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Owen J. Roberts Wildcats Wrestling District 1
Pioneer Athletic Conference

Tribe takes out frustrations on the Wildcats

by Dennis Weller, Special to The Pottstown Mercury

Posted on January 18, 2009

RED HILL - It had been a tough week for the Upper Perkiomen wrestling team, with a non-league loss at Easton on Monday and a setback to rival Boyertown on Wednesday in what was, for all practical purposes, the match to decide the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship.

But the Indians readjusted their goals and bounced back with a strong performance Saturday morning, a 41-26 PAC-10 win over visiting Owen J. Roberts.

Four Upper Perk wrestlers - Nick Edmonson, Jared Bennett, Garrett Fellman, and Mike McStravick - recorded pins. Scott Syrek and Jonathan Dempsey won by falls for the Wildcats.

"It's been a rough week," said Indian coach Tom Hontz. "We were happy to come out here and win today. We did what we needed to do to win."

Edmonson provided a quick start for the Indians (4-1 PAC-10, 13-7 overall) with a pin in 45 seconds at 171 pounds, and Nick Hale made it 10-0 with a 12-2 decision. Then after Syrek (16-2) and Bennett (24-2) picked up their pins, Dempsey's pin and a win by Andrew Kinney brought OJR (1-2, 2-6) to within a point at 16-15. But the hosts ran off consecutive wins by Martin McStravick, Fellman, Dave Cannon, and Dalton Fleming to break open the match. Then a pin by Mike McStravick (21-5) in 28 seconds at 140 pounds gave the hosts an insurmountable lead.

"We sort of said, what's past is past," said Hontz. "Now the goal is to go and win out the rest of our PAC-10 matches. To finish second in the PAC-10 would be a nice season.

"See where we can end up in wins for the season, win some more dual meets. You've got to refine your goals."

Upper Perk took eight of the bouts to six for the Wildcats, who forfeited at 135 pounds.

"We still can't fill our lineup. It's killing us," said OJR coach Steve DeRafelo. "Everyone knows Upper Perk has been a good team for a long time. Their kids are physical. We talked about that a lot this week. They come after you. I think they're an underrated team.

"We're gearing everything toward getting the kids ready to be as good as they can be at the end of the year. If we fill the lineup, we can go with most teams."

The Wildcats put together a strong finish for the day with a 9-1 decision by Danny Mongold, a win by Jordan Stierly, and a 10-0 nod by Nick Fuschino (19-1).

Mongold earned his team an extra point with a major decision by pulling off a takedown in the final second.

"He's struggled," said DeRafelo. "I think he's turned things around. He's starting to get a little confidence in himself and wrestling the full match.

"The kids battled right to the end of their matches. That's something our guys didn't always do. You have to do that, especially against a team like this."

The season also continues to be a learning experience for the relatively young Upper Perk team, which had a freshman, three sophomores, and six juniors in Saturday's lineup.

"We've got a pretty young squad," said Hontz. "A lot of them are learning what it's all about and the commitment it takes. It's a grueling season."

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