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, February 3, 2010

100 wins still a feat, but not what it was

This column originally ran in the Jan. 12 edition of The Mercury.

There was a time not so awfully long ago when 100 wins were unthinkable, perhaps because such a number was unreachable. Schedules, which featured upwards of a handful or two of league matches, a few non-league challenges, maybe some sort of holiday tournament, and a single-elimination postseason, often limited wrestlers to just 20 bouts the entire winter.

The evolution of wrestling changed all that, of course.

At first, quantity – expanding the schedules and piling up all those wins – was all that mattered (pardon the pun). Forget quality. By the mid-1980s, a lot of individuals from schools of all sizes throughout Pennsylvania were arriving at states with gaudy 50-win records.

The PIAA stepped in soon after with a rule or two limiting the maximum number of matches. Those figures have since been amended once or twice, too.

Nonetheless, as the list of tournaments, invitationals and classic this and classic that got longer and longer – obviously to maximize the PIAA’s guideline of team competitions – the list of wrestlers with 100 career wins got longer and longer, too.

This season alone, the area’s 13 schools with wrestling programs have already participated in a combined 18 individual and 16 team-duals tournaments. Four others — all team duals — were snowed out. The bustling schedules don’t make getting 100 career wins any easier, mind you, but they sure do provide the opportunity to reach the coveted mark that so many before them never had.

Take a trip around the state, or peruse whatever web site available, and you’ll find the list of wrestlers with 100 or more career wins is bursting at the seams. You’d need a calculator to add up the total in Pennsylvania.

There are 82 in this area alone – from Pottstown graduate Brian Campbell’s 100, which he pinned down in the 1989 state semifinals, all the way up to Upper Perkiomen graduate Zack Kemmerer’s state-record 199, which he put in the books by winning his second state title three years ago.

Winning 100 matches is the goal of most if not all high school wrestlers, and is unquestionably a mark of achievement. But all those wins don’t necessarily epitomize success, or even serve as a measure for the real who’s who of high school wrestling.

In other words, congratulations are in order for anyone who reaches the milestone. A spot in the record book, or history book, is in order for anyone who reaches the milestone.

But a declaration, or distinction, of being hyped as among the best there was, is, or ever will be?

No … absolutely not.

Kemmerer amassed 199 wins against some of the best competition in the entire nation, wrestling in the best or highest-rated scholastic tournaments like the Beast of the East, Ironman, Konkrete Duals, and Reno Tournament of Champions. And he not only had two state titles, but four state medals. The Hill School’s David Hoffman finished with 195, which included five state prep titles and one national prep title. Upper Perkiomen’s Chris Sheetz had 189 with a state title and three other state medals, and Derek Zinck had 159 with three state medals. Former teammate Mark Smith, unfairly tagged the “one-move wonder“ with his headlock, had 161 wins that included a state record for career pins and three state medals. Move further down the local list to Pottstown’s Joey Allen and Seth Ecker, both with 130-plus wins and both with three state medals, to Spring-Ford’s Matt Moley and his 131 wins and three state medals.

That’s only eight of the many who were great wrestlers … great not only for their 100-plus wins, but for what they won

And before all is said and done this season, barring injury or any other unforeseen misfortune, Alex Pellicciotti should be added to the list. The Boyertown senior has been on the 100-win chart since last year, and Saturday afternoon he became the Bears’ all-time leader when he pinned Josh Hengen of McDonough (Md.) during the Cumberland Valley Duals for No. 144, passing former teammate Jesse DeWan. He added two more, moving ahead of Methacton graduate Dan Covatta – a state champion and three-time state medalist – into the ninth spot on The Mercury’s all-time list. The 135-pound Pellicciotti, an exceptional talent who has finished off exactly half of his career wins with pins (73) and amassed both against some heady competition from around Pennsylvania, already has two state medals and will likely add a third to his collection in March.

It’s those smaller numbers – the pins and the state medals – that will help Pellicciotti, like so many others, be looked at, respected and remembered as more than just a 100 career wins wrestler.


Boyertown teammate Matt Malfaro is now up to 126 wins and is likely to pass DeWan and finish his career second behind Pellicciotti on the Bears’ chart. Malfaro and older brother Tony Malfaro (114 wins) are one of eight sets of brothers on The Mercury’s all-time win list. The others are Zack (199) and Ryan (152) Kemmerer; Hill School’s Zach (142) and Orion (130) Doll and Ty (142) and Dave (102) Willman; Spring-Ford’s Matt (131) and Mike (123) Moley; Upper Perkiomen’s Jared (121) and Derek (111) Bennett; and Pottstown’s Jared and Jordon Haring (103 apiece).

Closing in on 100 wins is Daniel Boone senior Eddie Lockowitz (90), Boyertown junior Jeremy Minich (87), and Owen J. Roberts junior Scott Syrek (82).


A short list of the area’s most improved wrestlers from a year ago: Daniel Boone’s Nate Solo and Sam Batchelor; Hill School’s Byron Muhlenberg; Methacton’s Pat Carr and Dan Cox; Owen J. Roberts’ Michael Lenge; Perkiomen Valley’s Blair Heaps and Lou Fioravanti; Phoenixville’s Sam LaPorte; Pottstown’s Ricardo Gonzalez and Dan Yauger; Spring-Ford’s Chase Brown, Matt Stipa and Aaron Cummins; St. Pius’ Anthony Yerger, John Anuszewski, Conor Myers, A.J. Ebersole and Patrick Stone; and Upper Perkiomen’s Cody Ambrose, Nick Hale and Dan Wolfram.


Spring-Ford’s third-place finish at last weekend’s Biglerville Duals enabled the school to edge past Methacton as the area’s winningest public school program. Spring-Ford now has 510 all-time wins, one more than Methacton. Pottstown is third with 490.


Owen J. Roberts have two matches this week – at St. Pius X on Wednesday and Pottsgrove at home on Thursday – needing two victories to become the fifth school in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s 24-year history to reach 100 league wins.


When Spring-Ford hosts Methacton on Wednesday, it will be Rams head coach Tim Seislove’s 200th career match. … Pottsgrove’s Jeff Madden (420) and Upper Perkiomen’s Tom Hontz (415) are the area’s active leaders in that department.

Down in Chester County, Oxford veteran Scott Gold has 396 career wins and will become the 16th coach in Pennsylvania history to hit 400 in the next week or two. Gold has sat in on 674 matches with his Red Devils … which, if you think about it, translates into a little over 8,800 individual bouts (and that doesn’t even include all those postseason thrillers).


Think Brock Hallman enjoyed the Cumberland Valley Duals on Saturday?

The Boyertown senior began the day getting pinned by the host’s Tristan Warner – ranked No. 2 in the state. After decking his rival from Shikellamy, he lost by technical fall to McDonough’s Scott Patrick – ranked No. 3 in Maryland. Then came a 19-7 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s John Staudenmayer – ranked No. 3 in the state (right behind Warner). And the finish? Hallman got pinned by Central Dauphin’s Marshall Peppelman – a two-time state champion (and a runner-up in between) who is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the nation.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home