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PAC-10 team capsules

by Dennis Weller, Special to the Pottstown Mercury

Posted on December 11, 2009

BOYERTOWN

Head coach: Pete Ventresca, 5th season (76-30 career record).

Last year's record: 9-0 in the PAC-10, 22-7 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Adam Kulp (112), Jr., Matt Malfaro (119-125), Sr., Jeremy Minich (119-125), Jr., Alex Pellicciotti (135), Sr., Adam Benfield (140), Sr., Jon Neiman (145-152), So., Peter Jones (152), Jr., Brock Hallman (171), Sr., Zach Heffner (171-189), Jr., Tyler Mauger (171-189), Jr., Ryan Schwager (171-189), Sr.

Notes: Bears return eight wrestlers with at least 30 matches last season, including three state qualifiers from the team that won the PAC-10, and finished second in District 1-AAA Duals and in the top six in the state. ... Pellicciotti (48-5) placed seventh in the PIAA Tournament for the second straight year and stands fourth at Boyertown in career wins (125-19) - 18 behind 2007 graduate Jesse DeWan - after setting a school record for wins in a season last year. ... Minich (41-7) recorded the most wins ever by a Bear sophomore while making it to states. Malfaro (41-8), who also advanced to Hershey, sits in 16th place in career wins at 108-36. Heffner (30-8) was a Southeast Regional qualifer. ... "I think it's early. We have to see how things pan out and if we have guys in the right weights," said Ventresca. "I think we have a chance to have a pretty good team. I think there are a lot of tough teams out there who are really going to test us."


METHACTON

Head coach: A.J. Maida, 2nd season.

Last year's record: 5-4 in the PAC-10, 8-8 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Rob D'Annunzio (103), Jr., Justin Andrews (119-125), Sr., Pat Carr (145-152), Jr., Eliot Reisz (171), Jr., Dan Cox (189), Sr., Brandan Clark (215), Jr., Andrew Cox (285), Sr.

Notes: Methacton failed to record a 36th consecutive winning season, but finished above .500 in its first-ever PAC-10 campaign and rallied back to an even record overall after a 2-6 start. ... Warrior program has now racked up 506 wins since its inception in the early 1960s. ... Graduated only one wrestler with more than eight wins last year (Kyle Kovalsky with 26) and returns six with at least 20 in Clark (32-6), D'Annunzio (28-9), Dan Cox (24-12), Andrews (24-13), Carr (21-15) and Reisz (20-11). ... "We hope to be competitive in what looks to be a very competitive league again this year," said Maida. "Our juniors and seniors have stepped up and are setting a nice example for the freshmen and sophomores. We'll be young at some spots, but hope to have some depth and be competitive where we're young. The sophomore class will have to step in right away and learn what it is to compete at the varsity level."


OWEN J. ROBERTS

Head coach: Stephen DeRafelo, 8th season (40-39 career record).

Last year's record: 6-3 in the PAC-10, 7-7 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Jon Dempsey, Jr., Sam Funk, Jr., Andrew Kinney, So., Jordan Moser, Jr., Jake Schell, So., Scott Syrek, Jr.

Notes: Wildcats graduated four wrestlers with winning records, including PIAA fifth-place medalist and Mercury Wrestler of the Year Nick Fuschino, but return six district qualifiers in Syrek (31-10, sixth in the state, 70-20 overall), Kinney (26-11), Dempsey (24-10), Funk (15-15), Moser and Schell. ... DeRafelo, who says this is the youngest team he has ever coached, doesn't have a good feel for specific weight classes yet after a late wrestling start by some members of OJR's District 1-AAA semifinalist football team. ... "This is the first time in my coaching career that I will be coaching a team that does not include at least two or three seniors who have been with me for four years," he said. "I have two seniors who have been working hard, but they have not been with the program for four years. I will be starting a number of freshmen and underclassmen that have no varsity experience. We are young and have a lot of work ahead of us. I am hoping our tough schedule will help these kids take the next step. The league will be very competitive. Hopefully, we'll find ourselves in the mix."


PERKIOMEN VALLEY

Head coach: Tim Walsh, 3rd season (30-16 career record).

Last year's record: 6-3 in the PAC-10, 14-8 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Justin Beitler (112), So., Richie Tevlin (119), Jr., Gavin Milligan (135), Jr., Vaughn Gehman (145), Jr., Lou Fioravanti (215), Jr.

Notes: Vikings finished at 6-3 in the league for the second year in a row, their best records since 2002-2003, but graduated four wrestlers who each had over 25 wins last year. ... Milligan (34-8), a Southeast Regional qualifier, has a career mark of 62-18, and Beitler (22-12), Fioravanti (19-11), and Tevlin (19-13) are also coming off winning seasons. ... "With a number of new faces on the team this year and no returning seniors, we will need our young guys to step up with the hope of remaining competitive," said Walsh.


PHOENIXVILLE

Head coach: Dave Saville, 2nd season.

Last year's record: 2-7 in the PAC-10, 9-12 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Eddie McCarthy (103), Fr., Brian Madden (112), Steven Kelly (119), Tom Madden (125), Brendon Bonner (130), So., Jordan Valenteen (135), Fr., Ricardo Martinez (140), Jr., Matt Cermanski (145), Jr., Dan Giannone (152), Jr., Kajhnel Norwooe (160), Sam LaPorte (171), So., Max Card (189), Jr., Kenny Cenci (215), Jr., Brandon O'Hara (285), Jr.

