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 4, 2011

Sectionals deserve a Top Ten list

This column originally ran in the Feb. 22, 2011, edition of The Mercury.

There’s absolutely no shortage of topics – actually highlights – to talk about. Not after so many area wrestlers stepped up, and stepped up in such a big way, throughout the opening weekend of the postseason.

The Pioneer Athletic Conference, subjected to considerable criticism for getting seven spots in the district duals earlier this month, closed some more, if not the remaining, experts’ traps. Those seven teams finished one-two-three in one section; first and third in another; and a strong second and fifth in the other. And, with a little help from Phoenixville, the teams combined for 19 individual gold medals – or just under 50 percent of the total up for grabs in those three sections – and advanced 58 to the District 1’s split scuffle this Friday and Saturday.

Up Route 724 (or just off Business 222) in Shillington, Daniel Boone had a pair of gold medalists and two runners-up in a very good District 3 section struggle. And down in Westtown at the state prep tournament, The Hill School had six medalists, and West-Mont Christian and Perkiomen School – two programs that get little if any recognition and even less respect – added four and one, respectively.

Yep, not a bad weekend at all.

So good, in fact, it warrants one of Dave’s Top Ten Lists (Dave would be Lettermen for those youngsters and older folks who hit the pillow before 11:30 at night):

No. 1: A no-brainer… Boyertown’s Pardovani Dominque’s gold medal at 215 pounds in the District 1-Section Four Tournament. Just over 13 months ago, Dominque was one of three million people affected by the earthquake that killed more than 316,000 people in his native Haiti. Three months later, because illnesses and violence that further ravaged his country, Dominque’s parents sent him and his two brothers to live with their aunt in the Boyertown area. He never stepped on a wrestling mat until this past November, but he sure completed the learning curve Saturday when he knocked off the No. 2 seed and, two bouts later, the No. 1 seed for the gold medal.

No. 2: Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford and Boyertown go one, two, three in the District 1-Section Four Tournament, win 10 of the 14 gold medals, and account for 26 of the 56 available district-qualifying berths … And, Upper Perkiomen, the program so many fans still (and so sadly) love to hate, runs off with yet another District 1-Section Two Tournament team championship (and extends its streak of having at least one section gold medalist to an area-high 13 straight years).

No. 3: Pottsgrove’s Zach Robinson and Methacton’s Brandan Clark both capture their fourth straight sectional titles. For Robinson, his school’s career-win leader, the achievement doubled that of any Falcons’ previous-best – two each by Mike Meko (1973-74) and Chris Beasley (1991-92). For Clark, who is zeroing in on the coveted career win-mark of three-time state medalist Dan Covatta, broke his school’s standard of three shared by a very select gang of Warriors that includes his older brother Brad.

No. 4: Owen J. Roberts freshman Colby Frank not only won the 119-pound gold medal, but OW honors in Section Four. Frank is good, and proved that quite often during the regular season. But opening with an 11-0 shutout, pinning the top seed who also happened to be a defending district champion, and then pinning the second seed in the final? One may say that kind of exceeded the expectations for Frank’s first postseason tournament.

No. 5: Owen J. Roberts sophomore Adam Moser opened at 130 with a technical fall, avenged a loss two weeks ago to Spring-Ford’s Jason Dombrosky with a 6-4 semifinal win over the No. 2 seed, then defeated No. 1 seed Brandon Arnsberger – a defending Class AA district champion and returning state medalist – in a thrilling final, 4-3 .

No. 6: Methacton’s Rob D’Annunzio, Pottsgrove’s T.J. Demetrio and Phoenixville’s Ken Cenci reached the 100-win career mark. While 100 wins in still an achievement worthy of recognition, it isn’t one worthy of “putting one up on the pedestal” as they say, not with the number of matches being wrestled these days. But D’Annunzio spent most of his freshman season on the junior varsity (the mighty mite was 80 pounds soaking wet); Demetrio wasn’t getting on the mats anywhere near 40 times in a season like most do nowadays; and Cenci had a losing record as a freshman, an injury or two after that, and a less-than-bustling schedule similar to Demetrio’s. He also became Phoenixville’s first sectional champion in nine long years.

No. 7: Pin, pin, pin… that’s what Upper Perkiomen’s Cody Ambrose (171 pounds) and Methacton’s Clark (215) did. The name of the game is pin, and you can bet the house that’s what Upper Perkiomen’s Tom Hontz and Methacton’s A.J. Maida teach and preach every day in their practice rooms. Hey, three of them in a postseason tournament is usually good as gold.

No. 8: Boyertown senior Jeremy Minich is back looking like a contender again and not the pretender he admittedly was at the outset of the season. Three days into the New Year, Minich – well past the 100-win mark as a junior – owned a ho-hum 5-4 record. Since then, he’s won 20 in a row, putting up bonus points in all but one of those bouts, too. Saturday at Section Four, he posted a 21-second pin, a second-period technical fall, and second-period default for the gold he won two years ago but had eluded him last year.

No. 9: West-Mont munchkins Austin Mortimer and Zach Coffey finished fifth and fourth, respectively, at 103 and 112 pounds during the state prep tournament. The pair came out of nowhere under head coach Jason Meister, who knows a little bit about the sport after winning more than 100 bouts and two state medals at Phoenixville and going on to become a four-time NCWA All-American.

No. 10: The Methacton Connection, courtesy of Maida, Pottsgrove head coach Jeff Madden and Perkiomen Valley head coach Tim Walsh – all of whom wrestled at Methacton, all under Dennis Kellon (now the chairman of the District 1 Wrestling Committee). Maida has his alma mater on the upswing again, and finishing second to Norristown in Section Three was admirable. Madden built Wissahickon into one of the district’s most respected programs, then came out of a brief retirement to take over the Pottsgrove program. In three short seasons, the Falcons have done an about-face – sending more wrestlers off to districts than any team before them had in 20 years (and that was when they were in the Class AA bracket) and finishing higher in Saturday’s sectional (third) than any team before them ever had. Walsh has been as devoted to the Vikings’ program as anyone anywhere. During the regular season, one individual win in three matches against Methacton, Upper Perkiomen and Boyertown would’ve make them 7-2 in the PAC-10, but his team showed its resiliency and energy over the weekend by advancing six to districts (and to think they’ve done all that without having the injured Lou Fioravanti the entire season).


The future continues to look bright for PAC-10 schools in light of last weekend’s annual Southeastern Pennsylvania Junior High/Middle School Tournament at Quakertown.

Spring-Ford, which had two champions and medaled in 15 of the 18 weight classes, ran away with the team title (283.5). Boyertown East (195), Owen J. Roberts (187.5) and Upper Perkiomen (160.5) were second, third and fourth, respectively. Boyertown West was 11th, Pottstown was 12th, Phoenixville and Pottsgrove tied for 13th, and Perkiomen Valley was 19th in the 27-team field.

The Rams’ gold medalists were Matt Krieble (97 pounds) and Tate Carter (157), while teammates Hunter Mitch (82), Jon Cooper (140) and Danny Krieble (167) were all second. The Rams had three finish third, another fourth, four in fifth place, and two more in sixth.

Boyertown East’s individual champions were Lucas Miller (87) and Dante Colonna (132); OJR had a tournament-high three champions in Derrick Gulotta (112), Domenic Petrucelli (117), and Demetri D’Orsaneo (140); Upper Perkiomen had two in Dustin Steffenino (82) and Jake Keiper (107; Pottstown had two in Logan Pennypacker (77) and Bryant Wise (102); and Pottsgrove had one in Patrick Flynn (187).



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