2021 Mercury Team-By-Team Wrestling Preview

by Jeff Stover, Pottstown Mercury

Posted on January 12, 2021

Article originally appeared here:
https://papreplive.com/2021/01/11/2021-mercury-team-by-team-wrestling-preview/

Boyertown

Head coach: Tony Haley, first year.
Last year's record: 3-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division), 8-8 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Anthony Bauer, Sr., 189/215; Preston Fox, Sr., 189; Julien Maldonado, Sr., 120; Jimmy Sinclair, Sr., 172; Robert Terra, Sr., 285; Chance Babb, Jr., 138; Dominic Sheridan, Jr., 132; Luke Heimbach, So., 113; Gavin Sheridan, Fr., 106.
Outlook: Maldonado (113) and Babb (126) are returning District 1-AAA North champions while Bauer (220) was a runner-up. Maldonado was also a South East AAA Regional champ, and Babb placed fourth as the Bears' qualifiers to the PIAA Class AAA Tournament. ... Maldonado is one victory away from becoming Boyertown's latest 100-win grappler. ... Haley takes the helm of the Bear mat program from Nicholas Christine, who headed it the past season. It's a return to Bear Nation for Haley, who logged 11 years (2008-2019) as a Boyertown assistant, in and around stints coaching at Methacton (2002-08, 2019-20) ... "I am really excited about this season," Haley said. "We have a mix of upperclassmen with experience and some talented underclassman looking to make an impact. If we have a season and stay healthy, we hope to compete with the powers of District (Spring Ford, Council Rock South, Owen J. Roberts). Let's hope we have a season."

Daniel Boone

Head coach: James Hogan, fourth year.
Last year's record: 5-2 Berks Conference (Division 1), 13-8 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Canton Dolla, Sr., 152; Josh Smith, Sr., 160; Stephen Spitko Sr., 126; J.T. Hogan, Jr.. 145; Colin Leahy, Jr., 285; Gavin Richard, Jr., 120; Jimmy Woodcock, Jr., 215; Brett Marchiano, So., 132.
Outlook: The Blazers' lineup is bolstered by the presence of freshmen Tucker Hogan (170) and Dean Houser (106) along with Woodcock, a transfer from Berks Catholic who went 13-11 his sophomore season. ... J.T. Hogan (39-6) qualified for the 2020 PIAA Class AAA Individual Tournament after placing third at 145 in the District 3-AAA (Section 1) and second at the South Central AAA Regional. He won his preliminary state bout before being eliminated in a pair of decisions. ... Dolla (26-11) placed sixth at 132 in regionals. He was a 3-AAA (Section 1) champion. ... Richard went 22-2 at 113 last winter - his last bout of the season was on Jan. 19, where he sustained an injury - and Spitko (19-2 at 106) was third in the sectional. ... "We can have a competitive team this year with some senior leadership and some very talented incoming freshman," Coach Hogan said. "We need to stay healthy and focused."

Hill School

Head coach: David Hoffman, third year.
Last year's record: 3-1 Mid-Atlantic Prep League, 5-4 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Sam Beckett, Jr., 152; Kelvin Griffin, Jr., 138; Kade Davidheiser, So., 113/120; Colby Isabelle, So., 152/160; Hunter Sloan, So., 106/113,
Outlook: Beckett, Davidheiser and Griffin, all National Prep All-Americans, head the list of talented grapplers on the Blues roster. Griffin, currently ranked 79th overall in the Flo Big Board Class of 2022 prospects, boasts a fourth place at Beast of the East and another placement in Super 32. ... Isabelle was a Maine State Champion as a freshman, and Sloan was a two-time Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling state champ. ... "I am excited about the continued growth of our program and the individual development shown by our guys," Hoffman said. "Despite limited training, we have been proactive in seeking out competition this fall - competing at Super 32, the Journeymen Fall Classic and multiple dual events. We are still a young team, but are looking to take the next steps in our consistency against top-level competition. We were scheduled to wrestle at Beast of the East, Ironman and Escape the Rock this year, but like everyone else, we are now trying to find new high-level events now that those tournaments have been canceled. All in all, I project our team to finish with at least five National Prep All-Americans and finish in the top 10."

