by Tom Utescher
Anyone who had another commitment scheduled soon after last Wednesday’s Inter-Ac League wrestling meet in Chestnut Hill needn’t have worried about a time crunch. Due to personnel shortages and strategic coaching decisions, the outcome in only six of the 14 weight classes was actually decided man-to-man, while the rest of the meet flew by with forfeits.
Visiting Penn Charter has been coping with a few gaps in its line-up this season, but in that regard Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s problems have been of epic proportions. Things were not at their worst for the host Blue Devils on Wednesday, but they still gave up 30 team points through forfeits in five matches, providing more than half of PC’s total in the Quakers’ 54-18 victory.
Charter, which has had some scheduled dual meets postponed, picked up its first Inter-Ac victory at SCH after falling to Germantown Academy and Haverford School in its first two outings. Following Wednesday’s event, the Blue Devils were still searching for that elusive first win, with only second-place Malvern Prep left on their league schedule.
PC led the whole way during last week’s visit to Chestnut Hill, quickly taking a 6-0 lead as freshman David Woodruff accepted a forfeit at the official starting weight of 132 lbs.
Two ninth-grade wrestlers checked in for the 138 lb. match, but this one was over quickly as PC’s Akeem Blake used up just 53 seconds as he took down and pinned Grant Dalsemer of the host team. The meet score shot up to 18-0 with a Blue Devil forfeit at 145 lbs., where the free ride went to a visiting junior, David Smith.
The 152 lb. encounter was one of just two matches that went the distance. This didn’t seem likely early in the bout, as Charter freshman Chris Johnson almost secured a quick pin and came out of the first period with a 5-0 lead over another ninth-grader, Parker Popky. The persistent Popky actually closed up the score to 8-6 with a takedown early in the third round, but Johnson escaped and soon wrapped up a 9-7 decision.
Compared to this battle, the action was over in a flash at 160, where 23 seconds had gone off the clock when Quakers freshman David Groshens pinned Nick Franz, an SCH sophomore.
With that, the team tally bumped up to 27-0 in favor of the visitors, then the home side of the scoreboard finally came to life. This was due to a Penn Charter forfeit at 170 lbs., with freshman Michael Spirito collecting the points for Springside Chestnut Hill.
The Quakers reclaimed those six points through the efforts of 182 lb. junior Jelani Buie, who pinned sophomore Kevin O’Donnell of the Devils with 46 ticks to go in round one.
Next, PC picked up its second win by decision in a low-scoring struggle at 195 lbs. Neither SCH sophomore Jake Purcell nor Charter freshman Harold Anderson scored during the first period, and by the middle of the third frame the score was still even, now at 2-2. Anderson emerged with a 4-2 victory after completing a takedown with 17 seconds remaining in the match.
SCH junior standout Desmond Johnson, who often wrestles at 195, had bumped up a class to 220 lbs., but the Quakers still wanted no part of him. They forfeited the bout, bringing the meet score to 36-12.
The visitors went back up by 30 points as junior Ricky Peterson benefitted from the home team’s forfeit at 285. The meet score then remained at 42-12 as neither school was able to produce a 106-pounder.
In the final three weight classes, SCH forfeits at 113 (to PC freshman Gene Namousky) and 126 lbs. (to ninth-grader Jack Roseman) were sandwiched around the sole Blue Devil victory out on the mat. At 120 lbs., Springside Chestnut Hill junior Jackson Bistrong scored takedown and near-fall points to build a 6-1 lead. Ultimately, he didn’t need it, as he pinned Charter sophomore James Frye with two seconds left in the opening period.