by Nate Heckenberger, Special to the Pottstown Mercury
Posted on December 21, 2009
NEWARK, DEL. - If you put this year's results by Boyertown's Alex Pellicciotti next to those of 2008, the 2009 version gets the edge, if only by a small margin.
Considering the fortunes of some of his teammates in the always-brutal Beast of the East tournament that wrapped up Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware, Pellicciotti's fourth-place finish was certainly well deserved.
"I placed higher than last year," the 135-pound senior said. "So I guess that's successful."
Pellicciotti was the lone Bear to earn a top-eight medal. Matt Malfaro (119 pounds) and Zach Heffner (189) were both eliminated a win away from a medal.
Malfaro was bounced by top-seeded Robert Deutsch of Eastern Regional (N.J.), 2-1 in a tie-breaker. Heffner was later majored by No. 9 Nick Kidd of Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.), 15-5.
"As a team I thought we wrestled excellent," Boyertown coach Pete Ventresca said. "Every kid fought and wrestled well and I'm pleased with the team's performance this weekend."
Fourth-seeded Pellicciotti, who started the day in the championship quarterfinals, lost to No. 5 Scott Festejo of Long Branch (N.J.), 5-3. He also ended the day on the wrong side of the score against Festejo, 11-2, in the consolation final.
"This is the toughest tournament in the country for a reason," Ventresca said. "Because the toughest kids in the country are here. Alex ran into a stud, and give him credit, he was a tough kid and he beat Alex. I have no doubt, on a different day, it could be a different story. Alex battled all day and had some big wins throughout."
Three of those wins came in between Pellicciotti's two losses. The first of which, against Oxford's No. 11 Cory Brennan, came by virtue of a pin in 3:47 to clinch his second straight Beast medal. Pellicciotti then pinned No. 9 Devon Gobbo of Delbarton in 57 seconds and reached the consolation finals after No. 3 Shawn Greeley of Cumberland Valley was forced to injury default during the match.
"I've changed a lot of things in the way I wrestle," Pellicciotti said. "I like the changes so far and I'm happy with the way I wrestled."
The Hill School sent three wrestlers to the Beast of the East this weekend, with Jay Knighton heading their efforts.
Knighton, a senior 285-pounder, went 3-2 in the tournament. Colin Saunders compiled a 2-2 record at 135, with Karl Wiszumerski going 1-2 at 140.