Methacton

Head coach: Mark Harner, first year.
Last year's record: 0-5 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division), 3-12 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Wrestlers to watch: Grant Baker, Jr., 132; Brody Borkowski, Jr., 152; Edgar Carbajal, Jr., 140; Joshua Cancro, So., 215 lbs; Damian Moser, So., 285; Levi Borkowski, Fr., 145; Joey Simko, Fr.
Outlook: Harner comes to Methacton after a long affiliation with Norristown wrestling. He was a high-school grappler there between 1976 and 1978, then head coach of the Eagles for 16 seasons (2004-2020), compiling a 168-123 record. ... The Warriors come into the season with 32 wrestlers, none of them seniors and only nine juniors. "Our coaching staff is very excited with the future prospects for this very young squad," Harner said. "The reduction in the number of upper weight classes hurts, as we have a number of promising young upper weights. Prior to the last shutdown, attendance and overall team work ethic were excellent. This year will most likely be tough, competing in the PAC's big school division. However, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel with this young, hard working group."

Owen J. Roberts

Head coach: Steve DeRafelo, 19th year.
Last year's record: 4-1 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division), 15-4 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Cole Bechtel, Sr., 145-152; Dante Denardo, Sr., 189-215; Richard Nathan, Sr., 285; Jaden Viti, Sr., 189-215.
Outlook: Bechtel placed third at 152 in the District 1-AAA North tournament. Viti was fifth in districts at 220. ... "This is an unusual season to say the least," DeRafelo said. "We are definitely sailing into uncharted waters. We are excited about the opportunity that is still available to us. We are looking forward to watching our young student-athletes develop. We look forward to having the opportunity to compete against all the teams in the PAC this year, the best league in District 1."

Perkiomen Valley

Head coach: Dave Thomas, first year.
Last year's record: 2-3 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division), 13-6 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Vincent Corropolese, Jr., 285; Kelly Kakos, So., 132; Carson Pascoe, So., 160; Gavin Pascoe, So., 138; Grant Euker, So., 189/215; Aidan Stratton, Fr., 120,
Outlook: Thomas is taking over the Viking program from Jared Dubbs, who logged six seasons as head coach. A three-time state medalist at Waynesburg Central, Thomas moves up from a head-coaching post at Perkiomen Valley Middle School-East. ... Kakos was a District 1-AAA North champion last winter, heading the 120-pound field. ... Euker (160) and Corropolese (285) finished fourth at their respective weights at districts. ... The Vikings' roster lists three seniors and two juniors at the upper end of the scale, six sophomores and seven freshmen at the lower end. "Perkiomen Valley will be a young team in 2020-2021," Thomas said.

Phoenixville

Head coach: Brandan Clark, fourth year.
Last year's record: 3-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 11-7 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Antonio Valenteen, Sr.; Owen Koch, Jr.; Justin Meyers, Jr.
Outlook: Koch, wrestling in the 160-170 range last winter, went 25-8 and was fifth in District 1-AAA North competition. Meyers, 20-11 at 113-120, also finished fifth in districts while Valenteen (17-7 120-126) came in sixth. ... "This year, we look to continue to improve," Clark said. "We lost some great seniors, so we are expecting some of our younger guys to step up and fill those vacancies."

Pope John Paul II

Head coach: Chris Sheetz, second year
Last year's record: 1-4 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 1-7 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Jake Rau, Sr., 189/220; Alan Alexander, Sr., 160; Cole Miller, So., 132; Gabe Zambrano, Fr., 170.
Outlook: Alexander, a transfer from Boyertown, gives the Golden Panthers a district sectional champion. Alexander (24-11) won gold in the 2020 District 1-AAA North tournament at 170 and placed fifth at South East AAA Regional. ... Zambrano is another transfer to PJP, coming from Phoenixville. ... Miller distinguished himself as a freshman by placing third at 120 in last year's District 1/12-AA Tournament. ... The Panthers' low number of wrestlers (four) is due in part to several athletes choosing not to come out due to COVID-19 concerns. "That's about it this year," Sheetz said. "Mat time, that's all it is."

