District 1 High School Wrestling

Garnet Valley stays pin-crazy in 1st round win over Henderson

by Nate Heckenberger, Daily Local

Posted on January 27, 2017

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WESTTOWN - Garnet Valley coach Rocco Fantazzi doesn't have a scientific explanation as to why his team is full of pinners.

Fantazzi and his staff preach bonus points, as does just about every coach in America, but this group of Jaguars is just really good at finishing the job.

Thursday, in the first round of the Class AAA District 1 Duals at West Chester Rustin, No. 5 Garnet Valley racked up 21 bonus points to bounce No. 12 West Chester Henderson, 48-27.

The Warriors are eliminated from the tournament, while Garnet Valley will head to Pottsgrove next Friday for a quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 Owen J. Roberts.

"We preach bonus points, and if you're winning, don't be satisfied and go for the bonus," Fantazzi said. "Our senior class are a bunch of pinners, so hopefully that trickles down to the younger kids and keeps our mantra going for us. Go for the fall and get off the mat."

The Jaguars (17-3) won nine bouts and seven were by fall. Matt Marino (132 pounds), Sal Pizzuto (138), Nick Puliti (152), Ryan Mortimer (182), Brian West (220), Tommy Mahoney (285) and Kevin Puliti (106) earned six to add to Garnet's District 1-leading pin count of 126.

"We practice hard," Garnet senior Dave Wood said. "Our coaches are really, really good and they never take it easy on us. That helps us, when kids are getting tired and want to go to their backs, we're ready to finish it."

Wood (145) was one of the Jags that settled for a decision, but did so in controlling fashion, topping Matt Phayre, 8-1. Robbie Peters (160) added Garnet's other win by decision by a 9-2 score over Ray Martin.

The tournament now becomes double elimination, and the Jags are looking to qualify for states for the first time since 2014.

"I think we definitely have a lot of potential of going far in the tournament," Wood said. "This was a good warmup match, and we will have a tough match next week."

Henderson (20-3) was down 24-0 before it could get some points on the board. Weston Frame worked a major decision at 170 and Mario Wisnowski (195) earned a fall.

The Warriors won the final three bouts, with a pin by Killian Delaney (113) and a technical fall by Luke Phayre (120) and a forfeit to Jake Reid (126).

Henderson will now turn its attention to a home dual meet Wednesday against first place Downingtown West, with a chance at a share of the National Division title on the line.

"This was priceless, to go up against this quality of a team and get tested," Henderson coach Rob Beighley said. "Everything we get now we'll use in the postseason, about what it takes to get to the next level. (Garnet) has a lot of good kids and we knew that coming in. We just wanted to fight with them."

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