By Alex Frazier
Abington’s Cody Carrigan has his sights set on this year’s post season for a couple of reasons.
Last year he came down sick before sectionals and didn’t make it to districts. Ironically, he got sick last Friday, but he hopes it runs its course before Saturday.
Also, this will be Carrigan’s last year wrestling as he has decided to focus on academics next year in college, and he knows the demands of wrestling are not only time-consuming but also physically demanding, even more so on the college level.
“That’s why I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore after high school,” he said. “I decided I wanted to focus more on academics.”
Carrigan has been a tried and true Abington wrestler who came up through the Abington Bulldogs youth group. He was convinced to wrestle by a family friend and one of his friend’s fathers.
He didn’t wrestle scholastically until high school because he went to Catholic school from kindergarten through eighth grade. When it was time to go to high school, he opted for Abington even though his parents wanted him to continue in Catholic school.
Coach Jeff Franko is thankful for that.
Wrestling isn’t necessarily his favorite sport (he also played baseball and football), but as Carrigan said, “It was what I was built for.”
As a freshman wrestling anywhere from 119 to 130, Carrigan had a successful first year, finishing at 7-5.
“I was put in wherever they needed me,” he said.
As a sophomore he wrestled 135 and upped his mark to 22-9, finishing third in Section One.
Last year he actually had a better record at 22-6, but went 1-2 at sectionals to finish his season on a low note. He lost his final bout to Neshaminy’s John Lindquist when he got caught in a spladdle.
He recently avenged that setback with a 6-1 win over Lindquist in the Feb. 4 dual meet.
That can only fuel his motivation for the post-season.
Heading into sectionals he is 22-5.
“He’s stepped it up this year,” said Franko. “He’s been the most consistent coming out of the start of the season.”
His biggest competition in Section One will be Council Rock North’s Greg Lanctot and C.R. South’s Marc Helfrich, neither of whom he has wrestled this year.
“We have a tough section,” he said.
His goal is to make it as far as regionals.
“Regionals would be a realistic goal for me. I don’t want to settle for anything less,” said Carrigan. “I want to finish the season out, not end on a bad note, make sure I do the best I can.”
Carrigan, sparring partner Max Barsky and heavyweight David Osei have been a big reason why the Galloping Ghosts have turned in their best ever wrestling season with 16 wins. They also won their first-ever district duals first-round match.
But Franko is most proud that all three are “homegrown” wrestlers.
“They showed that you can come through somewhere and stay there and make it happen there,” said Franko. “They didn’t have to go and look for greener pastures somewhere else. That’s kind of neat.”
Carrigan and Barsky are separated by just one weight class, so they see a lot of each other every day. And besides being wrestling partners they’re good friends outside of school.
“It’s nice to have good competition in the room. We’re very competitive with each other,” said Carrigan. “We make each other better.”
The two have very different wrestling styles. Carrigan prefers top, while Barsky is a neutral wrestler.
“I score most of my points on top,” said Carrigan. “I worked a lot in the off-season on top, and it became a sort of go-to position.”
He particularly likes riding and scoring with legs.
“I picked it up just watching other people doing it, and I added it to my package,” said Carrigan. “Last year was the first year I started using them and I’ve definitely gotten better at it since.”
“He’s tough on top,” said Franko. “He’s one of the best leg wrestlers I’ve had. He doesn’t panic. He scores from the top, not just rides. He’s able to turn guys. And he has that ‘upstate’ kind of toughness. He doesn’t back down.”
Carrigan is also one of the team captains, something he takes seriously.
“I like the responsibility and I like the ability to have leadership over the team,” he said.
This may be Carrigan’s last year of wrestling, but he hopes to get back to another sport he played in ninth grade—baseball. This spring he will try out for the baseball team at second base.
“I decided I wanted to do another sport for my senior year,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean he will forget about wrestling. Even though he won’t grapple in college, he wants to be a coach.
“I’m sad to see it go, but I’m happy because I eventually want to coach wrestling,” he said. “I want to coach sports in general just to give back to the kids. I want to stay in the sport and not get rid of it for my entire life.”
Kudos to Callender – Congratulations to Council Rock North’s Jamie Callender who recorded his 100th win at the Giant Center Friday in the PIAA State Dual Meet Tournament.
His pin of Connellsville’s Andrew Brooks in 43 seconds gave the Indians a 12-0 lead, but they couldn’t hold on as Connellsville defeated Rock 35-24.
Callender’s 101st was also a fall, and once again it wasn’t enough to pull out a win. Callender pinned Bethel Park’s Jake Ricciuti in 2:46 in the final match of the day, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome a 22-point deficit against the District Seven champions, as the Indians were eliminated 38-22.
Hall of Famer – Council Rock’s Rocky Mantella will be inducted into the Southeastern Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame at the Southeast Regional Tournament on Feb. 28 at Oxford.
Mantella won the PIAA state 152-pound title a senior in 2001. Currently a junior at Delaware Valley, he has compiled a regular season mark of 23-0 and is ranked fifth in Division III.
The Post-Season – Now that the dual-meet season has concluded, it’s time for the individual battles to begin. This is the time of the year every wrestler anticipates.
Sectional alignments (* indicates host school)
*Abington, Bensalem, Council Rock North, Council Rock South, Neshaminy, Pennsbury, Upper Moreland, Wm. Tennent, Harry S Truman
Central Bucks East, Central Bucks South, Central Bucks West, North Penn, Pennridge, Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Quakertown, Souderton, •Upper Perkiomen
Cheltenham, Hatboro-Horsham, *Methacton, Norristown, Perkiomen Valley, Phoenixville, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion, Wissahickon
*Boyertown, Coatesville, Downingtown East, Downingtown West, Great Valley, Kennett, Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford, Unionville, Bishop Shanahan
Academy Park, Chichester, Glen Mills, *Haverford, Interboro, Penn Wood, Radnor, Ridley, Springfield (D), Sun Valley, Upper Darby
Avon Grove, Conestoga, *Garnet Valley, Lower Merion, Marple Newtown, Oxford, Penncrest, Strath Haven, W.C. East, W.C. Henderson, W.C. Rustin
Saturday, Feb. 14
Weigh-ins: 8 a.m.
First round: 9:30 a.m.
Parade of Champions: 5:45 p.m.
Championship and consolations: 6 p.m.
Top Five SOL teams
2. Council Rock North
3. Council Rock South
5. Upper Moreland
103-Scott Wolfinger, Quakertown
112-Matt Harkins, Hatboro-Horsham
119-Zac Haynes, Council Rock North
125-Matt Rappo, Council Rock South
130-Matt Martoccio, Council Rock South
135- Zac Bush, William Tennent
140-Eric Koch, Quakertown
145-Marc Helfrich, Council Rock South
152- Jim Vollrath, Council Rock South
160-Ed Shupe, Council Rock South
171-Devon Passman, Central Bucks East
189-Jamie Callender, Council Rock North
215-Dan Clemenson, William Tennent
285-David Osei, Abington