February 5, 2009


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CHA gets past PC for first league wrestling match victory

In the heavyweight match, Penn Charter’s Tyler Mercer (left) and Will Emery of CHA each look for an opening for a takedown move.

Going into last Friday’s Inter-Ac wrestling meet at Penn Charter, both the host Quakers and the Chestnut Hill Academy Blue Devils owned 0-3 records in league competition.

In the next-to-last match of the day, sophomore Matt Rubin recorded a pin at 152-lbs., sealing a 41-33 victory for the visitors. CHA’s overall record in dual meets rose to 4-6, while Charter’s mark slipped to 7-9-1.

The 171-lb. bout led off the affair, and here Charter senior Tharail Singleton rode a first-period takedown all the way to a 2-0 decision over Blue Devils junior Ethan Wang. At 189 lbs., Chestnut Hill quickly took the lead in the meet with junior Brendan Spearing’s 12-second pin of Quakers senior Nick Cassizzi, but the visitors handed the points right back to PC by forfeiting the 215-lb. contest to Alex Cohen, a junior on the host team.

The momentum, and the lead in the team scoring, continued to swing back and forth. CHA heavyweight Will Emery, a junior, pinned PC freshman Tyler Mercer with 52 seconds remaining in the second period to put the Devils up 12-9.

After both teams forfeited in the 103-lb. class (no meet points are awarded when this happens), the Quakers moved back ahead, 15-12, when Evan Botwin pinned another ninth-grader, CHA 112-lb, Matt Klauder, 47 seconds into the third period. Botwin was in control throughout the match, but it took him awhile to execute the pin, since he normally wrestles at 103-lbs. and is light even for that category.

CHA regained the meet lead and started to pull away after freshman 119-lb. Rob Ortelere accepted a Penn Charter forfeit and the 125-lb. bout ended with a pin at the buzzer by Ortelere’s classmate, Mike Moriarty. This last match was a high-scoring affair in which the scoring process became confused, thanks to indecisive signals by the referee and the failure of the scorers to insist upon clarification.

It was determined that PC’s David Zager, also a freshman, held a 12-4 lead at the end of the second period, but Moriarty immediately picked up three back-points, and as the grapplers battled back and forth Zager’s lead dwindled down to one point, 17-16. Moriarty turned Zager in the finals seconds and was awarded a pin at the buzzer, giving Chestnut Hill a 24-15 advantage in the team tally.

CHA senior Justin Heller, wrestling above his normal weight, built up a big lead in points in the 130-lb. match, and in the third period he finished off freshman Brent Gagne of the Quakers in a 17-1 technical fall. The visitors gained their largest lead of the afternoon when senior Nick Varallo took down PC sophomore Gene Pak early in the 135 lb. contest and then secured the pin with 24 seconds to go in the opening round.

This put CHA up 35-21 in the team score with four matches to go, but the Blue Devils would have to forfeit the concluding bout of the meet, since sophomore 160-lb. Dan Gallagher was out of action with torn ligaments in his left hand.

Charter sliced into the visitors’ lead with back-to-back pins at 140 and 145 lbs. First, in a match prolonged by an exceptionally severe bloody nose, PC senior Ben Fries registered a pin at the end of the first period against CHA sophomore Connor Small, whose faced ended up bandaged like a mummy’s as the trainers tried to staunch his seeping schnoz. Next, PC freshman Steve Miller and CHA senior Steve Dandridge fought to a 0-0 standoff in the first period, but Miller matted his older opponent 50 seconds into the second round.

With the meet score now only 35-27 in Chestnut Hill’s favor, and with the forfeit at 160-lb. due to boost Charter’s total to at least 33 points, the overall outcome was riding on the 152 lb. match. The sense of drama diminished as CHA’s Matt Rubin quickly took command, scoring a takedown and rolling up back points to build an 8-0 lead by the end of the opening frame. In the second period, Quakers junior Nash Robinson fell further behind in points, 13-0, before he was pinned by Rubin with 38 seconds to go.

Freshman Joey Woodruff of Penn Charter claimed the forfeit at 160-lbs., but the meet victory belonged to the Blue Devils, who still held an eight-point advantage.