by Tom Utescher
Penn Charter wrestling hosted the team’s first interscholastic gathering of the season last Wednesday, when the Quakers held a group practice with the squad from Delaware’s Tower Hill School and a few participants from Friends Central.
Although three longtime varsity regulars graduated from last year’s roster, PC has a good number of talented and experienced grapplers returning. This starts with the five seniors, Dante DiStefano, Alex Koenig, Luke Mattice, Alex Smith and Jordan Steinhouse.
Wrestling at 152 lbs. last season, Koenig reached the semifinal round at the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament (PAISWT), coming in fourth overall. Steinhouse finished seventh overall in the 120 lb. class, and DiStefano, a rookie wrestler last year, placed eighth at 182.
Mattice did not wrestle last season, but he was on the team prior to that and brings welcome experience back to the Quakers.
The three juniors on the squad this season are Wayne Derkotch, T.J. Henry and Sam Shemtov. At the 2017 PAISWT, Henry came in fifth at 126 lbs. and Shemtov finished eighth at 138.
Also recording an eighth-place finish at last season’s tournament was current sophomore Jess Anderson, who was competing at 113 lbs. The other 10th-graders on the roster are John Giuffrida and Matt McGlinchey.
There are six freshmen on the 2017-18 roster, Daniel Bach, Antonio DeMarco, John Glomb, Maximillian Lentz, Nathaniel Miner and Isaiah Woods-Kolsky.
Pete Shaifer, a 1982 Penn Charter grad, is back for his fourth season as head coach, and Tauren Barker returns as an assistant. A new assistant coach, Olin Morris, is originally from Wilkes Barre, Pa., where he wrestled at Wilkes University. Moving to the Philadelphia area, he coached at Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown and met Shaifer while working with the Beat the Streets youth wrestling program.
The Quakers are spending the month of December competing in a series of tournaments, and they won’t engage in a regular dual meet until they open the Inter-Ac League season at Malvern Prep on January 5.