By Alex Frazier
Two weeks ago, Hatboro-Horsham coach Glenn Kaiser looked at the lineup for Saturday’s Southeast Classic Tournament and said, “We’ll be killed.”
And indeed his forecast seemed right on target Saturday morning when the Hatters started off in eighth place.
But by midday, they had moved up to fifth and by mid-afternoon to third. And then….
When the team scores were tallied after the final Saturday at Spring-Ford, the Hatters had surged past leader Wilson to take the team title with 145.5 points to Wilson’s 136.
“We typically get off to a slow start,” said Kaiser. “We had one of those again last night. The guys fell back in the wrestlebacks, and that ended up not being a bad thing. We learned some lessons.”
The finals were key for Hatboro-Horsham, which outscored the Bulldogs 19-7.
“Kaiser told us during warm-ups that we had to come out, wrestle hard and get the job done,” said heavyweight Alex Myers. “We all stepped up.”
The Hatters crowned three champions in Matt Harkins (112), Nick Lynch (152) and Myers (285), while Dave Smith placed third at 171. Drew Felice (125) James McLaughlin (135) and Alec Humski (189) also placed fourth.
“Any time you send three guys to the championship match and you win all three, that’s pretty good,” said Kaiser.
Central Bucks East finished third. The Patriots’ Jon Brodzik received the award for Most Pins in the Least Amount of Time (two in 5:47).
“It feels good,” said Brodzik. “It’s my senior year. I practiced a lot in the off-season. I was going to Gladiator and did some tournaments with my friends. I’m feeling good. I feel like it’s my year. Being a senior I want to go out with a bang.”
“Little” Upper Moreland showed it could compete with the big kids on the block by placing fourth in the 17-team field.
The Golden Bears captured three individual titles with Tim Santry taking the gold at 125, John Bolich winning at 160 and James Nicholson taking the 189-pound crown. In addition, Mark Poderis finished fourth at145 and Jake Ellis won his consolation match to take fifth at 119.
“We had a couple of guys we knew would do good,” said Bolich. “We didn’t have our whole team in here. We could have done better. This year we all got older and we’re going to be better and even better next year. It was a nice relief getting this first tournament out of the way. It was a good start.”
The only head-to-head match between Hatboro-Horsham and Wilson came at 112. Wilson’s Giovanni Girogio countered Matt Harkin’s throw to take a four-point lead, but Harkins fought back to within a point on an escape and takedown at the end of one. A reversal in the second gave him a slim one-point lead. With 46 seconds left in the third, he caught Girogio in a headlock and pinned him.
“Harkins is just phenomenal,” said Kaiser. “It doesn’t matter who the kid wrestles. He’s not afraid of anybody. I’ll take my chances anytime with Matt.”
One of those Hatters that took the long road in the wrestlebacks was Dave Smith. He was in what some thought was the toughest weight class in the tournament—171.
After losing to Interboro’s Dave Gillen in the first round, he got his revenge in the consi semifinals with a technical fall in 4:13. Then in the final for third, he majored Matt Kreuger of Spring-Ford, 12-0.
“He did a great job taking third for us in a really tough weight class,” said Kaiser. “A senior captain, that’s his job. I’m proud of him.”
The Hatters’ second champ came at 152. Joe Kent of Norristown battled Nick Lynch tooth and nail into the third period, trailing by just a point. But Lynch turned on the heat, getting an escape and takedown to pull ahead 7-3. And with 24 seconds left, he caught Kent in a headlock for the fall.
Myers and Perk Valley’s Chase Godfrey are no strangers. They have wrestled four times, including Myers’ overtime wins in sectionals and districts last year.
This time was no different, although Myers managed to get it done in regulation with a 4-3 decision.
“I just came off a long football season,” he said. “I was just looking to come out here and get a good start to the season. I recognized all the kids. I wrestled most of them. It looked like a familiar bracket, so I felt pretty comfortable and knew what I had to do to win.”
“Alex Myers is ranked in the state and he wrestled like it today,” said Kaiser. “He wrestled like a wrestler, not a heavyweight wrestler. I admire that. He’s really slimmed down and beefed up at the same time.”
Upper Moreland’s Santry also fell behind early at 125. Interboro’s T.J. Harper countered a shrug attempt at the edge of the mat to come up with a takedown of his own. Santry regained a point on a locked hands call and then escaped in the second period to tie the score. Harper and Santry traded escape and stalling points in the third to send the match into overtime.
“I was just thinking try to score and win the match,” said Santry.
After a scoreless first period, Harper chose bottom and Santry locked up a bar and turned him for three back points, before Harper reversed.
“That was key,” said Santry. “I chopped him and just got the bar in and I tried to run it.”
Harper cut Santry in the second overtime, hoping to get a takedown, but Santry fought him off for the 7-5 win.
“I was happy with the outcome,” he said. “I wrestled him in a pre-season tournament and beat him. It was close. I just tried to work my stuff and come up with a win.”
At 160, Bolich took advantage of a big mistake by Wissahickon’s Andre Watkins that turned a 2-2 bout into a 7-2 win. Watkins tried to step over Bolich’s whizzer and wound up counting the lights.
“He’s hard to score on,” said Bolich. “I kind of pulled him over and hipped up.”
James Nicholson ran the table at 189, winning by technical fall in the quarters and 7-3 in the semis before dominating Honesdale’s Luis Rivero, 13-6, in the finals.
