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Claus to Ventresca: 'Tough start, but encouraging'

by Jim Davidheiser, Boyertown Times contributor

Posted on December 14, 2009

(NOTE: During a brief respite from his Christmas/preparation agenda, a Mr. Santa Claus paid a visit to last Saturday's Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duals wrestling tournament. He offers the following account to Pete Ventresca, the Boyertown High head mat coach.)

"Indeed, Mr. Ventresca, season-opening wrestling matches can be an inimitable combination of mystery and excitement.

And your team's performances at the Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duals were certainly ... well, they were certainly memorable.

A trio of team victories was tempered by nail-biter losses to Bethlehem Liberty and Council Rock North.

And no less than three of your Boyertown grapplers are undefeated after that grueling first day of this 2009-10 scholastic season.

Seniors Alex Pellicciotti and Matt Malfaro and junior Jeremy Minich were a combined 15-0 on the day. And both Zach Heffner and Peter Jones (juniors) impressed mat critics, as well ... they both went 4-1.

More than likely, Mr. Pellicciotti (a two-time seventh-place state medalist) will be a key leader, an instrumental cog in this latest BASH wrestling version.

(Please extend my apologies to those Bear grapplers not mentioned in this epistle. Rest assured, I observed a great deal of talent and potential throughout the exhausting Bear Duals schedule. Plenty of those Boyertown mat-names will become commonplace between now and March of 2010.)

Mr. Ventresca, I realize that you and your coaching staff are dealing with injuries and other crucial lineup issues, as this campaign just gets underway. My guess is that many of the question marks will be eliminated by late-December or early-January.

During the waning moments last Saturday, I overheard your comments to a local newspaper staffer: 'I believe that many of our boys wrestled well today. Even though we did not achieve what we wanted (Bear Duals trophy), I believe that we saw some promising things ... and that makes me optimistic for the future success of this team.

'The resiliency, positive leadership and cohesiveness of this team were evident and on display this weekend. Certainly, we are trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together ... and that will allow us to reach our potential as a quality team.'

Shortly before my surreptitious departure on Saturday evening, I was truly pleased to observe family and friends of the late Brian Bealer ... as your hometown classic was officially renamed the 'Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duals.'

With memories and the accompanying emotions taking precedence over takedowns and falls, the hundreds of wrestlers, coaches and spectators in attendance had an opportunity to appreciate Mr. Bealer's wrestling/community/family legacy.

You can bet that I would like to be in attendance at this weekend's Beast of the East tournament in Delaware. But (as you already know) I'll be putting in some serious overtime trying to be ready for all the excitement come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day !!

Granted, Mr. Ventresca, your season-opening marathon was a tough start for you and your Boyertown High wrestlers ... but this annual pre-holiday mat glance was extraordinarily encouraging.

Finally ... to you and yours, I would extend my fond hope for a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a STUPENDOUS NEW YEAR !!"


(This story was communicated via Berks-Mont Newspapers' freelance contributor Jim Davidheiser; he can be contacted at 610-367-5215 or at jhdcom@comcast.net.)

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