By Barry Sankey
PHOENIXVILLE - Pottsgrove had a perfect day, and Phoenixville dropped just one match out of four during the 2014 Phoenixville Invitational Duals Wrestling Tournament Saturday.
The top-seeded Falcons won four straight matches, capped by a 39-33 victory over second-seeded Lower Moreland in the championship finals.
Third-seeded Phoenixville fell to sixth-seeded Radnor, 37-33, in the first round before reeling off victories over York Tech, Schuylkill Haven and Oley Valley.
Pottsgrove defeated Upper Merion, 60-20, in round one and then stopped Strath Haven, 43-21, in round two. The bonus match included a 56-21 victory over York Tech prior to the victory over Lower Moreland that went right down to the final bout of the day.
The Falcons and Phantoms did not face off against one another during the tournament. However, they do have a Pioneer Athletic Conference confrontation slated for this coming Wednesday night back in Phoenixville.
“These guys are working so hard,” said Pottsgrove coach Jeff Madden, “especially Christian Pace. He is such a good guy. It could be 20 degrees outside, and he would ride his bike to practice. He makes no excuses. It is nice to have him win it for us. He puts so much time into it. He did a great deal.”
Pace was matched up against Lower Moreland’s Demetri Bourlocko in the last match with the Falcons leading, 36-33. Pace scored first on a first-period takedown. Pace started on the bottom to start the second period and posted an escape point to go up 3-0. Bourlocko answered with a takedown to cut the gap to one point. However, there was no further scoring in the period. Then, in the third period, Pace managed to hold his man down for two minutes to close out the 3-2 decision and give the Falcons their 39-33 win that merited the team championship trophy.
Madden was also impressed with the day’s performances of sophomore Chris DeFrancesco (195), junior Evan Weneck (160), senior Nico Demetrio (152) and Ryan Finn (132).
“I think especially some guys wrestled well all day,” said Madden. “Lower Moreland, the last couple years, has been one of the better Class AA teams in the district. They have been the champions or right in it so I expected them to be good.”
Against Lower Moreland, Pottsgrove’s Demetrio and Weneck opened by being awarded six points each for forfeits. DeFrancesco won a 9-1 major decision. Pottsgrove’s Nick Borzick won via a first-period fall at 220. The Falcons’ Logan Vanderway won by pin at 3:07 at 106, and sophomore Kylif Underwood followed up with a 17-2 technical fall at 113 to increase the margin to 33-15.
Lower Merion picked up two straight falls to cut the deficit to 33-27 before Finn notched a 6-1 decision at 132. Following another Lower Moreland pin, Pace’s verdict decided the issue.
Phoenixville first-year coach Mike Sidlo was happy with the way the tourney turned out overall.
“It was a pretty good day overall,” said Sidlo. “On the whole, it was a good tournament. There was very equal competition here. All through the whole time every team gets a chance to put wins for their record.
“Overall, for Phoenixville, it was a great day. We were 3-1. We lost one close one, and we were right in it.”
The Phantoms are still thin in numbers so they are forfeiting three or four matches in every meet. However, the Phantoms are compensating for yielding those points with some strong individual efforts in certain weight classes. Sidlo wants the Phantoms to look at bouts won in which both sides send out a wrestler to compete. In those matches, Phoenixville finished 24-12 for the varsity on the day.
“That’s a good many, and even in the one we lost, it was 6-3,” said Sidlo. “Teams are getting all their points in what we are giving up. We are wrestling the best we can. I am very proud of the ones that we are actually wrestling.”
Sophomore Max Shepherd went 4-0 in the 106-pound weight class. Shepherd actually weighs just 95 pounds and was spotting his foes as many as 15 pounds due to the two-pound allowance for the new year and another two-pound allowance for the holiday break.
Junior Garrett Serwatka has bumped up to 126 pounds this year and also finished 4-0 Saturday.
“He has been a rock for us,” said Sidlo. “He has also gotten a lot of bonus points. That helps Phoenixville since we are giving up so many points. He has done a really nice job at tournaments.”
Sophomore Mark Cermanski has been impressive at 138.
“He gets it,” said Sidlo. “He understands that you have to wrestle six minutes. He did a real nice job today, and he wrestled up a few times to 145. It is nice to send him out there in the middle of the lineup and get points.”
Freshman Tanner Romance has been solid at 152/160.
“He is young and he is wrestling big boys at 152 and 160,” said Sidlo. “He has won a lot of matches. Today he was 4-0 with four pins, and he was up three times at 160.”
He gave us some bonus points. He had a big day.”
Senior DJ Brock has already shown big improvement over last year in the middleweights and had a 2-2 day in this tourney at 145/152 after a 4-1 finish last week. Phoenixville has also been getting some points up top from junior David Rosati (285) and senior Paul Hossler (220). Other youngsters in the lineup include freshman Anthony Davido (113), junior Tom Hammaker (132/138), freshman Jacob Straka (132) and junior DuJuan Serrette-Davis (113/120).
In other round one matches, Schuylkill Haven downed Oley Valley, 40-24; and Lower Moreland stopped York Tech, 48-25. ... Also in round two, Lower Moreland edged Radnor, 36-34, and Oley Valley beat Upper Merion, 42-26. ... In round three, Lower Moreland routed Upper Merion, 60-19; and Radnor defeated Oley Valley, 44-33. ... Also in round four, Schuylkill Haven dropped Radnor, 46-30; and York Tech outscored Upper Merion, 48-24.