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.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Carter’s improbable rise gives Pottstown a district champ

Will Carter didn’t quite understand the cold-shoulder treatment he was getting prior to Saturday night’s championship round of the District 1-Class AAA North Tournament at Quakertown High School.

“Really, no one was talking to me before the final,” Carter said.

What the Pottstown senior didn’t realize was that no one wanted to jinx him … you know, like the pitcher working on a no-hitter sitting at one end of the dugout and everyone else huddled together at the other end.

What the Pottstown senior didn’t realize was that he had an opportunity to become the program’s first district champion in a long, long time. But just over a minute into his 285-pound final with Norristown’s Marcus Robbins, it looked as if his chances were slim to none.

Until he put Robbins on his back and got the pin, as well as a gold medal…

And became Pottstown’s first Class AAA district champion in 21 years, or since Chris Ruyak, Tom Medvetz and Job Price gave the Trojans a hat trick way back in 1989.

“Did I ever get an ear-full afterwards,” Carter said. “My teammates and their families were all telling me I was the first to do it in twentysome years. I didn’t know anything about that, so I was surprised.”

Carter’s actually been the one providing most of the surprises this season.

Since back-to-back losses a week apart back on Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, which dropped his record to 6-3 on the season, Carter strung together 22 straight wins. The last six, of course, have been the biggest because they’ve added up to section and district titles.

Not bad considering he was just 10-22 after his first two seasons with the Trojans. Even last year’s 17-13 mark, which included a fourth place at sections and cameo appearance – as in two bouts and two losses – at districts, didn’t exactly lend much promise to this season.

But an enhanced work ethic sure did.

“Will has worked extremely hard to become an accomplished wrestler,” said Pottstown assistant John Armato.

Even that may sound like an understatement.

“I guess the turnaround began in the off-season,” Carter explained. “I did a lot of lifting, a lot of running, and I was watching my weight. I just got stronger and faster. Plus, I really wanted to get my name up there on the board with all those other Pottstown wrestlers (who won postseason honors).

Carter earned a spot under the list of section champions when he breezed through the Section Two Tournament a couple of weeks ago. But it didn’t look like he was going to see his name anywhere else on that board after Robbins – who had won 36 of his previous 38 bouts – went in front 8-3 just over the halfway mark of the first period Saturday night.

“All I was thinking at that moment was that I had nothing to lose,” Carter recalled. “I knew I was the underdog going in, so if I was going to do it, if I was going to win, I had to do it now, and whatever happened I would have no regrets.”

Carter certainly didn’t regret the move that put Robbins on his back. Then again, he really hasn’t had any regrets since first stepping onto the mats in seventh grade. And that’s kind of ironic because he never even planned to wrestle.

“I was walking home from school one day with a friend of mine,” Carter remembered. “All of a sudden he stops and says, ‘I have to go back. I forgot I have a wrestling meeting.’ I went with him, and that’s when the coach, Jim Tsakonas – who, incidentally, was the last high school coach to have an AAA district champion – talked to me about joining the team. He kind of lured me in.”

Carter, an All-Pioneer Athletic Conference lineman for the Trojans’ football team, was suddenly a two-sport athlete.

“I liked wrestling from the start,” he said. “But I definitely liked football, too.”

The soft-spoken and good-natured Carter likes helping others as well … especially those away from the football field and wrestling mats.

He was very active with his football teammates in raising funds to buy food and gifts that were distributed to needy families during the holiday season. He also volunteers at the Manor Care, where he’ll sit in on a few bingo games with the elderly and help serve refreshments afterwards.

Carter learned a little bit about stepping up and becoming a leader last year, when he was one of four Pottstown juniors selected to participate in a three-day Leadership Camp over in Boyertown.

“The most important thing I learned there was others come first,” he said. “My teammates come first, and everyone else in my personal life comes first.

“Helping those families during the holidays was part of our football team’s community project. We wanted to create a foundation for other people after us to build on. It was our way of giving back to the community. And helping out with the elderly … that’s fun, especially when you see the older folks smile.”

Carter himself was all smiles when close friend Isaiah Washington joined the wrestling team this season.

“One of the big reasons I’ve done well this year is because of having Isaiah as a practice partner,” Carter explained. “The last couple of years I really didn’t have a practice partner except for (head coach Eric) Dusko, who is a lot smaller than me. I told Isaiah I needed a practice partner real bad, so he came out. And he’s really pushed me.”

So much so, that after those back-to-back losses the Carter-Washington workouts intensified.

“I was upset with those losses,” Carter said. “I was so mad that I mad a bet with (teammate James) McKinney that I wasn’t going to lose the rest of the regular season.”

He didn’t. And with gold medals from the first two stops in the postseason grind as proof, he’s extended the unbeaten run a couple more weeks.

“The win over (Robbins) was a confidence boost for me because he’s really good,” Carter said. “It’s great that I won sections and districts. But now I’d really like to win the regional, too.”

And get an ear-full of good news after about how he was the first to do it since Brian Campbell back in 1989.


Twenty-five area wrestlers have qualified for this week’s AAA Southeast Regional, and seven more were at it again Monday night trying to pin down the fifth and final qualifying spots in their respective weight classes. The seven, or their opponents, had already competed in the maximum number of bouts (five) permitted in one day on Saturday, so their showdowns were pushed back a couple of days.

Boyertown headlines the list with eight (with a possibility of two more), followed by Upper Perkiomen with four, and Methacton, Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford with three each, although the Rams had two attempting to take fifth on Monday night.


There was a lot of Lion pride over at St. Pius X this past weekend. District champions Conor Myers and Josh Rogers as well as teammates Jared Robbins and John Cherneski all qualified for the Class AA Southeast Regional.

The 152-pound Myers has lost just once since Dec. 30 of last year and is 25-3 on the season. He was 3-19 as a freshman, before breaking even at 16-16 last year. The 215-pound Rogers, who is 25-5 this season, has had a similar turnaround with 51 of his 70 career wins and 32 of his 44 career pins coming over the past two years.

Robbins, only a junior, didn’t even get on the mats this season until the first week of January. And Cherneskie, a sophomore, is in his first year of wrestling.


Daniel Boone junior Colin Martucci came up one win short of a berth in the state tournament after finishing fourth during last weekend’s AAA Southcentral Regional.

The 145-pound Martucci battled back from a second-round loss to eventual champion Bo Candaleria of Middletown with three straight wins – the last a 3-1 overtime decision of Cocalico’s Tyler Fittery, who defeated him in the sectional championship a week earlier. However, 4-2 setback in the consolation final to Mechanicsburg’s Rustin Barrick ended Martucci’s season at 31-6.


West-Mont Christian Academy head coach Jason Meister – who knew a little bit about wrestling (and winning) as a state medalist at Phoenixville High School and as a four-time NCWA All-American at Baptist Bible College – has a lot to look forward to next season. Two of his three medalists from the state prep tournament two weeks ago return … and return for a few years, too.

Austin Mortimer, an eighth-grader, was fifth at 103 pounds; Chris Martorana, the lone senior of the threesome, was seventh at 112; and John Hunter, a junior, was eighth at 160.

Mortimer is the first eighth-grader at WMCA to medal in a postseason tournament. Martorana finished second on the school’s career win list behind 2008 graduate Will Singer.


More than 440 wrestlers representing 142 schools participated in the National Prep Championships last weekend at Lehigh University. But it was the same old story as Blair Academy, with six individual champions and two runners-up, won its 30th consecutive team title with 274 points.

Wyoming Seminary was second (237), while Bishop Lynch (173.5) was a very distant third. The Hill School tied for 42nd place.

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