by Tom Utescher
When the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament wrapped up last Saturday afternoon, the names at the very top of the team standings were familiar to everyone: Wyoming Seminary as champion, and Malvern Prep as runner-up.
This year, the next three places belonged to area teams which each had nine grapplers secure one of the top eight places in their weight categories. Germantown Academy repeated as the third-place team with 132.5 points, while Springside Chestnut Hill was fourth with 129.5 points and Penn Charter was third with 103.
Returning to the event as GA’s 106 lb. entry, sophomore Chris Kim climbed from a third-place showing in 2017 to become class champion this year. The Patriots had seniors Brandon Seidman and Patrick Salmon place third at 120 and 195 lbs., respectively. Both captured third place at lighter weights a year ago, Seidman at 113 and Salmon at 182 lbs.
After earning third place last season at 145 lbs., SCH senior Myles Hugee claimed the same spot last weekend at 152. This was less familiar territory for his 285 lb. classmate Sean McCann, who struggled with injury last season but came away with third place at the 2018 tourney.
A pair of PC seniors also emerged among the top three in their weight classes. Alex Koenig was the runner-up at 160 lbs., and Jordan Steinhouse took third at 138. Koenig came in fourth in the 152 lb. bracket in 2017.
Landing in a tie for 15th place in the team tally were the Tigers of Germantown Friends School, whose best result was a seventh-place outcome for 106 lb. freshman Max Orenstein.
At 106, GA’s Kim began with a bye and a first-period pin. He then prevailed in a 2-1 semifinal decision over Haverford School freshman Jake Shaifer, who happens to be the son of Penn Charter head coach Pete Shaifer. The PC mentor’s son emerged in fourth place, while the Patriots’ Kim captured the class championship in a 5-0 decision over Episcopal Academy’s Blair Orr.
Germantown Friends’ Orenstein left the main draw at 106 with a loss to Friends Schools League rival Ethan Kisiel of Westtown. In the wrestle-backs, the two met again in the match for seventh place, and this time Orenstein won when Kisiel withdrew with an injury.
While the SCH Blue Devils did not enter anyone at 113 lbs., PC sophomore Jess Anderson and GA freshman Jamie McGrath both lost in the main draw quarterfinals and wound up facing one another in the contest to decide fifth and sixth place. Here, Anderson recorded a 7-1 decision. Freshman Kai Suminski started out in this class with a pin and eventually garnered eighth place for the GFS Tigers.
Seidman started out at 120 lbs. for GA with a bye and a win by technical fall, then he was edged out in the semifinals, 4-3, by Malvern’s Micah Visuwan. He locked up third place with a 4-2 verdict over Haverford’s Ryan Shepherd. Junior Simon Kioko of Springside Chestnut Hill won a major decision and then lost one to the Fords’ Shepherd. He went 1-2 the rest of the way to finish in sixth place.
GFS sophomore 120 Javier Carmona went 2-2 in the tournament, recording two pins in between an opening-round loss and then a defeat at the hands of CHA’s Kioko.
Charter was absent in the 126 lb. class, while GA’s Mark Fasciocco began with a bye and then a major decision in the quarterfinals. Fellow junior Luke Purcell of SCH opened up with a first-period pin, and then succumbed in the quarterfinals, 3-0.
When the two met later on in the feed-in bracket, Purcell prevailed in a 3-2 decision over Fasciocco, who would end up in sixth place overall. The SCH junior, who’d been having shoulder problems going down the stretch in the regular season, decided to shut things down after his bout with Fasciocco, forfeiting the match for third place and thus coming in fourth overall.
The idea was to try and get back healthy for the Prep Nationals after qualifying for that event with a top-five finish at the PAIS tourney. The same approach was taken by Blue Devil 132 Marco Goldberg, a sophomore. With even more severe shoulder issues, he won a major decision at the outset, then forfeited in the quarterfinals. Trying to get going in the feed-in bracket, he ground out two close wins by decision, and then had to forfeit in the consolation semifinals to GA freshman Christian Colman.
The young Patriot had rolled into the main semifinals with two first-period pins before losing a decision to the class champion from Wyoming Seminary, Jack Davis. Working back into the third-place match, he came away in fourth after coming out on the short end of a decision against Malvern’s Dalton Harkins.
Also in the bracket was the fourth of the place-winners from GFS. Sophomore Jake Moss started out with a quick pin which helped him earn eighth place in the end.
