Host CHA runner-up at wrestling tourney; PC, GFS also appear
Although host Chestnut Hill Academy only had athletes entered in 10 of the 14 weight classes, the Blue Devils were able to finish second at the 14-team CHA Wrestling Invitational Tournament last Saturday.
Defending Friends Schools League titlist Westtown School repeated as the team champion in the Chestnut Hill event, winning four weight classes and scoring 192.5 points to CHA’s 118. Another FSL team, George School, was third with 96.5 points.
Blue Devils junior Dan Gallagher, the 160 lb. champ at the 2008 event, won at 171 lbs. this year, and his classmate Matt Rubin captured the title at 160 lbs. Brendan Spearing (who will pursue rowing in college at Fairfield University) was the 189 lb. champion, and fellow senior Will Emery was runner-up in the 285 lb. class.
CHA’s Inter-Ac League colleague, Penn Charter, came in ninth with 66 points and produced a pair of finalists in sophomore middleweights Steve Miller (152) and Joey Woodruff (160). Germantown Friends arrived with a total of five wrestlers, but two Tiger juniors went on to win titles. Nathaniel Rabin won for the second year in a row, moving up from his 2008 weight of 119 lbs. to capture the crown at 125 lbs. this time around. James Hall emerged as the 152 lb. champion, but the Tigers had too few entries to make a lot of waves in the team scoring. They finished 11th with 45.5 points.
Pinning all of his 135 lb. opponents en route to the class title, Greg Faxon of Buckingham Brown & Nichols School in Cambridge, Mass. was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler at this year’s tournament.
The host team, Chestnut Hill, had no entries in the 112, 119, 125, and 152 lb. weight classes, and the Blue Devils competing at 130 and 140 each lost the first two matches they wrestled in this double-elimination tourney. At 135 lbs., sophomore Mike Moriarty secured a late pin in his initial match, then left the main draw when he was pinned by the eventual champ, Faxon from BBN. In the consolations, Moriarty picked up another pin, then lost by decision.
Junior Connor Small dropped a decision in his opening bout at 145 lbs., then pinned his first opponent in the consolation bracket before losing in the same manner to end his tournament run.
The Wang brothers, freshman 103 Jordan and senior 215 Ethan, each took third place for CHA. Ethan, who has earned a full academic scholarship to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, started out with a first-period pin, then was pinned himself by Nariman Lomidze of George Washington High School, who went on to become the class champion. His bouts continued to be decided by pins in the consolation round; he won his wrestle-back semifinal in the first round, then stuck D.J. Kim of George School in the third period to capture the bronze medal.
Brother Jordan drew a bye to begin with, then was defeated by the eventual champ from George Washington, Luis Colon. The younger Wang bounced back with a first-period pin the consolation semi’s, then wrapped up third place with a 6-3 decision over Joncarlos Melendez of Edison/Fareira High School.
The other four CHA grapplers all made it into the tourney finals. Rubin got there with two decisions (7-2 and 9-5), and Gallagher with pins in the quarterfinals (first period) and the semifinals (second period). Spearing matted his first opponent right at the end of the match, then won an 11-4 decision in the semifinal round. Emery pinned his first rival in just 24 seconds, and he ended his semifinal bout early in the second round, pinning Penn Charter’s sophomore heavyweight, Tyler Mercer.
The PC Quakers have a new head coach this season, with Jason Markey taking the helm after serving as an assistant with the team last winter. A former standout at Abington High School, Markey went on to become an All-American at the University of Delaware. He still lives in the Abington area and is a distant cousin of Aly Markey, a sophomore who plays basketball and softball at Springside School.
Penn Charter’s Mercer won his opening match at the PC tournament before he lost to CHA’s Emery. Feeling under the weather from the outset, Mercer then withdrew from competition. After losing in their initial matches, the competitors for the Quakers at 112 and 171 lbs. received a win by default and a bye, respectively, in the first round of consolations. Each saw his day end with a loss in the following round.
Charter had only entered wrestlers in 10 weight classes, leaving vacancies at 103, 119, 189, and 215 lbs. At 125 lbs., junior Jared Wenger had all three of his matches end in pins; a loss in the main draw, and a win followed by a loss in the consolation bracket.
Among the first-round winners for the Quakers were freshman 130 Stanton Young (first-period pin), junior 135 Gene Pak (7-5 decision), and sophomore 140 Brent Gagne (third period pin). Young departed from the main draw after getting pinned by class champion Nick Sawyer of Westtown, then he came out on the short end of a decision in the consolation bracket.
In his second match, Pak made it into the third round before he was matted by BBN’s Faxon, and another late pin ended Pak’s tournament run in the wrestle-backs. After his initial pin, Gagne had decisions go against him in his next two bouts. At 145 lbs., Charter junior Scott Matt opened with a pin in the second period, then lost a major decision to the eventual gold medalist, Fil Cody of BBN. Another second-round pin moved Matt into the consolation finals, and he wound up fourth overall after he was edged out, 8-6, by Westtown’s Will Cauffman.
At 152 lbs. for Penn Charter, Miller reached the finals with a second-period pin in his initial bout, and then an 18-5 major decision in the semifinals. Woodruff got there at 160 lbs. with a first-period pin followed by a 6-4 decision.
