FORT WASHINGTON - It was a good news, bad news kind of night for the Ches-Mont League, Friday.
The good news is, there will be at least one representative headed to the PIAA Duals next week as No. 2 Downingtown West, No. 8 West Chester Henderson and No. 10 West Chester Rustin made it to the final day of the Class 3A District 1 Duals.
The bad news is, they all took a loss and must now survive the consolation bracket.
The Whippets won their quarterfinal dual against Rustin, 54-18, but fell victim to No. 3 Spring-Ford, 39-22, in the semifinals at Upper Dublin High.
Three Ches-Mont schools will finish in the top six for the first time ever, but only four teams qualify for states. The consolation semifinals will begin at 1 pm Saturday, with the finals slated for 3 pm.
"Fortunately we get the night to think on it and start fresh (Saturday)," West coach Brad Breese said. "We have some tough goes (Saturday) and we can't just coast through it. We have to show up and wrestle. It's not the goal we wanted but we'll take the second best. We're not ready to shut it down yet."
Henderson was upended by top-seeded Council Rock South, 47-19, in the quarterfinals, but the Warriors got past No. 4 Council Rock North, 37-27, to set up a rematch with the Whippets. West won the first dual, 51-21, Wednesday night.
West also had a win over Spring-Ford from last month under its belt, but the Rams got the matchups and the wins they needed in the semis.
Spring-Ford forfeited away from Max Hale at 170 to give West its final lead, 14-11, bumping Michael Gradwell up to 182. Against Chase Mielnik, Gradwell nearly pinned him in the first, but finished the job in the second period for a huge swing of momentum.
"Nothing we wanted to happen, happened," Breese said. "That pin at 82 killed us. It took the wind out of our sails and really threw us for a loop. Now everyone else was trying to get a little extra and we lost a couple close ones at 195 and 220 and couldn't pull one off. It's tough."
Rustin bounced back from a disappointing showing against the Whippets, keeping its Cinderella run going with a 36-32 win over No. 6 Owen J. Roberts.
"I don't think anyone was happy with the way we performed against Downingtown West," Rustin coach Brad Harkins said. "We didn't step up like we needed to, but the thing I'm proud of was our short memory. We put it behind us and stepped up and won the swing matches."
The Golden Knights got a huge 7-3 win by Tyler Kaliner (145 pounds) over Cole Meredith, who beat Kaliner last year for a spot to the state tournament. Ethan Harkins (160) pulled off a five-point headlock to earn a 5-1 win in the final minute against OJR's Ricky McCutchen.
Next up for Rustin is No. 5 Boyertown, who beat the Knights 52-18 just before Christmas, though Rustin was missing a handful of starters.
"The one thing we talked about all year is earning it," Brad Harkins said. "You have to earn it. Whatever happened earlier in the season is in the past and we have to wrestle hard and see what happens."
The highlight of Henderson's match against South was a 10-1 win by Killian Delaney (113) over fellow returning state qualifer, Maximo Mendez. Delaney bumped up for a shot at a state medalist, North's Luke Lucerne, but fell just short, 4-2.
"It's good to see these guys now in prep for the postseason," Henderson coach Rob Beighley said. "It gives us a look at what we need to work on and what we did well and kind of gives us a blueprint for where we're at in the postseason."
"It's a great win for the program," Beighley said. "We came up here and survived to the next day. I thought we wrestled well against Council Rock South. Against Council Rock North we didn't let the first match affect us and wrestled with passion."