Central Bucks East’s Brodzik got his senior year off on the right foot with a decisive tournament at 140. After a first-round bye, he pinned Julien Dinerstien of Upper Moreland in 1:14, then cruised past Jordan Deane of Perk Valley, 12-2.
In the finals, he caught J.P. McCaskey’s Micky Ortiz in a cradle for the fall at 4:33.
“I was looking for the crossface cradle,” said Brodzik. “It’s my bread and butter, but I got an inside single and he just fell over me and it was the perfect opportunity for a low leg cradle.”
Last year he missed states by a point, something he wants to correct this year.
“I’m planning on going this year, and I’m planning on medaling as high as I can,” he said.
Brodzik’s teammate Devon Passman had another classic tussle with Wissahickon’s Taylor Franko. Those two have gone at it at least four times.
Passman proved superior on his feet, taking Franko down twice to keep his undefeated streak intact, 6-2.
“It gets tougher and tougher,” said Passman. “He knows what I like to do and I know what he likes to do, so you always have to try to bring a different game plan. He doesn’t make any mistakes, so you really have to wrestle smart.”
This time Passman tried to avoid tying up with Franko because he is so strong. He set his first takedown up with an arm drag and shot in for a successful double for his second.
“I scored my points where I was able to and luckily came through,” he said. “It was a great tournament, great competition, especially for the first matches of the season.”
Southeast Classic Wrestling Tournament
1. Hatboro-Horsham (HH) 145.5, 2. Wilson (Wil) 136, 3. Central Bucks East (CBE) 120, 4. Upper Moreland (UM) 113, 5. Norristown (No) 111, 6. Perkiomen Valley (PV) 110, 7. Methacton (Me) 109.5, 8. Northeast Catholic (NEC) 106, 9. J.P. McCaskey (JPM) 100, 10. Wissahickon (Wis) 87.5, 11. Spring-Ford (SF) 84, 12. Honesdale (Ho) 73, 13. North Penn (NP) 65, 14. Interboro (I) 64, 15. Freedom (F) 61, 16. Bensalem (B) 55, 17. Exeter (E) 35.5
103—Mike McCall (NEC) dec. Rob D’Annunzio (Me), 6-5
112—Matt Harkins (HH) pinned Giovanni Girogio (Wil) 5:14
119—Lexis Ortiz (JPM) dec. David Davidson (NEC), 7-6
125—Tim Santry (UM) dec. T.J. Harper (I), 7-5 OT
130—Timmy Miller (SF) dec. Tim Ravel (Wil), 11-6
135—Nick Dragonette (Wil) major. dec. Levy Levy (Ho), 14-4
140—Jon Brodzik (CBE) pinned Micky Ortiz (JPM), 4:33
145—Matt Dugan (NEC) dec. Jordan Rosa (Wil), 9-2
152—Nick Lynch (HH) pinned Joe Kent (No), 5:36
160—John Bolich (UM) dec. Andre Watkins, 7-2
171—Devon Passman (CBE) dec. Taylor Franko (Wis), 6-2
189—James Nicholson (UM) dec. Luis Rivero (Ho), 13-6
215—Brandan Clark (Me) dec. Joe Burke (CBE), 5-3
285—Alex Myers (HH) dec. Chase Godfrey (PV) 4-3.
Third place consolations
103—Dave Yannes (Wis) major dec. Evan Conti (NP), 12-1
112—Tyler Romano (NP) pinned Ty Gardner (N), 2:44
119—Nick Lippincott (B) dec. Justin Andrews (Me), 7-5
125—Bob Detweiler (F) dec. Drew Felice (HH), 3-1
130—Gavin Milligan (PV) dec. Matt Klacik (F), 6-2
135—Brandon Brickner (B) dec. James McLaughlin (HH), 2-0
140—Brandon Parker (N) dec. Jordan Deane (PV), 1-0
145—Mason McIntyre (F) dec. Mark Poderis (UM), 11-8
152—Randy Haun (NP) dec. Cody Brown (Wil), 3-2
160—Joey Pierce (N) dec. Bobby Angst (PV), 6-3
171—Dave Smith (HH) dec. Matt Kreuger (SF), 12-0
189—Brett Petriello (PV) dec. Alec Humski (HH), 5-2
215—Brian Corliss (Wis) dec. Lou Fioravanti (PV), 4-2
285—Marc Robbins (N) pinned Justin Franiak (SF), 1:17
Fifth place consolations
103—Felipe Arias (Wil) dec. Mike Kern (E), 5-2
112—Bill Magee (I) won by injury default
119—Jake Ellis (UM) pinned Cag Saylor (E), :42
125—Josh Rosario (JPM) dec. Shane Hughes (B), 4-1
130—Frank Lippincott (B) major dec. Devin Anderson (JPM), 14-0
135—T.J. Van Horn (NEC) major dec. Jeff McFarland (Me), 13-1
140—Pat Carr (Me) dec. Kyle Duffy (SF), 4-3
145—Jarrett Sanders (CBE) dec. Stephen Parker (N), 3-2
152—Nick Furman (Me) dec. Will Everett (CBE), 3-0
160—Kyle Kovalsky (Me) dec. Dylan Markwith (F), 3-1
171—Dave Gillen (I) dec. Ryan Kratz (N), 5-0
189—Nate Nelson (JPM) won by injury default
215—A.J. Vizcorrando (NEC) dec. Dalton Derrick (Ho), 7-3
285—Dan Cox (Me) pinned Dominique Smith (JPM) 2:15