by Tom Utescher
As in some other dual meets this season, a lack of numbers cost the Germantown Friends wrestling team last Thursday as the Tigers traveled to Abington Friends School for the final Friends Schools League regular-season contest.
There were forfeits by one school or the other in seven of the 14 weight classes, and by foregoing five matches to Abington’s two, GFS was giving up 18 team points from the get-go. Where there actually was activity on the mat, each team recorded one pin, and Abington registered three wins by decision to one for GFS. In one weight class there was a mutual forfeit, so no points were added to the team score.
The resulting 39-27 victory secured third place in the league for the AFS Kangaroos, who would appear in the FSL tournament for the first time ever. Germantown Friends, finishing with a 1-4 dual meet record in league competition, would not be returning to the four-team postseason tourney.
Thursday’s bout began in the traditional way, at the light end of the weight scale. The zeroes stayed on the team scoreboard as neither squad sent out a grappler in the 106 lb. class. Abington quickly gained a 12-0 leg up in the meet as Germantown gave up six forfeit points in both the 113 and 120 lb. categories.
Over the first two periods at 126, GFS sophomore Guston Lowe scored a takedown and a reversal and Abington’s Tommy Yick picked up an escape and a reversal. Taking a 4-3 edge into the third round, Lowe escaped from the bottom position and then landed a takedown, completing a 7-3 decision to get the visitors on the scoreboard.
However, Abington soon owned an 18-3 lead due to a forfeit by the Tigers in the 130 lb. class. GFS senior Nick Wells notched a takedown to post the only points in the first period of the 138 lb. contest. He reversed Michael Sadowski of the home team in the second frame to enter the third round with a 4-0 advantage. From a neutral (standing) start, Wells netted his second takedown to round out a 6-0 decision.
The Kangaroos still led 18-6, and unfortunately for the Tigers, four more matches would come and go before they added points to visitors’ side of the scoreboard.
At 145 lbs., a takedown sent Jesse Kahn of the home team into the second period with a 2-0 edge over GFS sophomore Emmanuel Jones.
From the top position, Kahn broke down Jones at the start of round two, then as Jones tried to escape, the two rolled over and over in the prone position. Jones briefly had Kahn on his back, but another turn put the AFS man in control, and he notched a pin with 50 seconds remaining in the round.
Next, Germantown Friends handed over its last two forfeits at 152 and 160 lbs., boosting the AFS lead in the meet to a full 30 points at 36-6.
In the 170 lb. class two familiar rivals squared off. Germantown’s Jared Lazorko and Abington’s Doug Watford, both juniors, had faced one another many times in the past.
Knowing each other’s moves and tendencies, they had battled to a 0-0 standoff after three regulation periods. Just as one grappler appeared on the verge of completing a takedown, reversal, or escape, his rival would counter to keep him off the scoreboard. A 90-second overtime period ensued, and finally Watford was able to finish out a takedown with 23 ticks to go, claiming a 2-0 decision.
At 182 lbs., Germantown sent out senior Gabe Buyske-Friedberg, who had logged his 100th career victory on January 27 in a non-league meet with Solebury School. In the next meet, a victory over a Westtown School rival set him up for win number 102 at Abington. He quickly took down the Kangaroos’ Donovan Watford, and ended the bout through a pin with just 40 seconds elapsed.
Even so, the home team led 39-12, and now could afford to forfeit two of the last three matches on the docket. The Tigers collected free points at 195 lbs. thanks to Buyske-Friedberg’s twin brother, Dash, and at 285 lbs. courtesy of sophomore Quincy Henderson.
In the last match decided on the mat, 220 lb. GFS junior Tunde Sogo went up 2-0 in the first period as he took down Isaiah McNair with 10 seconds to go. Trying to maintain control from the top position at the start of the second round, Sogo was penalized for locking hands, and now only led 2-1.
That score held up until the end of the second stanza, and at the beginning of the third, Sogo escaped from underneath his opponent. McNair reinvigorated the home fans with a reversal to tie things up at 3-3, but Sogo had the last word, scoring a reversal of his own to pull out a 5-3 decision.