While GA didn’t come to play at 138 lbs., PC’s Steinhouse and fellow senior Kyle Williams of Springside Chestnut Hill eventually saw their courses converge. In the main draw, the former logged a first-period pin and an 8-2 decision, while Williams first accepted a forfeit and then earned an 8-1 win.
Both then exited the main draw in the semifinals with losses to the two finalists. Victories in the wrestle-backs advanced them to the third-place match, where Steinhouse eked out a 2-1 decision over Williams.
Andrew Cramer, the senior 145 for the Blue Devils, started strong with a pair of first-period pins before losing a semifinal bout to the eventual class champion, P.J. Crane of Malvern. He did not fare quite so well in the wrestle-backs, but still came away with sixth place. PC ninth-grader Drew DeMarco began with a 10-4 decision but then ran into Crane in the quarterfinals. He would take eighth place overall.
Pinning each of his first two opponents early in the second round, SCH 152 Hugee fell in the semifinals to the eventual runner-up from Mercersburg Academy. In wrestle-backs, a tech fall took him into the third-place match, which he won with a first-period pin of Wyoming Seminary’s Benny Baker.
In the same bracket, PC junior Sam Shemtov had to open up again the class champ from Malvern, Chris Hisey. A win by forfeit and then a pin would get him to the seventh-place contest, where he won when his rival withdrew due to injury.
Shemtov’s teammate, Koenig, saw his first foe at 160 lbs. forfeit the match, and then the Quakers senior moved on with a second-period pin than then a 6-2 decision over Westtown School’s Alex Taylor, the Friends Schools League champion. In the finals, Seminary’s Jake Stefanowicz got by Koenig in a 5-1 decision.
In the semi’s, Stefanowicz had defeated GA freshman Sami Cerebe, who got to that stage with a bye and a major decision. Cerebe did well in the wrestle-backs, coming in fourth overall.
In the opening round at 170, freshman Tyler Guzik of SCH advanced with a late pin, while GA senior Drew Sandifer had a bye in his bracket. Both left the main draw in the quarterfinals, with Guzik losing to Malvern’s Nick Florscutz, the eventual champ.
Both grapplers moved ahead in their first wrestle-back bouts, with Sandifer topping PC senior Dante DiStefano, 1-0. Sandifer then met Guzik, who prevailed against the GA wrestler to make the five/six match. He suffered an injury there and placed sixth, while Sandifer finished seventh after chalking up a major decision in his final contest.
In an opening-round encounter at 182 lbs., senior Ben Sawyer of the Patriots pinned Blue Devils junior Joe McDermott in the second period. Penn Charter 11th-grader Wayne Derkotch had received a bye to start off with, then he lost an 11-6 decision to Sawyer in the quarterfinal round.
In the feed-in’s, Derkotch sandwiched two pins around a decision to come home in fifth place. After class champion Darrien Roberts of the Seminary steamroller knocked out Sawyer in the main semifinals, the GA senior first won and then lost in high-scoring matches to place fourth.
The 195 lb. class was relatively thinly-populated, and GA’s Salmon, fellow senior Sean Edling of SCH and Penn Charter sophomore Matt McGlinchey all received first-round byes. In quarterfinal bouts, Salmon pinned McGlinchey in the first period, while Edling won a 5-3 decision.
Both the GA and the SCH 12th-graders were stopped in the semifinals by the finalists from Wyoming Seminary and Malvern.
McGlinchey, meanwhile, was moving through the consolation bracket to reach the seventh/eighth place match, where he earned the higher finish with a pin in the first round.
After Salmon and Edling fed into the wrestle-backs, they eventually advanced into a head-to-head battle for third place. Salmon won it by major decision, 10-0.
None of the area squads had a 220 lb. entry except for the Quakers, who had freshman Andre O’Neal win by forfeit at the beginning and then leave the main draw due to a meeting with Wyoming Seminary’s class champion, Mike Doggett. His path through the wrestle-backs eventually led to the seventh-place match, where he pinned George School’s Hoang Nguyen in the first period.
For SCH’s 285-pounder, McCann, the action commenced with second-period pin of Germantown Friends’ Quincy Henderson, also a senior. A late pin got McCann through the quarterfinals, then he lost to the eventual champ, Francesco Borselino of Western Reserve Academy (this Ohio school is allowed in because there is no other avenue for its wrestlers to qualify for Prep Nationals).
One round earlier, Borselino had beaten Penn Charter senior Luke Mattice, a winner by fall in the opening round. Later a pin and a close decision helped Mattice place sixth. McCann fed into the wrestle-back semifinals, moved ahead with a decision and then won third place by a 4-2 score over Joe Dybalski of the Academy of the New Church.