Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Locals get big warm-up in N.C. tourney

This column was originally published in the Nov. 13 Mercury.

Wrestling practice doesn’t begin, officially that is, until Monday. And the season, when everyone actually gets out on the mat to strut their stuff against the opposition, doesn’t get under way until next month.

But 19 wrestlers from District 1 headed south last week for the grueling Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C. … and some more than warmed up for next week’s first day in the room.

Four entries, led by Oxford standout Nick Ruggear and Octorara’s Josh Smith third and fourth at 189 pounds, made their way to the awards podium by the end of the tournament, which drew some of the nation’s premier individual talents. Council Rock South’s Josh Dziewa was fourth at 135, while Council Rock South’s Jimmy Vollrath was seventh at 152, and Upper Moreland’s James Nicholson was the district’s third medalist at 189 after taking eighth.

Ruggear went 1-2 at states last spring, then went on to capture his weight class in the National High School Coaches Association’s Sophomore Nationals. In the Super 32, he overwhelmed Alabama state-medalist Michael Kennedy (18-1) and Virginia state-medalist Colin Lenhardt (19-6) in the first two rounds, then edged Northampton’s Joey Piro – who was seventh at the PIAA Championships – by a 9-6 margin. He dropped a 3-1 semifinal decision to Ohio’s Nicholas Mills, but came back with a 3-2 win over Florida’s Caylor Williams to set up the bout with Smith – a fourth-place finish in the state’s Class AA bracket last spring – which he won in a 2-1 thriller for the bronze medal.

Four other District 1 wrestlers – Truman’s James Bak (103), Garnet Valley’s Joe Marino (140), Octorara’s Dan Miller (145) and Sun Valley’s Josh Marquard (171) – all came within one win of getting into the medal rounds.

Pennsylvania had four individual champions at the Super 32 Challenge – Central Mountain’s Andrew Alton (140), Central Dauphin’s Marshall Peppelman (152), Warwick’s Anthony Giorgio (215), and Canon-McMillan’s Sam Brownlee (third straight title at 285).

C.D. Mock, a former PIAA and NCAA champion from Council Rock who is now the head coach at the University of North Carolina, watched his son, Corey, finish fourth at 130 pounds.

LOCK HAVEN FALL CLASSIC: Boyertown senior Ryan Kemmerer was one of four wrestlers from District 1 who pinned down gold medals at Lock Haven University’s Annual Fall Classic. Kemmerer, a two-time state medalist at Upper Perkiomen before competing for Spring-Ford last year, dominated at 145 pounds. Other champions were Springfield-Delco’s Dan Dortone (112), Council Rock South’s Ed Shupe (180) and Springfield-Delco’s Andre Petroski (190).

COMMITMENTS: Two national publications have noted that three district wrestlers have committed to Division I-A programs. Great Valley seniors Carl Buchholz and Justin Schellenger have reportedly give verbal commitments to Rutgers and Cal State-Fullerton, respectively, while Radnor’s John Meyers will be attending Duke.

HALL OF FAME: After being blanked on last year’s ballot, District 1 will be represented by John McHugh in this season’s class to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. McHugh, who had an outstanding career at Cheltenham (1953 state champion) and then the University of Maryland (two-time AAC champion), also coached the Terrapins for 32 years and compiled a 256-143-8 career mark.


RANK AND FILE: Three area graduates – Bloomsburg’s Matt Moley (Spring-Ford) and Delaware Valley teammates Chris Sheetz (Upper Perkiomen) and Brandon Clemmer (Upper Perkiomen) – are among six former District 1 standouts who were listed on InterMat’s preseason national rankings.

Moley, an NCAA All-American last year, is eighth at 157 pounds in Division I, while Sheetz and Clemmer are fourth and seventh, respectively, at 125 and 133 in Division III.

Others earning national attention are Liberty’s Tim Harner (Norristown), 17th at 141, and Maryland’s Mike Letts (Octorara) – who is reportedly red-shirting this season – 11th at 174, both in Division I; and Kutztown’s David Zeek (Council Rock North), who is eighth at 157 in Division II.

TOURNEY TIME: Moley was third at last weekend’s Michigan State Open in East Lansing. The former two-time state runner-up, Moley’s only loss was a 3-2 double-overtime setback to eventual champion Kurt Kinser of Indiana. … Bucknell’s Jay Hahn (Great Valley) was fourth at 197 in the Freshman/Sophomore Division of the tournament.

* * *

Letts wrestled unattached and dominated the 174-pound bracket at the North Carolina State Open. Letts, a two-time state champion in high school, had two pins, a technical fall and major decision among his five wins. North Carolina’s Mike Rappo (Council Rock South) won his first three bouts before dropping two straight and getting eliminated at 141.

* * *

Lock Haven’s Nick Hyatt (Boyertown) bounced back from an early loss and placed sixth at 125 pounds during the Buffalo Open in N.Y. … Across the state, in the Oklahoma Gold Classic at SUNY-Brockport, Oklahoma’s Pat Flynn (Quakertown) went 4-1 with four pins to place third at 184 pounds.

* * *

Messiah sophomore David Jones (Boyertown) and Elizabethtown freshman Will Bentley (Owen J. Roberts) were first and third, respectively, at 174 and 125 pounds in last weekend’s annual Messiah Invitational. Jones doubled up Waynesburg’s Todd Martinek, 8-4, in their final for Messiah, which pinned down the team title with a slim 84-80 margin over Elizabethtown. Ursinus freshman Connor McCormick (Owen J. Roberts) came within one win of a medal at 149 pounds.

* * *

Ithaca got a first from freshman Seth Ecker (Pottstown) and a fourth from freshman Jeremy Stierly (Owen J. Roberts) to run away with the team title in the 26th renewal of its own Ithaca Invitational. Ecker, who was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, posted three pins and two technical falls en route to the title at 125 pounds. He was the first Bomber to win the OW award since current assistant coach Marc Israel (2004).

DUAL TIME: Liberty got back-to-back technical falls from Harner and Brad Clark (Methacton) at 149 and 157, respectively, to bury NCAA East Regional rival Gardner-Webb, 43-6, in Tuesday night’s season-opener. … Lehigh opened its 100th season of wrestling last week with a 21-15 win over No. 17 ranked Maryland.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home