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PAC-10 High School Wrestling District 1

Upper Perkiomen benefits from crucial pins to edge Methacton

by By Don Seeley dseeley@pottsmerc.com

Posted on December 22, 2010

RED HILL - Tom Hontz has long preached how learning the fundamentals of wrestling and its most elementary moves can lead to a lot of points and, of course, a lot of wins.

He certainly had an attentive bunch through Upper Perkiomen's incredible run from 1998 through 2006, when the Indians came up with pin after pin after pin and, not to overemphasize the point, pinned down nine straight Pioneer Athletic Conference titles, five District 1-AAA duals championships, and one state duals title.

Hontz is still preaching and still has an all-ears choir, which was quite evident in Saturday morning's PAC-10 opener against visiting Methacton. The teams split the 14 individual bouts, but it was Upper Perkiomen's four pins - not to mention a technical fall to go along with three decisions - that proved to be the difference in a 36-24 victory.

"The little things do add up," said 171-pound senior Cody Ambrose, who came up with one of the four falls and improved to 7-1 on the young season. "We spend a lot of time on the basics ... chain wrestling, knowing you have to keep moving. We're out there to pin. (Pins) are huge."

They were what separated the Indians and the Warriors again.

Dan Rodenberger, in the 140-pound opener, put up the first fall. Raymond Young got the second at 152. Two bouts later, Ambrose add the third. Then, after Methacton won four of the next six bouts to get within 27-18, Wolfgang McStravick reversed the guests' rally with a first-period pin at 125 that clinched final verdict with two bouts remaining.

"We need the bonus points, and we certainly emphasize that," Hontz said after the Indians improved to 5-3 overall. "We're not quite like the pinning team we were back in the day, so we have to get those bonus points wherever we can."

It just so happens Hontz has a handful of those fellas from "back in the day" who are around enough to deliver their own sermons. It actually begins in their youth program with Mark Smith, who amassed more pins than anyone in the district or the entire state before he graduated. And in the practice room, there's Ryan Garner, Sam Walters and former state champion Brent Fiorito.

"Those guys bring it up," Hontz explained. "They talk to the guys about going for the bonus points, about going for the pins."

Methacton head coach A.J. Maida, of course, preaches the same things. But right now, he admitted, his words and efforts have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

"I think sometimes we're just a little happy being in the lineup, sometimes just a little happy to make weight," Maida said following the Warriors' first dual. "Something has to change. They have to change their habits in preparing.

"What's frustrating is that we're not a young group. But we're not being aggressive on our feet. That was the theme up at (the) Nazareth (Invitational last week), and it was theme here today."

What had Maida flustered Saturday was the fact they split the seven bouts and came up short by the dozen points. And last January, in the same Upper Perkiomen gym, his team actually won eight bouts but surrendered four pins and a major decision and lost, 34-32.

"Like today, you can't beat anyone when you get pinned four times and get tech-falled in another," he said.

Despite it all, the Warriors were in it until McStravick (6-1) got the slap 70 seconds into his 125-pound feature.

Unbeaten Pat Carr (5-0) sandwiched a decision in between the falls by Rodenberger and Young, and after Nate Pompei (6-2) ran up a major at 160 and Ambrose followed with his pin, the Warriors got right back in with a trifecta of their own. Eliot Reisz decisioned Dalton Fleming in one of the more competitive bouts, 9-3; returning state medalist Brandon Clark (4-1) followed with the Warriors' lone pin at 215; and Tracey Green (4-1) added a decision at 285 ... and Methacton was within seven at 22-15.

But the Indians' Dante Steffenino (7-1) end the run with a technical fall at 103 and, after Rob D'Annunzio held off Dylan Steffenino by a 4-2 count in most anticipated bout of the day, Upper Perkiomen clinched it when Kyle Fellman put up a decision at 119 and McStravick pinned at 125.

"This is two years now - we won eight (bouts) last year and seven today - and we should be there," said Maida, who did get two more decisions from Eric Mitchell (130) and Dan Damato (135) to end the match. "We're just not seeing the results we want."

Hontz is, if only through his team's league opener.

"Since our first day in the practice room there was only one thing that counted in December and it was this match," Hontz said. "We were geared up for this one, but we have eight more tough ones to go."

NOTES

Clark's pin was his 103rd career win, tying him with Owen J. Roberts senior Scott Syrek - who due to an injury did not wrestle in Saturday's opening round of the Beast of the East Classic in Delaware. ... Hontz and the Indians leave Tuesday for the King of the Mat Tournament in N.C.

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