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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Boyertown must regroup in a hurry

Sometimes it is impossible to escape the pain of power-halves, wings and all of those other uncompromising moves. Sometimes the effort to counter those moves – in victory or defeat – does little if anything to ease that pain.

Amazingly, wrestlers heal, or at least mend whatever smarts the most to get right back into the practice room and right back on the mats.

But there is nothing, absolutely nothing more challenging than relieving the mental misery brought on by a loss – a team loss – that from start to finish, defies explanation. Problem is, there’s rarely enough time to deal with the throbbing hangover.

In other words, regroup or retreat.

Boyertown had to deal with the sting of that 54-16 loss to Quakertown in the District 1-Class AAA Team Duals final most of the weekend, and hopefully was able to sweat it out of its collective system during practice Monday.

Yes, the Bears were the No. 1 seed for the duals. Yes, they certainly deserved it by their performance throughout December and January. And yes, they certainly looked every bit the top seed during their second-round win over Perkiomen Valley and again during their semifinal win over Council Rock North – which earned them a few additional props considering it was the fourth time this winter they had gotten the best of the Indians.

And while no one, at least no one in their right mind, was at any time ready to hand head coach Pete Ventresca all those individual gold medals for his Bears and the team plaque for his school’s trophy case, no one – absolutely no one – expected or predicted what unfolded in the final with Quakertown.

Yes, there were distractions, and a few Bears were hurting and less than 100 percent. But 54-16?

No. Nope. Ain’t no way.

Ventresca, obviously, didn’t anticipate it. Neither did Panthers head coach Kurt Handel.

Fact is, what unfolded between two very good teams on Saturday doesn’t happen all that often. But it does happen. And Quakertown – which delved into as challenging a schedule as anyone in District 1 this year and was absolutely as good as its record (19-2) indicated – took advantage of every wee little mistake Boyertown made. And the Panthers didn’t run off with it, they stayed and all but made Boyertown disappear.

Momentum? You bet. And in wrestling, when one team gets the mental edge it creates a tsunami-like wave of confidence that, like in Saturday’s final, is virtually unstoppable.

“(Quakertown) got it and we just couldn’t stop it,” said Matt Malfaro, who provided just one of the Bears’ two contested wins with a major decision in the opening bout at 119 pounds.

The Bears’ challenge will be regrouping for tonight’s first round of the state duals championships. It begins with another lengthy bus ride, this time to Wyndmoor, and continues when they take on District 12 champion La Salle College High School, which owns a rather formidable record (19-1) itself. And it’s not like anyone on the Boyertown bus doesn’t already know, but the Explorers’ lone setback this season was 33-30 to none other than Quakertown back on Jan. 3 at the Zephyr Duals.

La Salle’s head coach is Vic Stanley, one of the winningest coaches in the state whose career began back in the 1970s at the former Council Rock High School. Stanley has nine wrestlers with more than 20 wins, another two sitting on 19. And the Explorers produce big points … they pin, in other words. Four of those 20-match winners, and both of the 19-match winners, have finished more than half of their victories by fall.

Boyertown’s likely dealt with the hangover by now, but still needs to bring the physical part of its game that it had all season long before the loss to Quakertown. And, win or lose, the Bears will likely remained focused for its final two league duals that, if both won, will help the Bears accomplish the program’s first goal -- winning another Pioneer Athletic Conference championship.

* * *

Council Rock North (12-10), which finished third by denying neighboring rival Council Rock South its fourth straight appearance in the state duals, opens tonight against District 2 champion Hazleton at Crestwood High School in Mountaintop. The Indians are 3-5 in state duals competition, while both Boyertown (0-2 overall) and Quakertown (0-1) are still seeking their first wins. Quakertown earned a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals in Hershey and will likely go up against with District runner-up Blue Mountain or District 3’s third-place Lower Dauphin, who meet this evening. The winner should survive a second-round test against the survivor of tonight’s Clearfield (District 9-1) and Hempfield (District 7-3) match. … Overall, District 1 teams – seven, to be exact – are a combined 23-23 in the PIAA-Class AAA duals, which began in 1999. … Class AA champion Octorara – coached by Spring-Ford graduate Mark Durante – will attempt to do something no other District 1 team has done, and that’s win a state dual match. The Braves open tonight against visiting District 3 runner-up Bermudian Springs.


There actually is a remote chance District 3’s three teams – champion Central Dauphin, runner-up Cumberland Valley and third-place Lower Dauphin – could finish 1-2-3 in the state duals. Unbeatens Northampton (District 11-1) and Central Mountain (District 6-1), of course, are likely to figure in on those possibilities but neither may be quite capable of challenging defending state champion Central Dauphin. … Easton, which has won four state duals and settled for runner-up honors three other years, was eliminated in the District 11-AAA Duals semifinals by Blue Mountain, 32-29. … Blue Mountain is the first District 11 team other than Easton, Nazareth and Northampton to advance to the state duals.


There is, to a certain extent, too much emphasis put on wrestlers reaching the 100-win mark nowadays because of the expanded schedules and the opportunity for freshmen to compete on the high school varsity level.

But Tim Feroe warrants an asterisk, if you will. The Boyertown senior didn’t exactly have eye-popping numbers at West Junior High and wasn’t exactly the projected superstar as a freshman, not with a 5-7 record. But he sure opened eyes the past two seasons when he amassed 34 and 36 wins, respectively, and started collecting postseason medals.

So when Feroe punched up his 100th career win last Friday night at the district duals, and did it like he has so many of the previous wins – with a pin – it was a particularly notable achievement. What the true wrestling fan has to like about Feroe is his aggressiveness, his drive to get the pin – which he’s done to finish off 63 of what is now 101 victories.

* * *

Upper Perkiomen’s Mike McStravick’s run to 100 was slowed a bit last week while he battled back from a bout with pneumonia. McStravick opens the week with 96, while Malfaro is sitting on 92 going into tonight’s match at La Salle.


The District 1 Wrestling Coaches Association announced the 20th class of inductees for the district’s Hall of Fame. Those to be honored at the Southeastern Regional at Oxford later this month are former longtime coaches Charlie Kramer of Perkiomen Valley and Mike Colley of West Chester East head coach and outstanding wrestlers Mike Jones of Haverford, Rocky Mantella of Council Rock, and Derek Zinck of Upper Perkiomen.



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