GFS freshman Ishmael Bynum (top) is on his way to a pin of his 160 lb. opponent from West-Mont Christian Academy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

GFS freshman Ishmael Bynum (top) is on his way to a pin of his 160 lb. opponent from West-Mont Christian Academy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Normally, wrestling quad meets take three or four hours to complete, given that six separate team-to-team contests are involved. When Germantown Friends travelled to Academy of the New Church for one of these gatherings last Friday afternoon, the affair was over surprisingly soon, due to the fact that ANC had matches taking place on two different mats simultaneously, and also because only the host Lions had a full complement of wrestlers at the 14 weight classes.

With the other three schools forfeiting at a number of positions, the event moved right along, with the Tigers first losing to New Church, 60-18, then defeating West-Mont Christian Academy, 48-12, and then finally falling to Phelps School, 42-31.

Germantown hasn’t been able to fill all of the weight classes at any point in the season, and last Friday the Tigers went in missing three injured members of their regular line-up. They then had a fourth athlete hurt during the competition.

Both GFS and ANC are members of the Friends School League, and New Church improved to 3-0 in FSL dual meets with its victory over the Tigers (1-2). New Church had not yet faced 10-time defending champ Westtown, but was pleased to learn that the scoring gap between GFS and Westtown had been smaller than the point spread between the Tigers and ANC.

The first order of business in Bryn Athyn last Friday was the official league meeting between the two FSL members. There would be a total of eight forfeits, and seven of them were by Germantown Friends. That meant that the Tigers were down 42-6 in the team score from the get-go, and would have to rack up pins in each of the six remaining weight classes just to draw even with ANC at 42-all.

That highly improbable scenario did not play out, but GFS did pick up a pair of pins. Freshman Guston Lowe matted his opponent in the 120 lb. class, and at 132 junior Nick Wells took a 7-0 lead in the opening period and then pinned his rival in the middle of the second round. These bouts, plus an ANC forfeit to Tigers sophomore Tunde Sogo at 285, gave the visitors their total of 18 points in the meet.

At 152 lbs., Germantown junior Bix Komita Moussa suffered a muscle pull in the second period and was forced to withdraw. The meet total for the host Lions was completed by a pair of decisions; in one of them Tigers freshman Ishmael Bynum was edged out at 160 lbs., 5-3.

In the 170 lb. class, GFS junior Jared Lazorko was trailing by that same score late in the third period, having escaped at the start of the round. Lazorko shot for a takedown that would’ve tied the match, but both wrestlers rolled out of bounds with 16 seconds remaining. Instead, Lazorko became the victim of a late takedown, and ANC won 7-3.

Next, the Tigers moved on to face a truly short-staffed squad from West-Mont Christian Academy in Pottstown. Almost all of the points in the 48-12 final tally resulted from forfeits by one team of the other, and there were a few mutual forfeits, as well.

In the first of the two bouts that took place, Germantown’s Lowe became the victim of a pin in the middle of the second period. Later, Bynum reversed at the start of the second period to tie the score at 5-5, and then proceeded to pin his opponent.

Fortunately, there was more action on the mat as GFS finished up against Phelps, which, like ANC, is nicknamed the Lions. The starting weight was 126 lbs., and the Tigers’ Lowe moved up one class to wrestle there. He took a 7-2 lead in the opening round and then secured a pin with 1:13 remaining in the second stanza. After Wells accepted a Phelps forfeit at 132, the Lions got on the board with a pin of Germantown’s freshman 138, Emmanuel Jones.

Phelps then went up 18-12 in the team score due to a pair of GFS forfeits, but the Tigers got four points back with a major decision at 160. Here, Bynum took a 5-1 lead into the third period, then logged a takedown and a three-point near fall to finish up at 10-1.

A regular decision at 170 lbs. moved the Tigers ahead in the team tally, 19-18. In this one, Lazorko executed three takedowns and an escape in a 7-2 victory.

Over the next four matches, the meet score quickly rose to 31-30, with GFS still a point ahead. Forfeits accepted by junior Gabe Buyske-Friedberg (182) and Sogo (285) were sandwiched around Germantown forfeits at 195 and 220 lbs. Back at the light end of the scale, the Tigers fell behind in the meet as they were unable to oppose the 106-pounder for Phelps. After both teams were no-shows at 113 lbs., a Germantown forfeit at 120 left the Lions with a 42-31 win.

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