Junior Simon Kioko of the Blue Devils is about to turn over the 126-pounder from Germantown Friends, sophomore Javier Carmona. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Last Tuesday afternoon Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s wrestlers climbed into double figures in their dual-meet win column, improving to 10-0 with a victory on their home mat against familiar non-league rival Germantown Friends School.

The Blue Devils were also happy to learn that one of the wins in the 2-2 record that GFS brought to Tuesday’s meet had come against Penn Charter, one of SCH’s opponents in the Inter-Ac League. Springside Chestnut Hill will meet PC head-to-head on January 12 at SCH.

This season, the Blue Devils are at the peak of the age cycle, with juniors and seniors making up most of the day-to-day line-up. By contrast, Germantown Friends had seniors Ishmael Bynum and Guston Lowe out of action due to injury and was even a younger team than usual, with many freshmen and sophomores reporting for the pre-meet weigh-in.

Nevertheless, things went well for the Tigers initially as Tuesday’s contest began at the light end of the weight scale, with the 106 lb. bout. Here, freshman Noah Einstein would go unopposed, collecting six team points through the SCH forfeit.

At 113 lbs., SCH freshman Justin Moderski appeared headed for victory as he gained a 2-0 lead in the first period and then logged an escape and a takedown early in the second round for a 5-0 advantage. However, fellow ninth-grader Max Orenstein of GFS escaped and then entirely reversed his fortunes, taking down Moderski and pinning him at the end of the period.

As at 106, the Blue Devils did not send out a wrestler at 120 lbs., so when freshman Kai Suminski accepted the forfeit on behalf of the visitors, GFS led 18-0 in the meet. The Tigers’ regular 120, sophomore Javier Carmona, bumped up to 126 lbs., where he would take on SCH junior veteran Simon Kioko.

A takedown and back points gave Kioko a 5-0 lead heading into the second period, which began with the grapplers in the neutral (standing) position. Another takedown sent Kioko into the third round ahead 7-0. Starting on top, he turned Carmona twice, netting first two points and then three points to emerge with a 12-0 major decision. That got the home team on the board, now trailing 4-18.

The gap narrowed to eight points with the outcome at 132 lbs., where Blue Devils junior Luke Purcell pinned Germantown sophomore Jake Moss with one minute and nine seconds remaining in the first period. The Devils crept closer still with a six-point pick-up at 138, although GFS freshman Noah Rudick gave a good account of himself against the home team’s senior stand-out, Kyle Williams.

Williams, on track to become the school’s most successful wrestler, had recorded his 100th career win the previous Saturday with the first of his five victories at Springfield High School’s Spartan Duals event.

SCH senior Kyle Williams (top) is on his way to career victory 105 as he engages with GFS freshman Noah Rudick. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

A series of takedowns and escapes and then three back points near the end netted Williams a 9-2 lead over Germantown’s Rudick at the conclusion of round one. Starting on the bottom, the SCH senior captain extended his lead to 14-2 with an escape, a takedown and a pair of back points. After the Tigers’ Rudick escaped about 48 seconds into the second period, he was taken down again by Williams and then pinned with 43.5 seconds remaining.

This had Springside Chestnut Hill right on the Tigers’ heels in the team scoring, and then another pin pushed the Blue Devils ahead for the first time, 22-18. At 145 lbs. two sophomores had squared off.

Near the middle of the second period, a total of three takedowns had given SCH’s Marco Goldberg a 6-1 advantage over visitor Liam Kleitz, who’d scored on an escape. The Blue Devil grappler then ended the match on a pin with 43.9 seconds left in round two.

It was a good week for the Goldberg family; Marco’s older brother Zach, an accomplished distance runner who is a senior at Germantown Friends, had just learned that he’s been accepted at the University of Pennsylvania.

At 152 lbs., GFS once again sent out a sophomore, and he was facing another one of Springside Chestnut Hill’s senior tri-captains, Myles Hugee. A series of takedowns and escapes unfolded until Hugee eventually got the grip he was looking for and wrapped things up with a pin with 36 seconds left in the first period.

Hugee’s senior classmate, Andrew Cramer, booked a pin in 55 seconds at 160 lbs., where he engaged junior Ben Zack of the Tigers. SCH’s Tyler Guzik, a freshman with a good deal of club experience behind him, scored a takedown nine seconds into the 170 lb. bout and pinned GFS sophomore Aidan Kleitz (Liam’s brother) shortly thereafter.

The hosts were now ahead 40-18 in the team score, which was an insurmountable lead in light of the fact the Germantown Friends would forfeit in the 180, 195 and 220 lbs. weight classes. Representing the Blue Devils at those weights were junior Joe McDermott, senior Sean Edling and freshman Worth Osborne.

The final match on the agenda – and actually on the mat – was a 285 lb. encounter between two seniors, SCH’s Sean McCann and his guest, Quincy Henderson. Taken down early, Henderson escaped, but Blue Devil tri-captain McCann soon secured another takedown and got the pin with 39 seconds to go in the first period.