by Tom Utescher
Germantown Friends’ old Smith Gymnasium could never be described as overheated on the typical winter’s day, but in last Tuesday’s deep freeze an additional layer of indoor clothing was definitely called for as participants and spectators gathered for the Tigers’ Friends Schools League dual meet debut.
GFS easily overcame short-staffed Abington Friends, 45-15, and the Tigers recorded a 45-6 non-league victory against a second group of visitors, a Girard College club that arrived with just four wrestlers and saw one of them fail to make weight. The twin victories produced a 7-2 dual meet record for the Germantown grapplers, who have also participated in a number of tournaments during the first six weeks of the season.
Tuesday’s encounter was actually the first regular meet of the season for Abington Friends, which seems strange until one learns that the Kangaroos ended up not fielding a team at all last winter.
There were mutual forfeits by the ‘Roos and the Tigers in 106, 113, and 285 lb. weight classes, while Abington picked up six team points through a GFS forfeit elsewhere, and the home team gained 24 points thanks to AFS no-shows. GFS won four of the five matches that actually took place, three by pin.
The starting weight for the Friends Schools League match-up was 120 lbs., and Germantown quickly took a 12-0 lead in the team scoring as senior Elliott Wattenbarger accepted an AFS forfeit at that weight, and sophomore teammate Nick Wells did the same at 126 lbs. Abington’s lone win came in a high-scoring decision at 132 lbs., where Germantown sophomore Rob Wilf found himself trailing 6-1 at the conclusion of the first round, and 10-4 at the end of the second.
Several times, Abington’s man increased his margin by scoring takedowns and then allowing Wilf to an escape, but he took this strategy too far at the end of the third period. Scoring a takedown that gave him enough of a lead for a major decision (at 14-6), he let Wilf up with less than 10 seconds to go and didn’t have time to ring up another takedown. This cost Abington one team point, as the bout ended in a 14-7 regular decision that set the team tally at 12-3.
At 138 lbs., yet another Tigers 10th-grader, Bix Komita-Moussa, opened with a takedown, then suffered a reversal. Regaining control to end the first frame with a 4-2 edge, he went on to lead 12-2 in the second period before nailing a pin with eight seconds left.
After the home team forfeited to the visitors at 145 lbs., GFS went up by a dozen points (21-9) thanks to a hard-fought win by Matt Reed at 152. The senior scored his points on takedowns, one at the outset, and one off of a neutral start in the second period.
After Reed led 4-1 in the middle of the second round, his Kangaroo rival scored an escape later on and then got another point by escaping from the bottom position at the start of the third period. Neither grappler could execute a takedown at the end, and Reed prevailed, 4-3.
Next up were sophomore twins Dash and Gabe Buyske-Friedberg. At 160 lbs.,
Dash quickly scored a takedown, then wrapped up his bout with a pin just 54 seconds into the action. Brother Gabe needed a little longer to wrap up his 170 lb. contest, but still got the job done in the opening round, flattening his opponent’s shoulders with 17 seconds remaining.
The team tally rose to 45-9 as Abington forfeited to GFS sophomore Jared Lazorko at 182 lbs. and to freshman Tunde Sogo at 195. The final meet score of 45-15 went up on the board with the Tigers’ forfeit to AFS at 220 lbs.
Multiple forfeits by Girard led to an Abington Friends victory in the next stage of the meet, then the proceedings concluded with Girard facing host GFS. The final here was 45-6, with Girard picking up its points though a forfeit at heavyweight by the Tigers.
Germantown won six matches by forfeit and two others out on the mat. Wells, who had been idle against Abington, got to wrestle against the Cavaliers at 126 lbs. After a 0-0 opening period, Wells gained a 6-5 edge during the second. He scored an escape in the third period and also picked up some points through penalties on Girard, winning a 9-5 decision.
At 170 lbs., Gabe Buyske-Friedberg rang up his second pin of the afternoon, conquering his Cavalier rival in the middle of the first period.