Germantown Friends had originally signed up 10 wrestlers for the CHA event, but coach Kazem Gholami, unhappy with a lackadaisical attitude amongst some of his charges, only brought five men to the tourney. That number was reduced to four when one of the GFS grapplers suffered setbacks in each of his first two matches.
Freshman Khari Goosby, the Tigers’ 285-pounder, saw each of his two matches in the main draw end with pins in the second period. He won the first and lost the second, then started out in the consolation bracket with a 58-second victory. He was then pinned himself in the third period of his next encounter. At 119 lbs., sophomore Luke Furukawa initially lost a decision, and was propelled through two consolation rounds by a pair of byes before he lost a decision at the semifinal stage.
Rabin made it to the 125 lb. championship match by piling up the points; he earned an 18-3 technical fall at the outset, and nailed down a 12-3 major decision in the semifinals. Germantown’s other finalist, Hall, pinned his first opponent in the third period, then won a 5-3 semifinal decision over an FSL rival, Taylor Abulaban of Westtown.
As the tourney’s championship round commenced, George Washington’s Luis Colon jumped out to a 5-0 lead and went on to record a 10-3 decision over Tyler Jordan of Central High. After two periods at 112 lbs., Westtown’s Emmanuel Arthur held a 6-5 edge, then he put the match away with half-a-minute remaining by pinning Clifton Cody of BBN. Westtown won more quickly in the 119 lb. final, where Alex Becker stuck Central’s Ed DeLeo with 17 seconds to go in the opening round.
Becker’s teammate Ian Yamaguchi found the going much tougher in the 125 lb. bout, where he faced Germantown’s Rabin. Neither man scored in the opening round, and at the start of the second Rabin reversed his opponent, and he still led 2-1 after Yamaguchi escaped later in the period.
Starting on the bottom in the third frame, Yamaguchi escaped to tie the score, then Rabin took him down right at the edge of the mat to go ahead once more. Yamaguchi managed his third escape of the match with 21 seconds to go, drawing within a point of the GFS junior at 4-3. The scoring stopped there and the bout ended with both grapplers on their feet, since neither could complete a takedown in the final moments.
For the fourth match in a row, a Westtown finalist stepped onto the mat, and 130-pounder Nick Sawyer proceeded to accumulate a 9-0 lead before pinning George Washington’s Albert Hellmig in the middle of the second round. Tourney MOW Greg Faxon was next, pinning up Ed Christie of Cardinal O’Hara with 37 seconds left in the opening segment.
Greg Walker, the Father Judge 140, avoided a pin, but he only scored a single point as George School’s Ben Gutierrez rolled up a 13-1 major decision. The Cougars couldn’t pull off back-to-back victories, though, as Tommy Lodge-Yanez succumbed to a second-period pin at the hands of the BBN 145, Fil Cody.
Next, Penn Charter’s two finalists appeared one after the other, each facing opponents from the local area. Germantown Friends 152 James Hall scored a takedown and back points to gain a 4-0 advantage over Charter’s Steve Miller in the first period. Hall showed his smarts and avoided mistakes that would let Miller back in the match, and the GFS junior went on to win, 7-2.
At 160, PC’s Joey Woodruff also fell behind early. He was taken down onto his back by CHA’s Matt Rubin, who quickly commanded a 5-0 advantage in points. By the end of round two Rubin was up 7-1, then off of a neutral start in the third period he scored another takedown, this time pinning Woodruff with 1:08 remaining in the match.
This would be the first of three consecutive victories for the Blue Devils. Dan Gallagher scored a takedown one minute into his 171 lb. final, and before another 60 seconds ticked away he pinned Brandon Scheitrum of Valley Forge Military Academy.
George School’s Christian Prajzner began the 189 lb. final with a takedown, and when CHA’s Brendan Spearing tried a stand-up escape near the middle of the period, Prajzner slammed him back down onto the mat in an illegal manner. Spearing landed hard on one knee, but after being checked out by a trainer he continued the match. With the penalty point against Prajzner, the period ended at 2-1.
Starting on top in the second round, Spearing was able to pick up three back points before Prajzner managed to escape, and the period concluded with the CHA man now ahead, 4-3.
The wrestlers started the third round on their feet and stayed there for over a minute, with Prajzner receiving a warning for stalling along the way. Spearing successfully shot for a takedown with 23 seconds left and quickly cradled his rival, securing a pin with a dozen seconds on the clock.
Next, George Washington acquired its second gold medal of the day in the 215 lb. final, where Nariman Lomidze carried out a 59-second pin against Josh Henry of Westtown.
The tournament hosts had a vested interest in the final bout of the day, as CHA heavyweight Will Emery stepped out against Westtown’s Trevor Lohrey. After a 0-0 opening round, Emery began round two on the bottom and parleyed a stand-up move directly into a reversal to go up 2-0.
He tried to roll over his rival, but wound up losing hold of everything but Lowry’s head. This allowed the Westtown man to begin to attain the superior position, and instead of cutting his losses and going to his stomach, Emery held onto his headlock and found himself the victim of a pin midway through the period.
Still, with four vacancies in the line-up, Coach Charlie Neely’s Blue Devils had achieved their highest finish in recent history.