Boyertown pins down fifth straight Section 4 title
by Don Seeley, Pottstown Mercury Sports Editor
Posted on February 18, 2007
FRAZER -- There's no generation gap in Boyertown's wrestling program.
The Bears proved that rather definitively Saturday throughout the District 1-Class AAA Section Four Tournament at Great Valley High School.
Clinging to a 16-point lead over Downingtown West going into Saturday night's finals, freshmen Matt Malfaro and Alex Pellicciotti gave the Bears a little more breathing room with a pair of decisions in their finals at 103 and 119 pounds, respectively.
Then senior Jamie Soupik added a little more to the spread with a decision in the 140-pound final before seniors Dave Jones and Jesse DeWan put it out of reach -- with an exclamation point, too -- by posting back-to-back pins at 160 and 171.
The five champions, not to mention runners-up Asher Hyatt (125) and Brian Rakowski (152) and four other medalists, enabled the Bears to amass 194.5 points and capture their fifth straight Section Four title ..and ninth in a row when counting the four District 3 sectionals they swept prior to moving into the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
Downingtown West closed with 169.5 points, while Great Valley (155.5), Spring-Ford (101.5) and Unionville (101) rounded out the Top Five. Owen J. Roberts, the area's other representative in the 10-team field, was sixth with 81 points.
"This was one of our goals we set in the beginning of the season," said Jones (37-3), who had three pins on the day. "We sat down in the (practice) room on Friday and saw it on our goal sheet, so we knew we had to come in here and perform."
They did ..the youngsters, like Malfaro and Pellicciotti, who were learning their ABCs when the Boyertown streak began, as well as the veterans, like Soupik, Jones and DeWan, who were determined not to see the run end.
Talk about bridging the ol' generation gap.
"This was pretty important to us," said Soupik (31-6), who like Jones came up big in two of the three Downingtown West-Boyertown brawls Saturday night. "We beat those guys in a dual meet, so we didn't want to lose to them here. We didn't want to give up the title, either. I knew (the seniors) didn't."
Boyertown, which also got third-place medals from Justin Duncan (112) and Todd Speilman (135) and a pair of fourth-place efforts from Tim Feroe (145) and Mike Holloway (285), will advance a sectional-high 11 to next week's district showdown, That number accounted for almost half of the area's 23 district qualifiers.
Spring-Ford, led by runners-up Mike Platco (189) and Alex Kanakis (215), got three thirds from Cory Sutton (103), J.J. Willow (140) and Matt Patterson (171), and fourths from Brandon Duffy (112) and John Martin (119), to push seven into next week's second round of the postseason.
Malfaro's win was rather impressive. His 7-2 decision came over Unionville's top-seeded Joe Bondauce (34-2), who had rolled up a major decision over Malfaro (30-8) during last year's District 1 Junior High School Tournament. And considering Malfaro fell behind 2-0 at the outset ..
"I've been taken down a couple of times this year and came back to win, so that wasn't a big deal," Malfaro said. "I just kept my cool."
At a critical time, too.
"Yes, a coach told me to go out there and get us going," he admitted. "But that doesn't add any pressure. It just makes me want to try even harder. We talked about the team title, and we knew Downingtown West wanted to take it away from us."
Pellicciotti (35-5) did his share of denying the Whippets, too, avenging a setback to Great Valley's Kyle Liberato in the District 1-AAA Duals a couple of weeks ago with a 4-2 decision this time around.
"I beat (Liberato) before, so I knew I could beat him again," Pellicciotti said. "But I went out that last time with a big head thinking I could just walk out there and win. This time I took him more serious.
"The coaches told me to go out there and win, so that made me a little nervous. But I've been wrestling a long time and been in these situations before. I felt I could beat him."
DeWan (37-3) had a big day as well for the Bears. He broke the school record for career wins with a major decision in the semifinals, then finished up with his 76-second fall over Great Valley's Jay Hahn for his third straight sectional title.
Earlier, Stierly got his hat trick with a very impressive 11-1 major over Downingtown West's Jake Miller, which didn't hurt the Boyertown cause, either.
"That was 'Stierly Style,' " he said after the finals. "Earlier, that was one of my off-beat matches. They come and go. I was defensive (in a 5-4 semifinal thriller over Great Valley's Domenic DeRobertis), and I can't do that. I have to be aggressive.
"But this (third title) means a lot to me. Sectionals has always been a good tournament for me. And it's always a good start for the postseason. It gives me a big confidence boost going into districts."
The Whippets' D.J. Evans (125), who won his 100th career bout earlier in the day, was named the OW. ..The top four finishers in each weight class advance to next Saturday's District 1-AAA Central Tournament at Spring-Ford High School.