RED HILL - Defending their District 1-AAA Section II Tournament titles proved to be two very different experiences for Zach Robinson and Jared Bennett.
Robinson, a Pottsgrove sophomore, said his second sectional crown was a little easier the second time around. But Bennett, a senior Upper Perkiomen heavyweight, said the opposite was the case as he made it two in a row Saturday night at host Upper Perkiomen High School.
Bennett and Robinson were the lone gold medalists of the Pioneer Athletic Conference in its three league schools in Upper Perk, Pottsgrove and Pottstown.
In all, the PAC-10 schools pushed 13 to next week's District 1 AAA North Tournament at Quakertown. Upper Perk, third in the team standings, advanced the most with eight as Pottsgrove saw four move on, and Pottstown will have one entry in districts.
"I think it was easier this time around. I had more confidence, and I knew I had the experience of a sectional tournament," said Robinson, who earned his goal with an 8-3 decision at 130 over Pennridge's Rich Jasinski. "Our new coach (Jeff Madden) really had us working hard, and he pushed everyone to get better, everybody respects him. I took second at districts last year, and my goal ever since then has been to win it this year."
Though he said it was easier, Robinson found himself tied with Jasinski, 3-3, in the third period before he hit a lateral drop with less than 10 seconds and earned a near fall to account for the five-point spread.
"I don't usually go for a move like that because it's dangerous, but it was there," he said.
While Robinson highlighted the Falcons' effort, he wasn't alone. Junior 103-pounder Eric DuBree kept his season alive with a 2-1 decision in the consolation final against the Tribe's Dan Rodenberger. Teammate Doug Ludy also grabbed third with a 12-4 nod at 125, and Dan Michaels did the same at 135 with a 2-0 shutout.
The Falcons (78) finished in a respectable sixth in the team standings behind Quakertown (206.5), Central Bucks West (137.5), Upper Perk (133.5), Pennridge (103.5), and Central Bucks East (101.5) but was four-for-four in the championship round. Quakertown also claimed the District 1 AAA Duals Tournament title earlier in the season.
"We dropped some close matches in the consolations earlier in the day, and tonight we just couldn't catch a break," said Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz. "I was hoping for nine or 10 guys to advance, but you always want more. The goal is to advance, though, and it's a whole new tournament next week."
Bennett's run started with a second-period fall over Souderton's Joe McNamara and continued with a first-period drop of eventual third-place Matt McMurdo (CBW). In the final, he overpowered a smaller Joe Burke (CBE) in a 10-6 victory.
Hinz provided the Indians' Cinderella story. With just a 4-3 record heading into the postseason, the sophomore picked up two quick pins in his first two bouts and then found himself on the wrong end of the slap in the finals.
"I just felt like it was going to be a good day right from weigh-ins," Hinz said. "My goal was just to win one match; I didn't think I'd place at all. I kind of liked the fact that I didn't know anyone, I liked it better, I didn't think about what to do, I just went out and did it."
Mike McStravick picked up career win No. 100 in the semifinals as he shut out Central Bucks South's Rick Seybolt, 10-0. His bid for gold fell short as he took a 7-3 setback to Quakertown's Eric Koch. It was the second time McStravick lost in the sectional finals to a Quakertown opponent.
"It felt good to get my 100th win out of the way early in the postseason," McStravick said. "I dragged it out a little bit because of my pneumonia. But Koch just knew my style, he knows what to do and he did what he had to do."
Pottstown had its lone medalist in heavyweight William Carter. The junior grabbed fourth as he fell by decision, 6-0 to C.B. West's McMurdo. The Trojans, who wrestled in the AA bracket the past 19 years, made the move to the AAA bracket and got its only top four seed in Carter's No. 3.