by Tom Utescher
After placing fourth out of 16 teams at Germantown Academy’s tournament on the first weekend of the month, the wrestlers of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy picked up a pair of dual-meet wins on a trip out to Bucks County last Wednesday afternoon.
In the first match of a tri-meet at George School, the Blue Devils easily overcame the host Cougars, 66-12. Immediately after that, SCH received more resistance from New Jersey’s Lawrenceville School, but put together some late wins in the upper weight classes to defeat the Big Red, 48-30.
This raised the team’s record in dual meets to 3-0. In their first encounter of the season at the end of November, the Devils had defeated George School’s fellow Friends Schools League member Academy of the New Church, 63-12.
In the tourney at GA, an SCH squad that includes many seasoned wrestlers received second-place finishes from seniors Kyle Williams and Andrew Cramer at 145 and 160 lbs., respectively, junior Luke Purcell at 132 and sophomore Marco Goldberg at 138. Coming in third were junior Simon Kioko (120), senior Myles Hugee (152) and freshman Tyler Guzik (170).
Kioko could not attend Wednesday’s tri-meet, but the rest of the Blue Devils were there, including 2017-18 SCH senior captains Hugee, Williams and the team’s 285-pounder, Sean McCann.
The encounter with George School began at the light end of the weight scale, and both schools chose to forego the 106 lb. class. After freshman Luke Neverosky got the visitors on the board with a first-period pin at 113, a pair of forfeits by George School were sandwiched around one by SCH to put the Blue Devils up 18-6 in the team score.
Freshman Justin Moderski accepted the Cougar forfeit at 120 lbs., while Purcell pocketed the points at 132. Next up was Goldberg at 138, who rolled up a double-digit lead in points before pinning his rival with a minute and 14 seconds remaining in the second period. At 145, Williams matted his man in just 29 seconds, spreading the score to 30-6.
Hugee’s opponent escaped after the SCH senior took him down the first time, but Hugee soon had him down on the mat again, finishing the 152 lb. bout with a first-period pin. The 160 lb. contest didn’t reach a second round, either, thanks to a victorious Cramer. The young Guzik (170 lbs.) earned a modest 2-0 lead in the first period, then rang up a pin in the middle of the second stanza for a 48-6 team tally.
George School doubled its team score when Blue Devils junior Joe McDermott succumbed to a pin in the second period at 182. The Cougars gave six team points right back by forfeiting at 195.
SCH senior Sean Edling actually qualified to wrestle at that weight, but instead moved up to compete at 220 lbs. Nevertheless, he needed just 47 seconds to secure a pin. After registering a quick takedown at 285, the Blue Devils’ McCann turned over his rival at the one-minute mark and pinned him seven seconds later, completing the Devils’ decisive victory.
Lawrenceville would not go down nearly as easily. SCH immediately fell behind by forfeiting at the opening weight, 113 lbs.
Moderski went up 12-7 at 120, but then became the victim of a reversal and a pin. When the Blue Devils chose not provide an opponent for the Lawrenceville 126, they trailed 18-0. Purcell wiped the zero off his team’s side of the scoreboard, building up a 7-1 advantage in the first round and then pinning his 132 lb. rival in the second.
In fact, the Big Red would not score again until the 182-pounders took the mat. Goldberg pinned in the opening frame at 138, but Williams had a longer road to victory at 145, where the first period ended at 0-0. Over the next two rounds, points picked up by Williams for a reversal were balanced by two Lawrenceville escapes to send the match into overtime at 2-2.
Neither wrestler scored in the first of the three 30-second OT extensions. Choosing to start the second session on the bottom after he won a coin toss, Williams completed a reversal with just four seconds remaining. In the third overtime period, Lawrenceville closed it up to 3-4 with an escape, but time would run out with both wrestlers on their feet and the win going to Williams.
At 152, 160 and 170 lbs., Hugee, Cramer and Guzik all secured pins late in the first period. At 182 an inexperienced SCH sophomore, Aatrox Wang, was pinned in the second period, and Lawrenceville had brought its deficit back down to single digits, now trailing 33-24. The Larries crept closer still (33-30) when Springside Chestnut Hill forfeited the 195 lb. contest.
Three weight classes remained, but with Lawrenceville due to forfeit the last one (106 lbs.), the Big Red need at least two technical falls (yielding five meet points each) at 220 and 285 in order to surpass the total of 39 points SCH would certainly accumulate.
That became a moot point when Edling took care of business in the first of these bouts, notching a pin in 38 seconds in the 220 lb. match.
No matter the team standings, everyone likes to see the big boys go at it, and at the end of two periods at 285 lbs. the Devils’ McCann was tied, 2-2, with the largest of the Larries. He picked up his winning point by escaping 25 seconds into round three, and was actually the aggressor for much of the time remaining.