to states. That was my goal. It feels good.”
Giangiulio has already become the winningest wrestler in Perkiomen Valley school history. So he just wants to finish the season as high and as strong as possible.
“I don’t know what it means quite yet,” he said. “It means I have to end the year on a good note. States is a tough tournament. You have to win two tough matches to reach the medal round at the Giant Center. I was hoping to go in with a bit more experience this year.”
Spring-Ford junior Nick Beauchamp placed fourth at 132 following a 3-1 setback to Pottstown sophomore Bryant Wise. Beauchamp ended the campaign with a 31-22 record. ... Ram senior Nick Perri, at 195, was eliminated in the consolation semifinals after an 8-3 loss to Council Rock South junior Ben Kenis. Perri closed out the season after compiling a 31-17 mark. ... Spring-Ford senior Mason Romano, at 220, placed fourth following an excruciating 1-0 setback to William Tennent senior Marc Isaac. Romano finished the year at 30-6. ... At 285, S-F senior Joshua Boyer also placed fourth after going 2-2 in the tourney to end up at 35-15. ... Boyertown’s Eddie Kriczky (132) and Jordan Wertz (195) captured first-place gold medals while top-seeded sophomore Jordan Wood (220) was beaten in the championship finals, 5-2, by Coatesville senior Michael Boykin in a battle of unbeatens. Wood is now 38-1 while Boykin, who was named the Outstanding Wrestler, is 36-0. ... Methacton senior Tracey Green (36-1) won a first-place gold medal at 285 with a 3-1 sudden-victory win over Pottsgrove junior Pat Finn (13-3). ... Owen J. Roberts junior Demetri D’Orsaneo won the 138-pound weight class while Wildcats junior teammate Dominick Petrucelli took third at 145. ... Pottsgrove senior Nico Demetrio earned third at 152. ... Boyertown freshman Jakob Campbell finished second to Pennridge sophomore Kordell Rush at 106. ... The Bears’ 160-pounder, sophomore Gregg Harvey, placed second. ... Upper Perkiomen coach Tom Hontz was named to the Southeast Regional Wrestling Hall of Fame along with three of his former wrestlers, Zack Kemmerer, Chris Scheetz and Brent Fiorito, while Boyertown coach Pete Ventresca was named District 1 Coach of the Year. ... Avon Grove senior 106-pounder Edgar Garcia won the Sportsmanship Award from officials.