by Dennis Weller, Special to The Pottstown Mercury
Posted on January 25, 2007
LOWER POTTSGROVE -- At this point of the season, many wrestlers are pretty banged up and getting healthy for post-season competition is almost as important as winning matches. As a result, there were more forfeits than there might normally have been in Wednesday night's Owen J. Roberts at St. Pius X Pioneer Athletic Conference match.
Only eight bouts were actually wrestled, with Owen J. Roberts winning four by forfeit and five of the contested bouts in a 53-28 win. But while some wrestlers were trying to recover from injuries, many of those who did make it out onto the mat showed that they're definitely rounding into shape for the action to come in the next few weeks.
For OJR, Nick Fuschino earned his 26th win of the season, Danny Mongold made it two pins in two varsity bouts this season, and Jordan Stierly picked up his second pin in a row. For St. Pius, Ryan Miller extended his record to 27-1 on the season, and Mike Ciocci earned a pin to start the night for his third win in the last four bouts.
"We've got Upper Perkiomen, and we've got our post-season coming," said OJR coach Steve DeRafelo. "We want to try to get as healthy as we can."
"Unfortunately, both teams were beat up, and there were a lot of forfeits," said Pius coach John Martucci.
Ciocci started the night with a pin in 1:28 at heavyweight. The Pius senior has turned his season around by going 9-5 in the second half after a 2-9 start.
"He's really started clicking and believing in himself," said Martucci. "He's beginning to reap the fruits of that."
Cole Stewart evened things up for OJR (2-4 PAC-10, 3-9 overall) with a pin in 30 seconds at 103 pounds. Then Miller, who has lost only to Tony Communale of Pius X (Roseto) when he stepped up a weight class to gain experience against a top of the line opponent, pinned his man in 28 seconds to put the Winged Lions (1-3, 4-24) back on top.
St. Pius led by a 22-12 score after an exchange of forfeits and a 12-1 win by Bobby Burns at 130 pounds. But the Wildcats went back on top on a pin by Jeremy Stierly and a forfeit. Fuschino made it 29-22 with a technical fall in the 145-pound bout.
"He's wrestling really well," DeRafelo said, concerning sophomore Fuschino (26-4), who has won by three falls and two major decisions in his last five bouts. "He's ready to have a real nice post-season run."
Mongold extended the Wildcat margin to 35-22 with a first-period pin at 152.
"I was happy I could wrestle Danny Mongold," said DeRafelo. "He's been wrestling behind Jeremy (Stierly), Connor (McCormick) and Nick (Fuschino). He's actually closing the gap. He could be starting on a lot of other teams. I'm looking forward to his post-season."
The Wildcats clinched the win with a forfeit in the next bout, and Jordan Stierly took the final contested match of the night with a pin in 3:36 after leading by a 12-5 score following a wild opening period.
"I was glad for him," said DeRafelo. "It's not easy going out on the mat with that last name. He's often giving up weight. It's tough for him. You get a win or two, you start feeling better about yourself."
Despite the rough time that St. Pius has been having in dual matches, Martucci expects several of the Lions to continue their fine seasons.
"Considering we're very thin, we do have some top-notch performers," he said. "We could have three people with 30-plus wins (Burns, Miller and Jordan Yesesky). We've never done that."