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Brower Takes Raised Expectations Into Regional Wrestling Tournament
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2016-03-02

Upper Perk 195-pounder Billy Brower sends Ridley's Keith Blair to the mat before pinning him to win his pigtail match at Saturday's District AAA West tournament at Spring-Ford High School.

All seven Indian wrestlers advance to regionals

        Billy Brower started his senior wrestling season with the goal of qualifying for the regional tournament. But after finishing fourth Saturday in the District One Class-AAA West Tournament, the Upper Perkiomen senior had reset his expectations.

        Brower said his new goal is to qualify for the PIAA Championships at 195 pounds.

        "The way I am wrestling, if I continue to be smart, I know I can compete with anyone," he said. "I have to continue to take it one match at a time."

        All seven Indians finished in the top four at the district tournament at Spring-Ford, and advanced to this weekend's Southeast Regional Tournament starting Friday night at Souderton High School. Overall the team placed fourth out of 19.

        "Most of our guys wrestled the best they have all year," head coach Sam Walters said.

        Jacob Folk (145 pounds), Mike Lockhoff (152) and Michael Felix (160) each finished second. Jarek Svanson (113) and Michael Modugno (220) took third place, while Jared Kuhns (106) and Brower added fourth-place finishes.

        "We keep telling ourselves we have to advance," Brower said. "We have taken it upon ourselves to come together as a team and go as far as we can."

        Upper Perkiomen, which started the tournament by winning its initial 11 bouts,  posted its best performance at a district meet since 2007, when it captured the team title with a margin of more than 100 points, registered five championships and placed 10 wrestlers in the top five places.

        "I think we surprised a lot of people," said Kuhns, a sophomore who improved to 28-9 overall.

        According to Brower, all seven wrestlers reached their goal of advancing to championship semi finals. He credited the Indians' coaching staff for instilling a desire, as well as the stamina, to persevere.

        "Our entire season has been building up to the post (season)," Brower said. "It all starts in the practice room. We practice hard with each other, and the coaches make sure we are the best conditioned team in the district and the state.

        "They have been pushing us for this moment. They told us that the regular season would not be pretty, but that we could really do something in the post season."

        One of three seniors, Brower (27-13) approaches every match like it's his last. He said the finality of post-season tournament fuels him and classmates Felix and Lockhoff.

        Brower, who won just eight matches last season, called his individual accomplishments unexpected.

        "I didn't think this was possible," he said.

        According to Walters, Brower started the season with minor goals, such as registering double-digit victories.

        "Bill reached that pretty fast," the coach said. "The more success he had, the harder he worked. Things just started to snowball for Bill."

        The wrestler credited Indians assistant coach Chris Sheetz for transforming him as a competitor. According to Brower, Sheetz convinced him to wrestle with more urgency and also suggested the initial goal of qualify for the regional tournament. The coach helped the wrestler get in shape.

        "I'm one of the smaller guys in my weight class," Brower said. "And my conditioning allows me to wear anyone out."

        Brower, who scored a 3-2 victory over Pottsgrove's Skylar McLeod in the consolation semifinals to secure his spot in regionals, has relied on a lower stance on his feet to avoid being taken down. He has also worked hard to develop a duck under move, which can be used for offense and defense.

        "I need to be good in all phases," Brower said.


 

 

 

 

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