Valley's Catka showing he's not a kid among men; Upper Darby's Cronin, Kennerly move on

by Bob Grotz, Delaware County Daily Times

Posted on March 10, 2017

Article originally appeared here:

HERSHEY >> Hunter Catka refused to go quietly Thursday night.

The Sun Valley freshman beat senior Cole Zapf of Downingtown West, 3-1, in the consolation round to advance in the PIAA Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.

While it's not uncommon for freshmen to reach states, they almost always get there in the lightest weight classes.

Catka is the only freshman in the five heaviest brackets from 170 pounds on. That's one freshman out of 100 wrestlers, if you will.

"He just turned 15," Vanguards coach Tommy Ellis said. "These guys he's wrestling are 18, some of them are 19. They could have voted in this last election. They are young men. They have hardened bodies. They've matured physically and mentally, too. For him to be on the stage with them, it's a compliment to him and his work ethic, really."

Catka's heart was on display in the bout with Zapf. The workout room the Vanguard rookie had installed during the summer served him well in that the only takedown of the bout, his takedown, came with 16 seconds remaining. Zapf was heartbroken. Catka lived to wrestle another group of seniors and juniors.

Thirteen of the wrestlers in Catka's 195-pound class are seniors, including Ryan Mortimer of Garnet Valley, who pinned Dave Henninger (DuBois) in 2:20 to stay alive in the consolation bracket.

"I'm always mentally prepared and I'm not afraid of the older guys," Catka said. "And I've always been big for my age. I worked all summer long - I have a workout room - because I knew the upper classmen would be coming at me all season long. I'm just giving the glory to God because he's gotten me here."

Catka has a huge fan in Ellis, who did a double-take after the regions.

"We figured out last week that he has six losses in his career and all six have been to state qualifiers," Ellis said. "He's not fazed. No one has majored him. He works hard and he wants to succeed. He puts everything he has into his craft. When he qualified for states out of the fourth spot he was upset by it. He has high expectations set upon himself. He doesn't accept failure and it all relates to his work ethic. He's literally willing to do whatever he has to do to be on top."

Among the Delco wrestler highs and lows on Day 1 of states:

-- Ryan Stocku tied the Penncrest record with his 106th career victory in a 7-5 decision over Abner Taylor (Coatesville) in the consolation round.

"It feels pretty good," the beaming 145-pound Stocku said. "I worked hard for it. I overcame a ton of injuries and that makes it even better. I've been working for this since I was like five years old. It feels good."

Stocku tied the school record set by Evan Bell, who was 106-39 at 145 and 152 pounds in his career through the 1999-2000 season.

It took a furious finish to get it done as Stocku led by just one point before a reversal with 35 seconds remaining to ice the match.

Stocku lost, 9-3, to Luke Carty (Bethlehem Catholic) in the first round.

-- Southeast Regional champ Brian Kennerly of Upper Darby posted a 13-4 major decision over Ron D'Amico (Shaler). And it wasn't that close.

"I just feel like he was backing out and trying to keep the match close," Kennerly said. "So I just kept attacking, working my takedowns, trying to get my technique for later in the tournament. It's always a little nerve-racking in a big arena to get the first one. It brings you back down to earth. I feel good. I feel confident."

Joe Doyle, whom Kennerly defeated for the region title, secured a 7-4 decision wrestling simultaneously on the mat next to the undefeated Royals star, who won his 35th bout.

-- Upper Darby's Colin Cronin, the 138-pound champ at the Southeast Regional, needed the early lead he got against Michah Hoffman (Northern York). Cronin got a 9-8 victory that wasn't as close as the score.

"I was up 5-1 in the first period," Cronin said. "I just wanted some points on the board, some cushion. The kid's tough. He came to wrestle. He has a great gas tank and I knew he was going to wrestle me to the end. I knew I had to score early on in the match to pull out the win."

-- At 106 pounds, Dayton DelViscio of Penncrest defeated Cole Wilson (Northeastern), 14-10, in the opening round but was beaten, 10-3, by Southwest

Region champ Kurtis Phipps in the second round.

DelViscio is in the consolations Saturday.

"I was dead tired," DelViscio said of the first match. "I gutted it out, got some back points and kind of just held onto that lead. The next one, he was a little faster, maybe. I couldn't turn him. And then he just got the reverse."

-- At 126 pounds, Matt Marino of Garnet Valley injury-defaulted in the second round after winning his first match by fall.

Marino is slated to wrestle Josh Mason (Blue Mountain) in the consolation round Friday. Marino defaulted to Austin DeSanto (49-0, Exeter).

Marino won by fall in the first match of his third straight trip to states.

-- Mohamad Kaba of Academy Park was eliminated in the consolation round at 138 pounds, losing by fall in 3:44 to Cam Conner (Kiski).

Kaba was beaten, 4-0, by Zach Ortman (Parkland) in the first round, a bout that was scoreless until the middle of the second period.

"He's a fabulous, fabulous kid," Knights coach John Basile said. "And he's very dedicated to the sport."

-- Max Livingston of Upper Darby was eliminated in the 152-pound consolation round via a 6-5 loss to Ryan Zeiner (North Penn).

[ return to previous page ]