Pottsgrove

Head coach: Jeff Madden, 13th year.
Last year's record: 4-1 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 14-7 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Manny Allen, Sr., 285; Tony Lindgren, Sr., 113; Matt Bechtel, Jr., 145; Shane Caffrey, Jr., 152; Trenton Allen, So., 132.
Outlook: Manny Allen (28-6) is the Falcons' highest-finishing returner, placing second at 285 in the District 1-AAA North tournament. Trenton Allen (26-12) was third at 120, and Tony Lindgren (17-12) fourth at 106. ... Bechtel and Caffrey were both accorded All-PAC honors during the 2019-20 season.

Pottstown

Head coach: Nick Wade, fourth year.
Last year's record: 2-3 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 8-12 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Jared Hewitt, So., 152.
Outlook: Hewitt put together a 22-12 record his freshman season, capped by a 2-2 run in the District 1-AAA North tournament. ... "We have a very inexperienced squad, which means we will have many opportunities to grow and learn this season," Wade said. "Our core group of underclassmen are excited to work hard every day, and that will translate to the competition mat. We want to take the new challenges facing us this season head on as a team."

Spring-Ford

Head coach: Tim Seislove, 22nd year.
Last year's record: 5-0 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division), 19-3 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Gus Carfagno, Sr., 126; Xavier Cushman, Sr., 170; Jack McGill, Sr., 160; Joey Milano, Sr., 190; Zach Needles, Sr., 152; Dominic Ortlip, Jr., 113; Cole Smith, So., 106; Quinn Smith, So., 120.
Outlook: The Rams return two state medalists and one qualifier in a nucleus that includes three South East AAA Regional qualifiers. Milano's fourth-place finish at 182 was the highest by any Pioneer Athletic Conference competitor, and McGill was seventh at 152. Ortlip made the tournament bracket at 106. ... Cushman, Needles and Quinn Smith all helped secure a convincing team championship for Spring-Ford at the District 1-AAA North tourney. Needles was second at 138 while Quinn Smith (113) and Cushman (160) claimed bronze medals. ... Milano and McGill announced their future college plans in December. Milano will be attending North Carolina State University and McGill Columbia (N.Y.) University, where he plans to study economics.

Upper Merion

Head coach: Chris Falcone, first year.
Last year's record: 0-5 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 3-22 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Ayden Cheng, Sr., 138; David Estock, Jr., 145.
Outlook: Falcone comes in to head the Vikings while former mat boss Tim Harner (three seasons, 2017-2020) becomes his assistant. He had logged five seasons as the program's assistant coach. ... Cheng went 28-7 his junior year, scoring 14 pins in the process. "The team consists of nine dedicated wrestlers," Falcone said. "We will not fill every weight class, but these wrestlers are ready to put their best foot forward. Myself and Coach Harner are not concerned with the division and/or the state of the league. We are concerned and focused on individual success. We just want the wrestlers to gain the knowledge from the practice room and put it out on the mat during competition." ... Falcone's guidance to his wrestlers in a COVID-affected season: "We are just taking it day by day and dealing with each obstacle as it comes up," he said. "Wrestling during COVID will be different, but I continue to tell the team at least we have a season, and we just need to adjust accordingly. We have protocols in place for each student-athlete, as well as each coach, to follow in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone."

Upper Perkiomen

Head coach: Steve Adam, fourth year.
Last year's record: 5-0 Pioneer Athletic Conference (Frontier Division), 10-8 overall.
Wrestlers to watch: Joey Carpenter, Sr., 132; Keaton Durning, Sr., 145; Damon Faraco, Jr., 215; Matt Milkowich, Jr., 113.
Outlook: Milkowich (27-11) was second at 106 in the District 1-AAA North tournament, and sixth at the South East AAA Regional. ... Carpenter (24-20), Durning (11-10) and Faraco (12-12) were all fourth-place 1-AAA North wrestlers. ... Coming off a 2019-20 season that saw them finish first in the PAC's Frontier Division, the Indians are working with a 20-man roster headed by seven seniors and four juniors. "Having a full lineup this season should allow Upper Perk to compete for the PAC Frontier Division title," Adam said.

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