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PAC-10 High School Wrestling District 1

Encore Presentation

by Don Seeley, Pottstown Mercury Sports Editor

Posted on February 22, 2009

ROYERSFORD - Reruns, whether on the silver screen or the high-def widescreens, don't usually leave much to the imagination. See something once and, well, you get nothing more than the prosaic plot and the expected ending.

Just don't try to convince Boyertown teammates Jeremy Minich, Matt Malfaro, and Alex Pellicciotti, Spring-Ford's Tim Miller, and Owen J. Roberts' Nick Fuschino that there isn't any excitement, or drama if you will, in wrestling reruns.

For the second straight week, the five shared center stage with a common opponent and provided the same ending - a win.

And not one of them was complaining.

Minich (112 pounds), Malfaro (119), Miller (125), Pellicciotti (130), and Fuschino (152), who won at last week's Section Four Tournament, all matched or bettered their performances Saturday night en route to gold medals in the District 1-AAA Central Tournament at Spring-Ford High School.

Minich, who beat Owen J. Roberts' Andrew Kinney 7-3 in overtime last week, upped the spread to 12-3 this time. Malfaro, who had a few critics question his win by injury default over Unionville's Joe Bonaduce last week, proved it wasn't a fluke with a last-second, 10-9 decision this time. Miller, who used a last-second escape to get by Great Valley's Kyle Liberato last week, left little doubt as to who had the upper hand throughout a 6-2 decision this time. Pellicciotti, who doubled up Unionville's Jason Popham in an 8-4 encounter last week, was quite the dominating one in an 8-2 decision this time. And Fuschino, who put up a surprising 15-4 major over Boyertown's Tim Feroe last week, put together an equally impressive 9-2 decision this time.

Boring? Not quite.

"You can't take anyone for granted," Minich said after improving to 37-4. "And the more you wrestle the same person, the more they can get used to your style. You better be on your toes more, too, because it doesn't matter if you wrestle the same guy again and again, each week matters more."

This week - or Saturday's district show - meant cutting the overall cast down even more for next weekend's AAA Southeast Regional.

Boyertown, which opened with seven qualifiers (minus an ill 103-pound Adam Kolb), got its three gold medalists through, of course. But Feroe's second to Fuschino, Zach Heffner's second at 189, and Trevor MacMinn's and Tyler Mauger's fourths at 126 and 160, respectively, meant the Bears didn't lose anyone for the regional.

That all added up to a second place (130 points) in the team standings, too, right behind Great Valley (173.5) for the second straight week. Garnet Valley (109), Conestoga (94.5) and Penncrest (81) rounded out the Top Five.

Owen J. Roberts, which will have Jonathan Dempsey (second at 105), Kinney, Fuschino and Scott Syrek (fourth at 215) at the regional, was sixth with 74 points. And two spots down the order in eighth place was Spring-Ford (62.5), with Miller being joined by Tom Boring (fourth at 119), Kyle Duffy (third at 135), and Justin Franiak (fourth at 285) making it a foursome for the regional.

Dempsey actually set the stage for an evening of thrills in his final with Rustin's Corey McQuiston. The Wildcat sophomore took a 5-4 lead with seven seconds left, but locking hands cost him a point and forced overtime. After a scoreless first extra session, McQuiston rode Dempsey the ensuing two for the victory - and became Rustin's first district champion.

Then came Kinney and Minich ... and it was disappointment all over again.

"I think beating (Kinney) last week benefited me more this time," Minich explained. "I didn't wrestled well at all. I showed up a little better this week. I did better up top, on the bottom, and in neutral. And it means a lot, because I didn't wrestle well last week and I don't feel I wrestled well my first two matches (Saturday).

"For some reason I was a little slow, a little sluggish. But (in the final) I felt I did well. It seemed everything (Kinney) tried I had an answer for."

Malfaro (38-5) and Bonaduce (26-4) had a whole lot of answers for one another in their seesaw struggle. Bonaduce, like he did a week ago, went up 6-2. But the lead exchanged hands three times in the final 27 seconds, and Malfaro's reversal with eight ticks showing was the difference.

"It was back and forth the whole match, but I kept my cool and kept wrestling," Malfaro said. "And this gold medal was what I was looking for. Last year I didn't get it because I didn't wrestle up to my ability. So even though I made it here again, I still wouldn't have been satisfied if I hadn't won it this time."

Miller (30-6) used three takedowns to get in front of Liberato (30-4), a state medalist last year. And he didn't surrender the spread in winning his first district title.

"I pretty much had it in my after last week's sectional that I'd wrestle Liberato again," Miller said. "But I think it's easier the second time, too. Once you beat someone, sometimes they break, that their mindset is, 'He beat me before.' You hope that works on (your opponent). I just felt I had the mental edge."

Pellicciotti (41-3), wrestling perhaps as well as anyone in the entire district right now, had a seemingly easier time with Popham. But the Boyertown junior wasn't about to acknowledge that.

"Oh, it's not that easy," Pellicciotti deadpanned. "I don't get over-confident. I keep my head in it, stay in every match mentally."

And one person who will never admit going up against Feroe (37-7) week in and week out as easy is Fuschino (31-1), whose workmanlike six-minute show Saturday night frustrated the dangerous Feroe.

"It's one point at a time against him," Fuschino said. "This is tough because he's starting to recognize my technique. But I can't change anything. I have to wrestle my style.

"Actually, you can't afford to change anything against (Feroe). He's good, so unpredictable. If I change up something, of adjust something, he can go for the pin. It's times like that when (Feroe) can flip the entire situation."

Heffner, the area's only other finalist, battled Oxford's highly touted Nick Ruggear (30-4) before falling, 10-6. Ruggear was coming off a pair of pins earlier in the day, while Heffner - a sophomore with a very respectable 27-5 mark of his own - had rolled up a pair of technical falls to get to the final.

NOTES

Great Valley all but clinched the team title before Saturday night's finals. The Patriots had three gold medalists, three runners-up, a pair of bronze medalists, and a fourth-place finisher, which adds up to nine regional qualifiers. ... Minich, Pellicciotti, Fuschino and Great Valley's Carl Buchholz (215) all successfully defended their district titles. ... Duffy was the only area wrestler to win a third-place consolation final. The Spring-Ford sophomore was humbled by unbeaten and eventual champion Kyle Bove of Kennett in the semifinals, but bounced back with two wins for the bronze medal and a regional berth.

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