by Tom Utescher
A trip to central Pennsylvania two weekends ago netted bronze medals for grapplers from Germantown Friends and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, as the two schools, along with Penn Charter, competed in the 2014 Pa. Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament at Mercersburg Academy.
Third-place finishes were recorded by GFS senior Matt Reed at 152 lbs. and by SCH junior Desmond Johnson at 195 lbs.
Reed went 4-1 in his tournament matches, losing only to the eventual class champion, Nick Reenan from Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes Barre. In his final match he claimed third place with a decision over Rich Souders of Haverford School.
Johnson went 3-1 at the tournament, clinching the bronze medal with a decision over Friends Central’s Jamal Sample. His lone setback was a 2-5 decision against class runner-up Michael Rogers, another standout from Wyoming Seminary (which won the team title for a ninth consecutive year).
Just as encouraging as Reed’s results for GFS fans was the fact that the Tigers came in 11th in the team standings, despite having no entries in four of the 14 weight classes. The top eight finishers at each weight receive awards at the tournament, and Germantown Friends had a total of six athletes earn that distinction.
Sophomore Gabe Buyske-Friedberg finished 5th at 170 lbs., encountering the eventual bronze medalist along the way as he went 3-2 during his tournament run. His twin brother Dash, one class below at 160 lbs., came away with sixth-place, as did 120 lb. Elliott Wattenbarger, the only other senior besides Reed on the young GFS roster.
Two other Tigers earned eighth-place honors, sophomore Nick Wells at 126 lbs., and freshman Tunde Sogo, at 195.
Springside Chestnut Hill, which had problems all season long finding bodies for a number of weight categories, took just seven men to Mercersburg but still came in ahead of three other schools, landing in 16th place with 21 points.
Most of SCH’s total stemmed from Johnson’s efforts at 195, while 120 lb. junior Jackson Bistrong won one of his three matches. After dropping his opening bout, he pinned Episcopal Academy’s Brandon Sheppard, then Bistrong finished up on the losing end of a 6-4 decision against Germantown Friends’ Wattenbarger.
Penn Charter, which entered 10 wrestlers in the tournament, wound up in a tie with West-Mont Christian Academy for 17th place as each team put up 15 points. At 285 lbs., junior Ricky Peterson placed seventh for PC, with his opponents including the class champion from Wyoming Seminary, Jake Scanlan. Eighth place at 113 lbs. went to Quakers freshman Gene Naumousky, who went 2-3 in five bouts, including a contest against Trent Olson, the class champion from “Sem.”
Rebuilding this season after major graduation losses, Penn Charter attracted a lot of young wrestlers to its squad, sporting an even younger roster than GFS. Fans at both schools can look forward to seeing their programs take further strides in the future.