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Upper Perk Sends Seven Wrestlers to Districts
Written by Jake Hallman, Staff Writer

         With the dual meet portion of the wrestling schedule officially in the books as of last week, attention was turned to the sport's second season – the individual postseason.

        The first leg of what many hope will be a four-stop tour of wrestling's postseason took place last Saturday at the PAC-10 Wrestling Tournament at Boyertown High School. At stake was a qualifying spot in this weekend's District 1-AAA West Tournament held at Spring-Ford High School.

        To get to Districts, wrestlers have to take a top-five finish at the PAC-10 tourney. After districts, wrestlers will compete at regionals for a chance to make it to the final destination of the grueling postseason grind, the PIAA Tournament in Hershey.

        Upper Perkiomen moved along seven of its 12 entries to the District tournament. Overall, the Indians compiled one runner-up to go along with pairs of third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishers.

        Junior Eric Miller was the Tribe's highest placing winner as he grabbed second at 126. Trevor Weeks and Dustin Steffenino both took third at 160 and 113, respectively, while Casey Cook (182) and Michael Felix (145) finished fourth. Seniors Chris Kramer (170) and Dan Jordan (132) held on for fifth, while sophomores Mahlon Schaffer (285) and Noah Folk (120) just missed a chance to move on, both taking sixth.

        As a team, Upper Perk's collective effort of 111 points was good enough for sixth place. Boyertown – which ran through the PAC-10 with a perfect 9-0 mark, won the District 1 AAA Duals crown and went deep into the PIAA AAA Duals – took the team title with 259.5 points. The Bears advanced 13 of its 14 wrestlers to districts, as it claimed nine top finishers to go along with three fourth-place finishers and one fifth.

        Spring-Ford took second as a team with 210.5 points, followed by Methacton (141.5), Owen J. Roberts (129.5), Pottstown (116) and Upper Perk.

        Miller's path to silver at 126 started with a second-period pin against Perk Valley's Liam O'Brien, and followed with a hard-fought, 1-0 decision against Matt Krieble (Spring-Ford). The wins earned Miller a showdown in the final against Boyertown's Lucas Miller. Last time the two met nearly two weeks ago, Eric Miller was able to hold on for a 4-3 overtime win. This time around, the match was again decided by 1 point, with Lucas Miller holding on for a 2-1 decision.

        Like Eric Miller, Steffenino ran into a familiar foe in his quest for a title. In the semifinals, he squared off against the Rams' Ryan Hayes, who beat Steffenino 11-5 when the two met a month ago. Saturday, Steffenino was able to close the gap, but still fell to Hayes, 7-5, as the latter finished runner-up to OJR's Derek Gulotta. Steffenino, meanwhile, bounced back in the consolation finals to hand Methacton's Bryce Reddington a 4-2 setback.

        Weeks, who also grabbed third, opened with a first-period pin, lost his second match, and bounced back with a 28-second fall and an 8-2 decision against Pottsgrove's Even Weneck in the consi finals. The win upped his overall record to 16-6.

        Cook literally suffered a bad break as an injured ankle in the consolation final gave Spring-Ford's Brendan Zimmie an injury default. Cook opened with a 38-second drop in his first match, fell to runner-up Devin Bradley (Methacton), then held off PJP's Kirk Cherneskie, 7-6. Felix, who also took fourth, went 2-2 with a pair of falls to his credit as he was edged by Spring-Ford's Frank Krauss in the consolation finals.

        The PAC-10 tournament is part of Indian head coach Tom Hontz's farewell tour of the postseason. The 24-year veteran head coach announced his resignation earlier in the year to take the head football coaching job at Upper Perk.





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