Notes: Four of the six Phantoms with more than 15 wins last year return in Cenci (30-9, regional qualifier), Cermanski (24-13), O'Hara (18-8), and Giannone (16-15). ... "We have a number of good juniors, so this year we should have a season that shows the hard work over the last couple years," said Saville. "The team is hoping to improve their record in the PAC-10 and be more competitive with the top teams and wrestlers in the area. Cenci, Cermanski, and Giannone have been working hard in the off-season and currently in the wrestling room, as well as sophomore Brendon Bonner and freshmen Eddie McCarthy and Jordan Valenteen."


POTTSGROVE

Head coach: Jeff Madden, 2nd season.

Last year's record: 3-6 in the PAC-10, 12-9 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Matt Cimino (103), So., Kenny Powell (130), So., Denny Gibbons (135), Sr., Zach Robinson (140), Jr., Danny Michaels (145), So., T.J. Demetrio (152), Jr., Tyler Wysochanski (171), Jr., Eric Bonenberger (189), So., Chris Nester (215-285), Jr.

Notes: Falcons have the bulk of their experienced wrestlers back, with nine returning lettermen, including five with at least 19 wins last season. They are regional qualifier Robinson (30-9, 66-18 career), Demetrio (24-9), Wysochanski (22-12), Gibbons (20-12), and Michaels (19-12). ... "Denny Gibbons is the only returning senior," said Madden. "He will be called upon to lead this group of underclassmen through the season."


POTTSTOWN

Head coach: Eric Dusko, 5th season (28-52 career record).

Last year's record: 1-8 in the PAC-10, 4-16 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Coach Dusko declined to mention any specific wrestlers, saying, "Any success we have this season is going to come from a team effort."

Notes: Trojans graduated just two wrestlers who accounted for a total of 16 wins. ... "There's a positive outlook with the team right now," said Dusko. "I see a pretty good work across the board from our four-year veteran guys down to our new faces. The overall feeling is a good feeling. We're just going to work hard and see what happens."


SPRING-FORD

Head coach: Tim Seislove, 11th season (125-65 career record).

Last year's record: 5-4 in the PAC-10, 10-7 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Sean Heron (140), Sr., Matt Stipa (145), Sr., Chris Lee (152), Sr., Billy Gurley (189), Sr., Aaron Cummins (215), Sr.

Notes: Rams graduated three wrestlers who totaled 79 wins last year, including regional qualifier Tim Miller. ... "The league is going to be very tough this year," said Seislove. "We are trying to fill all 14 weight classes and hope to be as competitive as possible."


ST. PIUS X

Head coach: Mark Houseal, 2nd season.

Last year's record: 0-9 in the PAC-10, 2-14 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Anthony Yerger (125), Jr., Nico Pelero (135), So., John Anuszewski (140-145), Jr., Jared Robbins (140-145), Jr., Conor Myers (152), Jr., A.J. Ebersole (160), Jr., Anthony Pugliese (189), Jr., Josh Rogers (189), Sr., Zach Stone (285), Jr.

Notes: Lions have almost everybody back from last year's squad - including the top three winners in Rogers (26-16), Ebersole (18-23), and Myers (16-16) - plus some promising newcomers in freshmen Tyler Rogers (119), Conor Staples (140-145), and Antionio Coccia Samiao (112), along with sophomore John Cherneskie (171) and senior John Destefano (130). ... Houseal and assistant Selden Staples feel Pius, in its final year before becoming part of the new Pope John Paul II High School, is stronger in both depth and ability and is motivated both because it is the school's last season and because of the success of the fall sports teams. ... Houseal says he expects Josh Rogers (2nd at districts), Ebersole (4th at districts), Myers, Yerger, Pugliese (6th at districts), Robbins (4th at districts), and Anuszewski (6th at districts) to have breakout seasons. ... "We know we may not win the PAC-10 this year, but we set our schedule to the ability of the wrestlers and are planning to have a successful season," Houseal explained. "Being a small team and part of the PAC-10 makes us a better team when it comes to entering AA team and individual districts, which we plan on making a run at with the team we have this year. You look at last year this time and we had 10 guys on the team. Currently, we have 24, of which 15 are underclassmen. We have made great progress and are planning on continuing the progress throughout the year."


UPPER PERKIOMEN

Head coach: Tom Hontz, 20th season (269-135-1).

Last year's record: 8-1 in the PAC-10, 19-9 overall.

Wrestlers to watch: Dylan Steffenino (103), Fr., Kyle Fellman (103), Fr., Wolfgang McStravick (112), Fr., Avery Scripture (119), Fr., Dan Rodenberger (125), Jr., David Cannon (130), Sr., Martin McStravick (135), Sr., Chris Rementer (140), Jr., Devyn Kerr (145), So., Cody Ambrose (152-160), Jr., Dalton Fleming (152-160), So., Trevor Reed (160-171), Sr., Nate Pompei (171), Jr., Nick Hale (189), Sr., Dan Wolfram (215), Sr.

Notes: Indians need to replace four graduates who averaged 29 wins last year, including state qualifier Jared Bennett. ... Rodenberger (28-18) and Marty McStravick (27-14) were second and third, respectively, in wins last season. ... Hontz thinks a key will be whether or not last year's .500 wrestlers can improve and win consistently this season. ... "There are a lot of youngsters in the lineup who will have a profound impact on the team's success," he said. "The lightweights can be tough if young guys mature and are ready to handle the challenge. The team cannot afford any injuries as depth is a serious concern due to low numbers. The 'football factor' could be an issue early in the season with as many as seven starters just getting on the mats after a lengthy football season."

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