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Rozanski Accomplishes 'Unthinkable' at Regional Wrestling Tournament
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Branden Rozanski arrived at Upper Perkiomen's wrestling room prior to the final day of the South East AAA Regional Tournament last weekend with a smile. An

Brandon Rozanski wins five consecutive matches

to finish third at the South East AAA Regional 

Tournnament last weekend.

immediate sense of optimism washed over head coach Steve Adam.

            "I knew he would get it done," Adam said.

            The Upper Perkiomen junior brushed aside the angst of an opening-round loss at 121 pounds to finish third in the tournament at Souderton Area High School. Rozanski (35-5) won five consecutive matches -- including three by shutout -- on Saturday, March 4, to earn the bronze medal and earn consecutive berths in the PIAA Class 3A championships. The coach described the feat as more difficult than winning the tournament.

            "Branden accomplished the unthinkable," Adam said. "It was an incredible run through the consolation bracket. Just an absolute grind."

            A fall over James Wallace, a junior from Academy Park, triggered the rally. The Pennsburg resident then delivered three straight shutout wins to reach the third-place match. 

"I could not be happier with the momentum Branden has going into states," the coach said. "He's peaking at the right time."

            Rozanski beat Souderton's Charlie Arobone and Boyertown's Sonny Mash, 5-0. In the consolation semifinals, he eked out a 1-0 victory over Pat Woloshyn, a ninth-grader from Council Rock South.

            In the bronze medal match, the junior rolled to a 12-7 victory over Andrij Szczesniuk, a sophomore from Coatesville.

            "The whole day was really intense," said Rozanski, who admitted to surprising himself. "But I pulled through. It was a relief."

            Rozanski, the No. 2 seed, opened with a 4-2 overtime defeat to Quinn McBride, a ninth grader from Pennridge, on Friday, March 3. He said he felt "super frustrated," mad, and admitted to briefly sulking. 

            Before leaving the tournament site, after the power went out due to a traffic accident that ended the session prematurely, Adam consoled the wrestler, who appeared visibly upset. The coach told Rozanski that he would win five consecutive matches and end up near the top of the podium, improving on his fourth-place finish last season.

            "I believed him," said Rozanski, who nodded in approval. "I knew I had to come back and wrestle the way I can."

            Around 7 a.m. the following morning, Rozanski entered the wrestling room feeling upbeat, according to Adam. The coach said he wasn't expecting that kind of reaction.

            "I came out flat Friday," Rozanski said. "I knew I had to turn things around."

            Rozanski's familiarity with Saturday's quintet aided his success, said Adam. The wrestler had posted previous victories over two of those opponents.

            A second-period pin of Wallace provided Rozanski with a shot of confidence. He followed with a 7-0 win over Arobone and a 5-0 victory over Mash.

            In the consolation semifinal, the Pennsburg resident utilized a takedown early in the second period to score the only point. Rozanski then rode out Woloshyn in the third period to punch his return ticket to States.

            "Everything worked in our favor," Adam said. "We were not going to accept anything less than Branden coming back and taking third place. It certainly did not come easy."
            Ben Godshall (107 pounds) and Gabe Tulone (114) each reached the second round of the consolations before suffering season-ending losses. Gabe Sanfelice (139) was eliminated one round earlier.

            Godshall (30-10) scored the only first-round victory by posting a 10-0 win over Upper Dublin's Jake Evans. However, a first-period fall against Max Tancini -- a freshman from Perkiomen Valley -- knocked him into the consolation round.

            The Indians ninth grader responded with a 3-1 overtime win over Zach Thomas, a junior from Central Bucks South. But Radnor's Akahi Heywood ended his season with a 9-3 loss.
            Tulone (32-11) suffered a 6-4 opening-round loss to Ryan Hayes, a sophomore from Methacton at 114 pounds. The Tribe junior was awarded two forfeit victories before suffering a season-ending defeat. He lost 11-0 to Cole Coffin, a junior from Pennridge.

            Sanfelice (25-16) opened with a 6-0 loss to Austin McMillan, a senior from Oxford Area who reached the finals. In the consolation round, the junior defeated Interboro's Gavin Oliva 8-5 -- after falling behind 4-0 -- to remain alive. A 3-1 loss to Jordan Barry, a junior from Downingtown, ended his season.

            "Those three guys got some valuable experience competing at this level," Adam said. "All of their weight classes are loaded."






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