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Owen J. Roberts Wildcats Wrestling District 1
Pioneer Athletic Conference

Bears keep focus, tame Wildcats to stay perfect in league

by Dennis Weller, Special to The Pottstown Mercury

Posted on January 27, 2009

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BUCKTOWN - Some wrestling teams might be tempted to look past their opponents during the week in between rounds of the District 1-AAA Duals Tournament. But the Boyertown Bears knew they couldn't afford to take their trip to Owen J. Roberts on Monday night lightly, and returned home one step closer to a Pioneer Athletic Conference title with a 41-20 win.

Boyertown (7-0 PAC-10, 16-4 overall) captured eight of the 13 contested bouts, including pins by Ryan Schwager, Jeremy Minich, Adam Benfield, and Tim Feroe. Randy Keehn won by a fall for the Wildcats (2-3, 3-7).

"We don't overlook anybody," said Bear coach Pete Ventresca. "Next up on the radar is Phoenixville (at home on Wednesday). That's our next focus ... one match at a time. Then it will be (West Chester) Henderson (in the district quarterfinals on Friday at Council Rock South).

"They (the Wildcats) always have very tough wrestlers. They have a really good coach here ... a really good coaching staff. They're always well-prepared. You know you're going to have a dogfight when you come in here."

Boyertown got off to a good start when Ryan Schwager - wrestling just his fifth varsity bout of the year - rolled to a 12-5 lead and then recorded a pin with 17 seconds to go in the 171-pound matchup.

"He's a real gamer," said Ventresca. "He goes out and goes after it. We really love having him in the lineup."

OJR hung close for awhile. The score was knotted at 12-12 after six bouts, including a pin by Keehn in 14 seconds at heavyweight and a double forfeit at 112 pounds. But the Bears pulled away from there with Minich's pin, a technical fall by Matt Malfaro (23-5), a 4-0 win by Jon Neiman (14-5) over Michael Lenge in a battle of freshmen, and a fall in favor of Adam Benfield.

That made it 32-12 and the Bears officially wrapped things up when Alex Pellicciotti (27-2) survived a spirited 140-pound tussle with Danny Mongold, 3-0.

"That was a fun one at 140," said OJR coach Steve DeRafelo. "We knew it was going to be a fun one."

Another good match was the one to end the night when Wildcat senior Nick Fuschino (21-1) had to go the distance to down Bear sophomore Tyler Mauger, 6-2.

"Mauger did an excellent job against one of the best wrestlers of our entire region," said Ventresca. "It's his first year up on the varsity. He's a true athlete. He's got a lot of potential."

The Wildcats also got decisions from Scott Syrek (17-2) and Jon Dempsey (16-5) and a technical fall from Jordan Stierly. They forfeited to Zach Heffner (17-2) at 189 pounds.

"We have a few guys we just can't keep healthy," said DeRafelo. "They (the Bears) are a physical team. They're the class of District One. We were lucky to put some points on the board against them.

"I've got to give them credit. They tried to get good matchups for their kids. They could have opened it up a little bit more. That's one of the reasons they're such a good program. They try to get good matchups for their kids."

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