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, March 21, 2012

Cloud of uncertainty hangs over sectionals

Published in the Feb. 17, 2012 print edition of The Mercury.

Sometimes, much like one of those Mark Smith and Chris Sheetz from-out-of-nowhere-headlocks a few years back, the names and numbers just jump off the bracket sheets at you.

Unfortunately, with six sectionals officially kicking off the 88th postseason in District 1 wrestling history – today isn’t, oddly enough, one of those sometimes.

There are, of course, a gang of individuals who like both Smith and Sheetz have already made names for themselves, none better perhaps than Council Rock South’s Billy Rappo, a returning state champion, or Norristown’s Shane Springer, who has trashed the Pennsylvania career pin record.

However, one would have to have quite a memory to recall when there was a greater a cloud of uncertainty hanging over District 1’s rank and file on opening day of the postseason.

There is considerable talent, but the names and numbers reflect just how low the count of proven talent there really is. At weigh-ins this morning, there will be only 17 state qualifiers from a year ago. Among them are a mere three state medalists (Rappo and Norristown teammates Zach Fuentes and Brett Harner, who were both fourth). If you’d like to boost those respective numbers by one, go ahead and add in Springer, who attended La Salle last year and finished fifth.

But still only 17 returning state qualifiers ... by far the lowest number in recent memory. And it’s a number that warrants an underline, if not an asterisk after it, because not one single returning qualifier (except Springer at 170) is situated in the upper portion of any section bracket. In other words, the proverbial cupboard is bare, state-tournament experience wise, from 170 on up through 285.

However (admit it, you were waiting for the however), don’t think the wrestling will be anything short of competitive – or entertaining today.

There are 27 individuals looking to defend their section titles – four in Section One, five in Section Two, four in Section Three, another five in Section Four, three in Section Five, and six in Section Six. Nearly one-third of them – Pennsbury teammates Anthony DiEmedio and Josh DiSanto, Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s Justin Staudenmayer, and Norristown’s Harner, Owen J. Roberts’ Andrew Kinney, Interboro’s Wayne Armstrong, and Rustin teammates Corey McQuiston and Steve Quinn – are looking for their third section titles.

And there will be countless others, of course, grappling for gold – some who came oh so close a year ago; some who have done an about-face since last year; and some newcomers, like a very, very noticeable group of promising freshmen and sophomores, who are looking to make a name for themselves (and looking to make one now).

So, while the numbers and names may not exactly be jumping off the bracket sheets at you this morning, well... by tonight, and in the ensuing three weeks, they just may.

Welcome to the postseason.

* * *

A glimpse into the area’s three sectionals...

In Section Two, Upper Perkiomen freshman Dustin Steffenino drew a sixth seed at 106, while his junior twin brothers Dante and Dylan Steffenino are the top seeds at 113 and 126, respectively. Dylan won a section title two years ago. The Indians have two other defending champions in Kyle Fellman, seeded fifth at 120, and Wolfgang McStravick, seeded first at 132. ... Quakertown’s Tyler Seislove, the son of former Spring-Ford standout Dan Seislove and nephew of Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove, is the No. 1 seed at 138. ... Pottsgrove’s Danny Michaels is on top the bracket at 160, and freshman Patrick Finn is second at 195. Sophomore teammate Nico Demetrio is third at 132, sandwiched in the bracket between McStravick and C.B. East’s Francesco Fabozzi. ... Phoenixville’s Brendan Bonner could surprise as a second seed at 145.

In Section Three, Methacton picked up three first seeds with Eric Straup (113), Brett Duvernois (120) and Tracey Green (285). ... Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Perkiomen Valley didn’t get any, but Nick Giangiulio (145) and Anthony DiElsi (182) are second seeds. The Vikings’ Luke DiElsi, who lost just once this winter, isn’t competing in the postseason due to a nagging injury.

In Section Four, look for a brawl in the 120 final between top-seed Colby Frank of Owen J. Roberts and either second-seed and defending champion Sean Hennessey of Spring-Ford or third-seed Ed Kriczky of Boyertown. Even that one may pale in comparison to an expected rematch between Boyertown’s Jon Neiman and OJR’s Kyle Shronk, the top two seeds, respectively, at 152. ... PAC-10 and District 1 Team Duals champion Owen J. Roberts owns nearly half of the top seeds with Frank, defending champions Adam Moser (138) and Andrew Kinney (145), Mike Lenge (160), Gordon Bolig (170), and Brad Trego (285). ... Spring-Ford has a top seed at 113 with defending champion Chase Brown.

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