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Pioneer Athletic Conference

Owen J. Roberts junior Stierly off to dominant start at 125

by Don Seeley, Pottstown Mercury Sports Editor

Posted on March 4, 2006

WEST NORRITON -- Good thing Jeremy Stierly has a bad memory ..better make that selective memory.

Owen J. Roberts' 125-pounder isn't likely to ever forget the injuries that ended both his freshman and sophomore seasons rather prematurely. And he isn't likely to ever forget what was arguably the worst tournament of his career just a week ago -- a shocking fifth-place finish during the District 1-AAA South showdown at Spring-Ford -- that nearly ended his junior season.

So early this week, Stierly put all the physical as well as mental aches and pains behind him, and did it ever show Friday night during the opening rounds of the AAA Southeast Regional at Norristown High School.

Stierly opened with a gutsy 5-4 decision over Central Bucks South's John Lester, then followed with a dominating 13-4 major over Upper Darby's top-seeded Matt Lewis.

The two wins not only improved his individual mark to 32-4, but into this morning's semifinals against Upper Perkiomen's freshman phenom, Ryan Kemmerer ..and within one more win of pinning down the state berth that has eluded him the past two years.

Stierly's effort headlined the area entourage showing, which saw Pioneer Athletic Conference rivals Upper Perkiomen and Boyertown each advance seven into the semifinals and occupy the top two spots in the team standings with 53 and 46 points, respectively.

"I was really disappointed the way I came out last week," said Stierly, who will be looking to avenge a 7-2 loss to Kemmerer back on Feb. 1.

"I just got everything out of my head and worked hard this week. I knew I had to start all over.

"Last week I had a bad match or two, a bad day. You have them ..ven the best (wrestlers) have them. So I just cleaned my head and got back into it."

And it wasn't really a big surprise he rebounded the way he did, either.

"Getting hurt like I did the last two years, then having that bad day last week ..all that's been a distraction. And I'm still not at my best. I know I can wrestle better.

"But I felt I could do this (Friday night). I just had to get it in my head that if I wrestle the way I know I can I'll be all right. But now I have a tough one (today), so I'm going to have to wrestle like I did tonight."

Stierly will be joined in the semifinal round by teammate Robert Hoffman (32-3), who breezed 11-1 in his quarterfinal bout with Conestoga's Zach Trimmer.

Meanwhile, Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz may be looking for a little bit of a better showing from the Indians, the defending champions. They went 3-for-3 in the preliminary round, but then dropped four of 11 quarterfinal matches.

"There were a couple of disappointments," Hontz said. "Sam (Walters) at 140 (a 6-4 loss to North Penn's Eddie Hill) and the last one (heavyweight Bruce Augustine's 9-5 loss to Northeast's Slav Mukha) was tough, too. So the guys who lost have to get focused for (today). The main objective is to advance.

"We still have seven in the semifinals. So if they all wrestle well, and the guys in the wrestlebacks wrestle well we'll be happy. You have to remember some of these guys ran into some tough people."

Upper Perkiomen's semifinalists are Shane Smith (112), Chris Sheetz (119), Ryan Kemmerer (125), Austin Reed (130), unbeaten Zack Kemmerer (now 48-0 at 135), Brent Fiorito (160) and Derek Bennett (215). Smith pinned Spring-Ford's John Martin to advance, while Bennett won 9-2 over Downingtown West's Nojan Zommorrodian to earn a rematch with Boyertown's Josh White, who eked out a 6-5 decision in their PAC-10 encounter back on Jan. 11.

White helped the Bears close out a perfect 7-for-7 quarterfinal round. Earlier, teammates Fred Rodgers (112), Nick Hyatt (119), Asher Hyatt (130), Jamie Soupik (135), Mike Schwager (160) and Jesse DeWan (171) all won.

Schwager (40-6) ran up an 11-3 major on Great Valley's Jay Hahn for his 100th career win -- the fourth Boyertown wrestler to reach the milestone this season.

"Overall we did pretty well," said Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca. "I was pleased with the way the kids wrestled. They all stepped up to the challenge."

Spring-Ford, with Cory Sutton (103), Martin (112), Alan Gauger (119) and Mike Platco (189) in the wrestlebacks, has one semifinalist in 135-pound Matt Moley. The two-time state medalist (37-4) cruised with a technical fall and will meet Soupik, the winner most likely going against Zack Kemmerer in tonight's final.

Methacton also has one semifinalist in 160-pound Brad Clark (28-4), whose pin pushed him into this morning's matchup with Fiorito. Teammate Jason Kadelski won his preliminary, then fell to Asher Hyatt at 130.

Pottsgrove's two entries -- Ryan Michaels (135) and Jon Boice (heavyweight) each dropped their quarterfinals and will be in the consolations today.

NOTES

Council Rock South (40.5), Conestoga (37.5) and Quakertown (32) round out the Top Five in the team standings. ..This morning's action gets under way with the first round of consolations at 9:30, followed by the semifinals. ..The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to next week's state tournament in Hershey.

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