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District 1 High School Wrestling

Notebook: Wrapping up another wrestling season

by Drew Markol, The Intelligencer

Posted on March 15, 2017

Article originally appeared here:
http://www.theintell.com/sports/high-school/winter/wrestling/wrapping-up-another-wrestling-season/article_71fc4e3a-0395-11e7-906c-a379ec4d0449.html

The curtain closed, officially, on the wrestling season around 11 p.m. last Saturday in Hershey.

But, before the mats were rolled up in Chocolate Town, we saw some super stuff.

DeSanto vs. Lee

The best of that stuff was provided by Exeter (District Three) senior Austin DeSanto and Franklin Regional (District Seven) senior Spencer Lee in the PIAA Class 3A final at 126 pounds.

Lee, considered by many to be the greatest high school wrestler in state history, went into the final with a 144-0 career record, three state titles, a scholarship to Iowa and three world-junior titles to boot. He also had never trailed - yes, never trailed - in any match in his high school career.

DeSanto went in with a 52-0 record this year and a two-year mark of 103-1, with the lone loss being a 15-0 drubbing at the hands of Lee in last year's state finale.

And when DeSanto, thanks to a takedown at the buzzer on which the officials could have gone either way, pulled off a 6-5 stunner, the crowd at the Giant Center (which was in a frenzy the entire match) went nuts.

It was so loud you couldn't hear the buzzer sounding to end the match.

Yes, Lee was wrestling with a torn ACL in his right knee sustained three weeks back and was wearing a big brace, but he had made the decision to compete in hopes of becoming the state's 13th four-time state champion - and heck, he almost did, a testament to his immense skill.

As for DeSanto (Drexel), he will always be remembered for pulling off the biggest upset in state history and one of the biggest in the history of the sport.

Local flavor

Five Intelligencer-area wrestlers came home with state medals, with the best showing coming from Pennridge junior Josh Stillings, who reached the Class 3A finals at 160 before dropping a tough 5-3 decision to unbeaten junior (38-0) Trent Hidlay of Mifflin County (District Six).

Stillings, already with a whopping 120 wins and 37-5 this season, needs 43 wins next season to become the Rams' all-time leader in victories, a spot currently held by 2016 grad Kyle Gentile.

Senior teammate Matt Parker, who placed third at 120, goes down as one of the area's best-ever performers, as he owns three state medals and heads to Lehigh University, where he'll be teammates again with big brother Scott and Gentile.

North Penn senior Colin Shannon, who said in December his goal was to be on the podium in Hershey in March, backed it up by placing sixth at 152, and Central Bucks East senior Collin Stevens (182) also collected a medal by finishing eighth.

In Class 2A, Palisades sophomore Nathan Haubert was also extremely impressive, as he placed fourth at 145 and is a threat, like Stillings, to win it all in 2018.

District One

It was a solid showing, overall, from District One wrestlers, as D-1 competitors brought home three gold medals and 18 total.

Another to watch

North Hills (District Seven) freshman Sam Hillegas, the preseason's most highly touted newcomer, backed up the hype by winning the Class 3A title at 113 and going 43-0 in the process.

Could he get to 200 wins before he's done? It's possible, but a lot of things have to go right, and few things can go wrong for him to have a shot. Regardless, he's legit.

Coy in style

Penn Trafford (District Seven) senior Cameron Coy went out in style by winning his third Class 3A state title, this one coming at 152.

Coy nearly pulled off four titles, but lost in the state finals, 1-0, as a sophomore (so close).

My predictions

Does anybody like the taste of humble pie?

I sure don't, and going 8-6 with my state picks will do that. Just a bad job by me, and I'll need to redeem myself (or at least try to) come next season.

PA vs. NJ tourney

The 28th annual Delaware Valley Wrestling Officials All-Star Challenge will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at Neshaminy.

Senior wrestlers from southeastern Pennsylvania will take on 12th-graders from South and Central Jersey.

A year ago, the Pennsylvania team rolled to a 52-6 victory.

Referee Bob McCarney is organizing the Pennsylvania team, while former Pennsbury standout Brian West is putting together the team from New Jersey, where he coaches.

The lineups have not been finalized.

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