Academic challenge team wins in semis

Photo provided Devon Prep's Academic Challenge Team includes, front row from left, Alexander Sidor of Media, Felix deRosen of Wayne (captain), Kevin Mucchetti of West Chester (captain), Mark Rafferty of Devon (captain) and Griffin Becker of Wynnewood; middle row from left, Matthew Gruchacz of Conshohocken, J. Bradford Parkes of Wayne, Benjamin Limoges of Chester Springs, Joseph Stormes of Strafford, Brendan Coyne of Downingtown, and Patrick Mannion of Malvern; back row from left, Alexander Sakers of Lansdale, Brendan Fulmer of Broomall, Robert Smith of North Wales, Joseph Stucynski of Malvern, Patrick O'Brien of Malvern, Alexander Smith of Audubon, John Wujcik of West Chester, Christopher Smith of North Wales and Paul Sanborn (coach).

ROYERSFORD - Matt Moley extended his golden touch during Saturday's District 1-AAA South wrestling tournament at his Spring-Ford High School home ground.

The Rams' sophomore 103-pounder remained undefeated on the season (37-0) by sweeping through his weight class to capture the gold medal with a rare come-from-behind 8-2 decision over Garnet Valley junior Chuck Nickle in the finals.

Nickle (20-10) opened the match with a takedown, but that was the end of his scoring in the match.

"I wasn't focused in the beginning," Moley said. "When he got the takedown, I got my head into it. It was maybe twice I didn't get the first takedown this year. It makes me more focused."

Moley nipped Nickle, 3-2, in last year's tournament on his way to a third-place bronze medal.

"It was harder on top breaking him down," Moley said..

Moley was joined by Owen J. Roberts seniors Dan Hoffman (145) and Billy Kropp (215) as first-place finishers.

The top-seeded Moley scored a technical fall and pin in :46 to reach the finals.

"I wasn't looking for next week," Moley said. "I am used to it (pressure). I take it one match at a time. It just feels like everybody's gunning for me. I stay more focused."

Moley has grown stronger in the year, and it has made him that much better a wrestler.

"Last year I was so small," he said. "I lost to some kids I shouldn't have. I lifted weights during the summer. It feels better being heavier. I am not as hesitant to do things. I am more confident."

He weighed as low as 94 pounds at the beginning of last year before finishing at 98. This season he is more of a bona fide 103-pounder.

Hoffman (28-6), a second seed at 145, scored two falls and a 4-0 decision over Coatesvile sophomore Corey Blake in the finals to claim his gold medal.

"I tried to stay confident," Hoffman. "Mental attitude coming in here is a big thing. You try to stay on top of it."

Hoffman decisioned Blake, 3-2, in the Section IV tourney last week at Great Valley.

"I knew he was tough on top," Hoffman said. "I wanted to wrestle him better than last time."

Kropp (28-4), a top seed, recorded a pair of first-period falls and a 13-2 major decision over Oxford junior Cullen Todd (26-10) in the finals to land his spot atop the medal stand.

Spring-Ford's Eric Smith (125), Mike Moley (130) and Chris Gwaltney (152) fell in the championship finals to take home silver medals. Moley earned his 100th career victory with a 7-5 decision over Paul Girafalco in the semifinals. Evan Hanauer (135) and Jason Anspach (140) came in sixth place.

The Rams finished fourth in team scoring with 94.5 points to trail Conestoga (148), Boyertown (132) and Oxford (115). Owen J. Roberts came in sixth with 83.5 markers and Great Valley wound up eighth with 59.5. Phoenixville totaled 35 points for 18th place in a 29-team field.

Great Valley's Scott D'Annunzio (135) and Drew Smith (189) came in second while Patriots teammates Alex Segal (171) finished fourth and Bill Hasen (119) took fifth.

Owen J. Roberts' Brett Gardy (112) copped a second-place silver medal while Tony Fuschino (152) ended sixth. Wildcats freshman Jeremy Stierly (119) came in sixth with an injury default.

Boyertown senior 275-pounder Mike Spaid earned the Outstanding Wrestler award with three falls to up his record to 36-1.

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