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Sports Article
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Handshake Launches Martin to PIAA Tournament
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A handshake provided Matt Martin with an overwhelming feeling of confidence prior to the most consequential match of his wrestling career. The Upper Perkiomen

Quakertown's Domenic DeFalco locks up with Upper

Perkiomen senior Zach Rozanski during the bronze med-

al match of the 138-pound weight class during last week-

end's Southeast AAA Regional Tournament.

senior immediately sensed that his opponent wasn't emotionally prepared to compete in a decisive match at the 2020 South East AAA Regional Tournament.

            Martin posted a pair of falls in his final two bouts to finish third at 113 pounds during the tournament at Souderton High School last weekend and qualify for the PIAA Championship Tournament. Zach Rozanski, who finished fourth at 138, also advanced to states, which begin Thursday in Hershey.

            "The feeling of seeing one of your wrestlers react to getting to states never gets old," Indians head coach Steve Adam said. "It's what we're here to do."

            Matt Milkowich (106 pounds) finished one victory short of states during the regional tournament, which concluded Saturday, Feb. 29. Joey Carpenter (126) and Daman Faraco (195) also absorbed season-ending losses.

            Martin (34-6), who will take on Nico Taddy (34-6) a freshman from West Allegheny in an opening round match at 113 pounds at states, overcame a semifinal loss on the final day of the tournament at Souderton High School to fulfill a lifelong dream. The key moment came at the start of his state-qualifying victory over Matthew McCaughey, a freshman from Abington. McCaughey's weak handshake displayed a lack of commitment, according to Martin.

            "I could tell he wasn't ready to compete," said Martin, who rebounded from a 10-0 semifinal loss to Dominic Findora, a sophomore from Downingtown West. "So I went right after him."

            Martin dominated the bout, posting a first-period fall. The victory secured his berth in states, which are held at the Giant Center.

            In the third-place match, Martin built a significant lead over Downingtown East's Ryan Loraw in the first period. He secured the bronze medal with a pin midway through the second period.

            "Matt wrestled with a lot of confidence," Adam said. "That's what this weekend is all about. He was able to score near-fall points at will."

            According to the coach, Martin has mastered a new series of scoring moves over the last three to four weeks. Adam described the wrester's performance as impressive.  "Matt is a freak," the coach said. "Because of his athleticism, new things come easily to him."

            Rozanski (35-10) overcame an 11-1 loss to Domenic DeFalco, a junior, Quakertown, in the quarterfinal round at districts by posting three straight victories. The senior started the flurry with a 7-6 win over Oxford Area's Landon Meredith, then posted a 7-1 victory over Central Bucks South's Dominic Stoughton. He clinched a berth at states with a 3-2 victory over North Penn's William Morrow in the consolation semifinals.

            "This means everything," said Rozanski, who absorbed a 17-1 technical fall loss to DeFalco in the third-place match. "All my hard work has finally paid off."

            According to Adam, Rozanski maneuvered through a very challenging weight class. The coach said the wrestler posted multiple upsets on his way to the medal stand.

Rozanski will debut at states against Steven Storm (36-4), a senior from Pocono Mountain East. The winner will face Wyatt Henson (46-4), the Southwest regional champion from Waynesburg Central.



            Milkowich (27-11) suffered a season-ending 4-1 loss to Council Rock North's Anthony Burke in the fifth place bout. The sophomore said he was disappointed with the outcome. 

"I came up a little short," he said.

            According to Adam, Milkowich did not seem nervous prior to the decisive bout. All of the points were scored during the second period. In the third period, the sophomore unsuccessfully attempted to put Buke on his back with a Power Half Nelson.

            "Matt was ready to go," Adam said. "He's always really relaxed before a match. "He needs to learn how to generate more offense on his feet.

            Carpenter (24-20) won one of his three matches during the tournament. After opening with an 8-2 loss to Council Rock North's Luke Lucerne, the junior remained alive with a 10-6 win over Kelton Brunner, a sophomore from Strath Haven. However, a 9-0 defeat at the hands of Quakertown's Vinny DeSpirito ended his season.

            Faraco (12-12) was eliminated after consecutive defeats. He initially suffered a first-period fall against Sun Valley's Ryan Catka, then absorbed a 3-1 loss to Strath Haven's Ben Farabaugh.






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