by Tom Utescher

Host Germantown Academy held a 27-18 lead with three matches to go in last Friday’s Inter-Ac League wrestling meet, then visiting Springside Chestnut Hill won decisions at 195, 220 and 285 lbs. to tie the team score at 27-all.

Working through the tiebreaking criteria, it was determined that the number of individual matches won would determine the official outcome. There had been two double forfeits and the visiting Blue Devils had won seven of the 12 bouts out on the mat, thus earning the victory.

SCH, which had previously defeated Episcopal Academy, ended its Inter-Ac schedule with a 2-3 record, while the Patriots came away with an 0-4 mark and with a rescheduled contest with Penn Charter still on the docket. Penn Charter, which defeated Springside Chestnut Hill but lost to Episcopal, will come into that match (Friday at GA) with a 1-3 mark in Inter-Ac dual meets.

Before last Friday’s clash commenced, GA recognized its three seniors, wrestler Dan Smith and efficient team managers Shannon Hill and Elise Shirakawa.

The meet then began in the traditional format, starting at the low end of the weight scale with the 106 lb. category. Both teams forfeited here, so the true action began at 113 lbs., where the home team’s Chris Kim took on Springside Chestnut Hill sophomore Simon Kioko. Kim, who is enjoying a highly-successful freshman season (usually competing at 106 lbs.) took a 5-0 lead on points before ending the contest with a pin before the first period expired.

The 120 lb. encounter almost made it to a second round, but after going up 8-0 on the scoreboard, GA’s Brandon Seidman pinned fellow junior Jordan Bell with five seconds left in the opening period. Now ahead 12-0 in the team score, the Patriots immediately gave half of those points back by forfeiting to Blue Devils sophomore Luke Purcell at 126 lbs.

SCH balanced the scoreboard at 12-all in the 132 lb. class, where a pair of ninth-graders grappled. Visitor Marco Goldberg used a takedown and back points to carry a 6-0 lead out of the first period, and by the end of the second installment he owned a 13-1 advantage over the Patriots’ Deon Savage.

Starting on top in the third and allowing Savage to escape, Goldberg then executed a takedown and recorded a pin with 1:21 remaining. With this result, he extended his school record number of wins by a freshman to 26.

Initially, it looked like SCH would pick up six forfeit points at 138 lbs., but after some debate, it was determined that the Blue Devil intended for this match had weighed in at too low a number. A double forfeit was declared, leaving the meet tally at 12-12.

The match score was still 0-0 after the first period in a hard-fought 145 lb. bout. In the second, SCH junior Kyle Williams escaped and then executed a takedown to bring a 3-0 lead into the third stanza. He then had to try and maintain control of GA junior George Schwartz the rest of the way.

Schwartz almost escaped in the middle of the period, but Williams hung onto one foot and the pair tumbled out of bounds. The GA man did escape later on, but only nine seconds remained and Williams emerged with a 3-1 victory.

Another win by decision at 152 lbs. gave the visitors an 18-12 lead in the meet. With a couple of takedowns in the opening frame, the Blue Devils’ Myles Hugee gained a 4-1 edge over GA’s Drew Sandifer, a fellow 11th-grader. Two back points made it 6-1 after two rounds, but the third period was more lively, with a series of escapes and takedowns resulting in a 12-6 decision for Hugee.

A very low-scoring bout followed, as juniors Mike Roman (GA) and Andrew Cramer (SCH) squared off at 160 lbs. Neither wrestler scored in the first period, then Cramer put up a point with an escape early in the second. It was still 1-0 for the start of the third round after Roman fought off a takedown attempt by his rival.

Starting on the bottom, Roman almost escaped midway through the final period, but both wrestlers travelled outside the circle. However, during an extended stretch of struggling to control Roman, SCH’s Cramer was penalized one point for locking hands, tying the match score. Roman pulled out a 2-1 decision at the end by escaping with just seven seconds on the clock.

This result got Germantown back with three points in the meet score, 15-18, and then the Patriots vaulted into the lead as Springside Chestnut Hill forfeited to junior Dom Sinker at 170 lbs. and to freshman Trae Vance at 182. SCH would work its way back by capturing three relatively low-scoring decisions.

In the 195 lb. class, the only point scored during the first two periods came on an escape in the second by Ben Sawyer of GA. The Blue Devils’ Sean Edling, also an 11th-grader, escaped at the start of the third period to tie the score, then he secured a takedown to post a 3-1 decision. Both wrestlers left the mat a little banged up after they collided several times while attempting takedowns or attempting to fend one off.

SCH senior Michael Spirito opened the 220 lb. contest with a takedown. After giving up a reversal and yielding control to Patriots junior Pat Salmon, Spirito escaped to lead 3-2 for the beginning of the second period. Salmon escaped from the bottom starting position, creating a 3-3 tie that held until the end of the round.

Spirito started down for the third period, and he finally was able to work his way free to score a decisive escape point with 52 seconds remaining. In turn, each wrestler came close to completing a takedown during the waning moments, but neither scored and the 4-3 decision for SCH moved the visitors within three points of the Pats in the team tally, 27-24.

Smith, GA’s lone senior wrestler, moved up from his normal weight of 220 to take on the much larger Sean McCann, a junior who was to be the Blue Devils’ regular 285-pounder but who has had to come back after being out with an injury early in the season. Smith shot for a number of takedowns employing solid technique, but simply had trouble budging the bigger visitor.

Smith still was able to score the first point of the contest with an escape about half-a-minute into the second period, but a little later McCann took down the GA senior and then briefly turned him for a pair of back points.

Starting on the bottom for round three with a 4-1 lead, McCann picked up another point with an escape. With a little over 40 seconds to go Smith was finally able to take down the big man to make it 5-3, but McCann soon escaped for a 6-3 final score that tied the meet at 27-27.

The first tiebreaking rule that applied was the total number of matches won by each team, and with one pin, one win by forfeit, and five decisions, Springside Chestnut Hill won out 7-5 over GA, which recorded two pins, two forfeit wins, and one decision over the course of the afternoon.