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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

District 1 tournaments reduced to 2

Sometimes – not all the time, mind you – reverting back to the old way of doing things is the good way, or right way, to go.

That may have been the District 1 Wrestling Committee’s collective mindset, especially when thinking of the Class AAA postseason lineup in recent years.

The committee recently voted to revert back to a two-district tournament format, which had been in place from 1974 through 2005 before expanding to what became a somewhat unpopular three-district format in 2006.

For the last three years, the district had hosted the North (Section Two and Three qualifiers), Central (Section Four and Six qualifiers), and South (Section One and Five qualifiers) tournaments. Last year, the top four finishers in each weight class in each of those three district tournaments then teamed up with the top four finishers in each weight class from District 12 – the Philadelphia Catholic and Public leagues – at the Southeast Regional, creating 16-man brackets in each of the 14 weight classes.

“The coaches felt the 16-man bracket days before the state tournament needed to change,” explained Dennis Kellon, chairman of the district’s Steering Committee.

“Returning to two districts also eliminates the coaches’ concern of so many repeat meetings (in sectionals and again in districts).”

Beginning next season, the top five finishers in each weight class from the District 1-North and District 1-South tournaments, as well as the top three finishers in each weight class from District 12, will advance to the Southeast Regional. The fifth-place finishers in each weight class from the two District 1 tournaments will meet in a pigtail – or qualifying bout – to move into the 12-man bracket. The district champions will be seeded, with the remaining qualifiers placed accordingly in the brackets.

District officials also agreed to continue moving the Southeast Regional site each year to accommodate travel concerns for both the wrestlers and spectators. Two years ago, the regional was held at Council Rock South, and this past March it was hosted by Oxford. Next year, the regional is set for Council Rock North.

Kellon pointed out the sectional alignments will remain the same for 2009-10. However, they’ll most likely change when the new PIAA enrollment classifications are released for 2010-2011.

The Steering Committee also announced its postseason sites for next season. The sectionals will be hosted by Abington (Section One), Upper Perkiomen (Two), Perkiomen Valley (Three), Boyertown (Four), Ridley (Five) and Garnet Valley (Six). The District 1-North Tournament, featuring qualifiers from Sections One, Two and Three, is set for Quakertown. The District 1-South Tournament, featuring qualifiers from Sections Four, Five and Six, will be at Oxford. The District 1-Class AA Tournament will be hosted by Harriton.

District 1 held its inaugural wrestling tournament in 1934. It remained an all-inclusive tournament through 1973 with no enrollment classifications. The following year, the North-South alignment, with an additional Class B (later changed to Class AA) tournament, began.


Matt Martoccio and Andre Petroski, along with Rob D’Annunzio, were the only District 1 wrestlers to advance to the Junior Division finals of last weekend’s Pennsylvania Freestyle Championships, held in Shippensburg University’s Heiges Fieldhouse.

Martoccio, who will be a junior at Council Rock South next season, was blanked 6-0, 6-0 in the 135-pound showdown with Josh Kindig, a recent Blue Mountain graduate and PIAA champion three months ago. Petroski, already a two-time state medalist heading into his senior year at Springfield-Delco, didn’t fare much better in a 6-0, 6-1 setback to Penn State-bound Ed Ruth, a former PIAA champion and a National Prep champion last season at Blair.

D’Annunzio, who will be a junior at Methacton, had a much easier time at 98 pounds … he was the only entry. The lightweight standout, who was a sectional champion, district runner-up and regional qualifier last winter, still advances to next month’s national championships in Fargo, N.D.

As expected, the Dylan brothers – Andrew and Dylan – won their finals at 140 and 145, respectively. The twins will be seniors at Central Mountain next season. A two-time state champion, Andrew has won his last 89 bouts and takes a 131-5 career mark into his final season. Dylan, who won his first PIAA title last March, is 133-8. Both are currently the nation’s No. 1 ranked scholastic wrestlers in their weight classes.


Council Rock South’s Trap McCormack has been named Wrestling USA Magazine’s National Assistant Coach of the Year.

McCormack, who teaches health and physical education at CRS, has been a member of head coach Brad Silemperi’s staff for six years. A graduate of Bald Eagle Nittany High School, McCormack was a three-time PIAA state champion and graduated with a 138-4 career mark. At Lock Haven University, he was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion, four-time NCAA qualifier, and an NCAA Academic All-American.


Pennsylvania had four first-team selections and a national-high 19 overall wrestlers named to the 24th annual ASICS All-America wrestling team. The Commonwealth was represented on the first team by the Alton twins from Central Mountain and Central Dauphin’s Marshall Peppelman (152) – all juniors – and by Hempfield senior Jake Kemerer. Blair Academy’s Ed Ruth, a former PIAA champion and native of the Harrisburg area, was also named to the first team.

Headlining the selections was St. Paris (Ohio) Graham senior David Taylor. The 135-pound Taylor, a four-time state champion, was selected to the first team for the third consecutive year.


Two District 1 graduates – Norristown’s Tim Harner and Central Bucks West’s Pete Ferrara – were recently named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 team for the 2008-09 season.

The 141-pound Harner, graduated from Liberty with a 3.3 average as a sports management major. The 149-pound Ferrara, graduated from Virginia with a 3.6 average as a kinesiology major.

For the second straight year, American University took home top team honors . Head coach Mark Cody’s team, which featured senior Anthony Fuschino – an Owen J. Roberts – led the Division I teams with GPA of 3.3 after tying with Duke University in 2008.


Delaware Valley College’s Brandon Clemmer, an Upper Perkiomen graduate, was named to the 2009 NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American team. Clemmer, who capped his career with a 33-8 record and seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships back in March, was a business major.


Ursinus head coach Bill Racich’s new class of wrestlers will include three recent graduates – Perkiomen Valley’s Hassan Elghawy, Perkiomen School’s Eric Pfeiffer, and Great Valley’s Myles Tornetta. … Four other District 1 graduates have unofficially joined the Division III ranks for next season. Abington’s Max Barsky and Penncrest’s Andrew Mariani will wrestle for Elizabethtown, while Ridley’s Mark Burkhart and Downingtown East’s Amro Elansari will compete for York. … Muhlenberg has announced that Mike Kocsis will replace Tom Schleicher as its new wrestling coach next season. Schleicher, who guided the Mules for 13 years, was the head coach at Upper Perkiomen High School before Tom Hontz took over the program.


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