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Owen J. Roberts Wildcats Wrestling District 1
Pioneer Athletic Conference

Area sees 19 headed to AAA state tourney

by Don Seeley, Pottstown Mercury Sports Editor

Posted on March 5, 2006

WEST NORRITON -- Chris Sheetz's decisive move came with 10 seconds remaining, Zack Kemmerer's occurred with just about the same time left and Brent Fiorito's came about just before the final buzzer in double-overtime.

There was plenty of excitement throughout the final round of the Class AAA Southeast Regional at Norristown High School.

But Upper Perkiomen, thanks to Sheetz, Kemmerer, Fiorito and nearly a handful of others, took the drama out of the team chase before anyone even stepped onto the mat Saturday night, pinning down their second straight championship and second straight postseason hat trick -- Section Two, District 1-North and Southeast Regional titles.

The Indians, with gold medals from Sheetz (119 pounds), Kemmerer (135) and Fiorito (160), a pair of runner-up finishes from Shane Smith (112) and Austin Reed (130), one third from Ryan Kemmerer (125) and one fourth from a courageous Derek Bennett (215), piled up 152 points. That was more than enough to hold off Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Boyertown (125), with Doylestown's neighborhood rivals Council Rock South (100) and Council Rock North (86.5) closing in third and fourth, respectively.

"We wanted this (team title)," said Zack Kemmerer, who became the first wrestler in District 1 history to reach 50 wins without a loss in a season by defeating Spring-Ford's Matt Moley, 3-1 -- the difference a takedown in the waning seconds.

"We also wanted to advance as many guys as we could (to states). We set a goal of nine, but ..Overall we're taking seven, which is half of our team, and that's not bad."

Seven is the same number heading west from Boyertown, too. The Bears matched the Indians' three gold medalists with Fred Rodgers (112), Jesse DeWan (171) and Josh White (215). Teammates Nick Hyatt (119), Jamie Soupik (135) and Mike Schwager (160) were all third, and Asher Hyatt (130) contributed a fourth.

The Pioneer Athletic Conference had a seventh gold medalist in Owen J. Roberts' Robert Hoffman (152).

Rounding out the area's contingent of qualifiers will be Spring-Ford's Mike Platco (fourth at 189); Owen J. Roberts' Jeremy Stierly (second at 125); and Methacton's Brad Clark (fourth at 160).

Upper Perkiomen got whatever spark it needed Saturday night from Sheetz (43-6), who was trailing Neshaminy's Dex Lederer until he hit a "chin whip" with time running out. Not only did he take Lederer down, but down to his back for a pin at 5:55.

"All these crazy moves," Sheetz said later. "I never use that. I think the last time I did was in junior high school, and before that maybe in youth wrestling with the Braves. I don't remember using it in high school."

Reed went toe-to-toe with defending state champion Mike Rappo of Council Rock South, but eventually fell 3-1 in overtime.

But Zack Kemmerer picked up the pace again at 135, outlasting Moley (38-5) with a takedown as time was running out in regulation.

"I wasn't wrestling a fish because (Moley's) a quality wrestler," Kemmerer said. "He was countering my style and I adapted to his, but I got the win. And I felt I was a solid win."

Fiorito's was probably the hardest-earned of all Saturday night. It was the seventh time he went against Pennridge's A.J. Detwiler, the fifth time this season. So when escaped in the second overtime session for a 2-1 victory, there was plenty to celebrate.

"You have to keep coming up with new strategy, new stuff, to keep him off-balance," Fiorito (50-4) said of Detwiler. "He's so long, it's almost impossible to finish him off.

"But this is a big win for me because it's my third regional title. I only won the sectionals twice and the districts twice. So this is a big accomplishment for me."

Just moments before Fiorito's win, Hoffman (34-3) decisioned Coatesville's Corey Blake, 6-3, in their third straight weekend final.

"Each week gets tougher and tougher," Hoffman said. "But this was very big for me because I got pinned here last year (in the final), and it's good to come back and win where you lost before."

Boyertown's Rodgers (45-2) used a second-period reversal for the only points in his 2-0 decision, the eighth consecutive win over Upper Perkiomen's Shane Smith. DeWan (41-5) got a quick start on Council Rock North's Jared Vivacqua and held on for a 9-7 decision, then White (42-5) held off Pennsbury's Tobi Showunmi, 5-4 in rideout, to cap the Bears' very impressive showing.

NOTES

Before the finals, Upper Perkiomen's Tom Hontz was named the district's class AAA coach of the year. ..Also Saturday night, former Boyertown head coach Bruce Hallman was inducted into the District 1 Wrestling Hall of Fame. A graduate of Boyertown, Hallman guided the Bears' program for 25 seasons, compiling a 303-140-1 career record. ..The 19 state qualifiers is an area record. ..Bennett hurt his knee during the semifinals against White, battled back with a 12-1 major decision in the consolation semifinals, then forfeited the third-place final to avoid further risk of injury. ..Three other area entries -- Spring-Ford's John Martin (fifth at 112); Pottsgrove's Ryan Michaels (fifth at 135); and Upper Perkiomen's Bruce Augustine (sixth at heavyweight) just missed qualifying for states.

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