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, January 26, 2011

Let the show(s) begin


This column originally ran in Jan. 25, 2011 edition of The Pottstown Mercury

There are nine weeks, plus a day or two, in high school wrestling’s regular season. That’s a lot of tournaments and invitationals – for individuals as well as teams – sandwiched in and around league matches. Entertaining? For sure. Challenging? You better believe it.

But for four area teams, namely Methacton, Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen, there may never have been a Week Like This on any of their schedules … or anything like a Week That Was when it’s all said and done with.

In case you haven’t noticed, Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford are both 5-0 and atop the Pioneer Athletic Conference standings. Considering OJR has never won a PAC-10 title and Spring-Ford has only shared two of them since its own four-year run ended way back in 1993 – and considering someone other than Boyertown and Upper Perkiomen is unbeaten and on the top rung of those standings for the first time since 1997 – well, that’s kind of different to say the very least. And considering both Methacton and Upper Perkiomen have just one loss apiece means the PAC-10 title race is still an interesting four-team chase.

That, of course, is exciting.

Quite entertaining, too. And the show, or shows, all gets under way Wednesday night.

Methacton, which has improved tenfold since its mid-December, 36-24 loss to Upper Perkiomen, hosts Owen J. Roberts, which must guard against a letdown

after Saturday afternoon’s emotional 29-28 win over Boyertown. Upper Perkiomen, which has had a week to regroup from its narrow setback to OJR and to soothe any aches and pains, is at Spring-Ford, which has drawn rants and raves from a lot of wrestling folk but has yet to wrestle anyone among the upper-half of the PAC-10’s rank and file.

If you don’t get a “wow” out of Wednesday’s card, then you may want to loosen the chin strap on that headgear.

The entertainment switches channels less than 24 hours later, though, with the first two rounds of the District 1-AAA Team Duals Tournament.

More entertainment. And, as they say, the plot thickens.

Spring-Ford (No. 2), Owen J. Roberts (No. 4) and Upper Perkiomen (No. 6) drew very respectable seeds for the duals, and first-round byes. Methacton (No. 12) drew a first-round, roll-around with Ridley — which ran off 21 straight wins to start the season only to lose to Downingtown West (and it’s 6-8 record going in) last Saturday.

The duals are a challenge, no kidding. The bigger challenge will be coming back and wrestling in the duals a day after the those two huge PAC-10 matches that, regardless of their outcomes, could very, very easily be a setup for a letdown – of physical or mental, (or both) nature.

And the results of those PAC-10 and duals matches, at least for Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford and Methacton, could even impact what’s going on Saturday. Yep, hold on, there’s more.

On Saturday, Methacton visits Boyertown (the four-time defending champion isn’t exactly out of any title chase, at least officially, with two losses). If Methacton pulls off the upset of OJR on Wednesday, which most diehards outside Fairview Village don’t think it can, the Warriors visit to Boyertown on Saturday moves to a much bigger stage. Either way, though, Saturday’s headliner is in Bucktown, where OJR will host Spring-Ford – the match most fans have desperately been waiting for, but an outcome that will only postpone any legitimate celebration until the grand finale (Spring-Ford at Boyertown on Wednesday, Feb. 9) is over and done with.

And to think this is only the seventh week of the nine-week regular season…

*

Boyertown (No. 9) and Pottsgrove (No. 24) also earned spots in the District 1-AAA Duals. The defending district champion Bears beat the Falcons last week, 46-22, and, ironically, face off against one another again Wednesday night in a first-round match at the Pottsgrove Middle School. … To answer a question received by email, every one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s 10 teams are AAA schools for this year and next.

*

Up in the Berks Conference, Daniel Boone (3-3, 9-6) can clinch no worse than a tie for another Section Two title with a win over visiting Twin Valley (0-6, 4-12) on Wednesday night. Co-leader Muhlenberg (3-3, 8-12) entertains Conrad Weiser (1-5, 6-16). Needless to say, both the Blazers and Muhls are the favorites. But Daniel Boone will have to bounce back without a couple of injured starters, and that humbling 77-0 loss to Biglerville last Saturday. … The Berks Conference Team Duals will be held this Saturday.

*

The big step in the Central League championship chase will be taken Wednesday night, too, when Garnet Valley (6-0) entertains Ridley (7-0). Co-leader Marple-Newtown (7-0, 11-0), which shocked a lot of fans by not applying for entry in the District 1 Duals, still has to host Garnet Valley (Feb. 2) and visit Ridley (Feb. 12). … Also on for Wednesday night is the Unity Cup – featuring the Council Rock brawl between South and North, the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds, respectively, in the district duals.

WEIGHING IN

The PIAA reportedly likes the National Federation of High School’s new wrestling weight classes proposal, which is on the table now for the second straight year. And, according to Rod Frisco – who I respect as much if not more than anyone in the media – the executive staff will recommend the PIAA Board of Directors approve the proposal when they meet Thursday in Mechanicsburg.

The new lineup would be 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. But even if the PIAA approves the proposal, nothing would be official, or adopted, until the first or second week of April at the earliest … or until the NFHS national rules committee vote, the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee review of the proposal, and the NFHS Board of Directors’ final stamp of approval.

BIG NUMBERS

Congratulations to Pottstown for becoming the fourth – not sixth as previously reported – area program 11th in District 1 to reach 500 wins. The Trojans reached the milestone with a 55-18 rout of Concord, Del., during the Kennett Duals on Saturday. … Pottstown trails only Boyertown (519), Methacton (527) and Spring-Ford (529) on the local overall wins chart.

Congratulations to Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove, who picked up his 150th career win last Wednesday when the Rams defeated Perkiomen Valley. Seislove is third among active coaches, trailing only Pottsgrove’s Jeff Madden (279) and Uppper Perkiomen’s Tom Hontz (293).

Pottsgrove’s Zach Robinson broke the Falcons’ school record for career wins last week, passing Chris Beasley (112) and pushing his total up to 115. The two, along with Ryan Michaels (103) – who two younger brothers (Dan and Riley) are members of this year’s team – are the only Falcons to over the 100-win mark. … Perkiomen Valley’s Gavin Milligan (105) is closing in on the Vikings’ all-time mark of 111, set by the late Tim Smith. And Daniel Boone’s Colin Martucci (107) is closing in on the Blazers’ all-time mark of 116, set by Tyler Schwartz. … Methacton’s returning state medalist Brandan Clark (127), with another deep run into the postseason, could break the Warriors’ all-time mark of 145 set by state champion and three-time state medalist Dan Covatta. … Boyertown’s Jeremy Minich (118) and OJR’s Scott Syrek (107) are the only other active wrestlers with 100 or more wins. … Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s top-ranked John Staudenmayer last week became the district’s 20th wrestler to reach 150 career wins.

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