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

PAC-10 race is filled with questions

This column originally ran in the Jan. 11, 2011 edition of The Pottstown Mercury

The high school wrestling season passed the one-month mark last weekend. That’s four full weeks of invitationals this, classics that, duals marathons as well as the latest and greatest round-robin tournaments – even an occasional, old-fashioned dual meet.

Problem is, there seems to be as many unanswered questions now as there were on the so-called “official” opening day of practice back in November.

None seems to have been tossed around more than who (or whom) is (or are) going to win the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Please, watch your grammar answering that one. Watch it carefully, because even though Boyertown at first was far and away the favorite among the matheads to win a fifth straight title, there doesn’t seem to be a favorite any more … only favorites.

It’s gotten to the point now that it just may depend on where you live (you know, root-root-root for the home team).

In less time than it took Rulon Gardner to drop 32 pounds from his 474-pound frame on The Biggest Loser, Owen J. Roberts served notice it would

be one of the contenders by taking down Boyertown on opening day — in front of the hometown folks, no less — at the Bear Duals. Upper Perkiomen established itself as a legitimate contender with early decisions of Methacton and Perkiomen Valley (more on these two later). And now, Spring-Ford – the only team other than Boyertown or Upper Perkiomen to win a PAC-10 title since 1998 – has quietly made it a foursome.

So guess what?

There isn’t likely to be an answer, or champion (dare we say champions), until Spring-Ford visits Boyertown to settle their own issue on the final night of the PAC-10 season next month – Wednesday, Feb. 9, to be exact.

From now until then the four contenders not only must deal with one another, of course, but with a few others very, very capable of turning this championship chase into a round-robin ruckus. The few others? Methacton and Perkiomen Valley, as stated earlier, and Pottsgrove. If healthy, if determined to stay off their backs, if able to avoid surrendering bonus points – agreed, that’s a lot of “ifs” – all three could pull off a surprise or two. Coulda, shoulda… be careful.

Be careful time, or ready to go from the opening whistle, begins this Wednesday for Owen J. Roberts, which entertains Perkiomen Valley, and for Spring-Ford, which hosts Pottsgrove.

The Wildcats have two notable starters out of the lineup right now. Make no mistake about it, they’re good, but still not as good as they’d be with Jordan Moser and Scott Syrek in the lineup. Head coach Steve DeRafelo would like nothing more than to have them both weighing in next week when OJR has to go back-to-back with Upper Perkiomen (Wednesday) and Boyertown (Saturday). But first there’s PV, a team that had both Methacton and Upper Perkiomen beat until the final bout in each determined otherwise.

Spring-Ford may actually have the most balanced lineup of anyone right now, but needs that balance to offset Pottsgrove’s four (perhaps five) big guns. The Rams also need to remain focused – not to mention healthy – through the next week or so before finishing up with Upper Perkiomen, Owen J. Roberts and Boyertown.

Upper Perkiomen may be the unknown factor in the championship equation at this juncture because the Indians have done most of their wrestling in North Carolina and Virginia. They can wield a punch down low and in the upper portion of their lineup. They showed some spunk in the wins over Methacton and Perkiomen Valley. Whether they contend or pretend will be determined in the next week and a half, or following encounters with Boyertown (this Saturday) and Owen J. Roberts (next Wednesday).

Which brings us back to Boyertown, where this whole darn conversation – or argument – started.

Mark it down. Even though there is a noticeable hole or two in their lineup, magnified even more now that Zach Heffner is reportedly done for the season because of an injury, the Bears are still the team to beat.

Can they, or will they, get beat – is the big question.

But for now, no more questions … please.


Perkiomen Valley’s Gavin Milligan and Daniel Boone’s Colin Martucci last weekend became the second and third area wrestlers to reach the coveted 100 career wins mark this season, the 90th and 91st overall from The Mercury area.

Milligan joined the late Tim Smith (111) as the only Vikings to hit the mark, while Martucci joined Eddie Lockowitz (103) and Tyler Schwartz (116) as the only Blazers to achieve the feat.

With the milestone win out of the way, the 145-pound Milligan wouldn’t mind penciling his name into another column at Perkiomen Valley – which hasn’t had a postseason champion or a state qualifier since 2004.

The 152-pound Martucci, the son of former St. Pius X head coach John Martucci, is geared toward ending his own personal postseason frustration. The senior is a two-time section runner-up who came within one win of qualifying for states last year with a fourth at the AAA Southcentral Regional. Daniel Boone hasn’t had a state medalist 1999, either.


As many as five others – Phoenixville’s Ken Cenci, Pottsgrove’s T.J. Demetrio, Spring-Ford’s Matt Krueger, Owen J. Roberts’ Jonathan Dempsey and Methacton’s Rob D’Annunzio – are likely to reach the 100-win mark before season’s end, too.

Cenci would become Phoenixville’s fourth with 100 or more, while Demetrio would join Ryan Michaels (104), teammate Zach Robinson (107) and Chris Beasley (112) as the lone Falcons on the list.

The area’s active career win leaders are Boyertown’s Jeremy Minich (114), Methacton’s Brandan Clark (111), Robinson and Owen J. Roberts’ Scott Syrek (103), who has yet to wrestle this season due to an injury.


And speaking of wins, Spring-Ford is now the area’s leader with 526 victories in the history of its program. Methacton (518), with just two duals thus far this season, and Boyertown (517) are the only other area programs with 500-plus wins. Pottstown is just four shy of joining that select group.

District 7 power Canon-McMillan, which defeated Upper Perkiomen in the season-opening Quakertown Duals last month, is the runaway leader in all-time wins. The Macs opened the year with 954.


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