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OJ Roberts, Boyertown avoid hangover, advance

by Nate Heckenberger, Daily Local

Posted on January 26, 2018

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WESTTOWN - A day removed from a whirlwind, down-to-the-last-bout dual meet against each other, Owen J. Roberts and Boyertown could've easily dwelled on the past when they arrived to the first round of the Class 3A District 1 Duals, Thursday.

Sixth-seeded Owen J., Wednesday's winner, once again found itself in an early hole, but sophomore Connor Quinn lit the fuse and his teammates followed to explode for a 43-26 victory over No. 11 Quakertown.

The No. 4 Bears, meanwhile, wasted no time with No. 13 Great Valley, leading from start to finish for a 52-11 win.

Boyertown will face No. 5 Council Rock North in the quarterfinals next Friday evening at Upper Dublin high school, while the Wildcats will get No. 3 Spring-Ford as the tournament shifts to double elimination.

"I was a little worried after (Wednesday night's match), with it being up and down and emotional and sometimes that takes it out of you," OJR coach Steve DeRafelo said. "Our kids responded. We know where we have to get to to get the win in the lineup and some of our inexperienced guys are getting better at limiting the damage a little more."

Jason Zollers (182 pounds) and Tommy Dempsey (220) earned wins for OJR early, but Quakertown five of the first seven bouts and led 23-9 leading into Quinn's match at 126.

The sophomore wrestled arguably his best match as a Wildcat, scoring an 11-1 major decision over returning state qualifier, Josh Stahl.

"When you can score a major on a state qualifier that really gets the other kids pumped up," DeRafelo said. "A match like that can really propel a kid and get him going and I'm hoping that's what happens."

Quakertown won the the next bout, but that was the last Panther to get his arm raised as OJR closed it out with pins from Antonio Petrucelli (138), Cole Meredith (152), Danny Mancini (160) and Ricky McCutchen (170).

"The big thing is we still have a lot we need to improve on," DeRafelo said. "There are things we need to get better at and if we get better every day we'll be better by next week. We need to be better against Spring-Ford because they have a lot of depth."

Boyertown looked like they'd been there before, unlike the inexperienced Patriots.

In the opening bout of the night, senior Jacob Miller scored a takedown and held off Great Valley's Ethan Seeley for a 3-2 win.

"That's a great match for Jacob," Boyertown coach Dave Jones said. "He was disappointed where he finished last year and he's grown by strides in his technique and mental toughness this year. I'm excited for him and think he's poised to finish the season off really well."

The Bears surrendered just three matches, getting pins from Elijah Jones (195), Zak Reck (220) and Noah Fisher (126).

"We headed into district duals with the same reverence for District 1's quality of wrestling," Dave Jones said. "We knew we had to be prepared. There is no team in District 1 that you can look past in these district duals and we know we have to show up and wrestle the same way next Friday and Saturday."

The Bears will be looking to qualify for their sixth straight PIAA Duals after reaching the District 1 finals the past four seasons.

"We're focusing on how can Boyertown continue to wrestle the best that Boyertown can wrestle and getting the best matchups," Dave Jones said. "One hundred percent of our focus is on achieving goals and having fun while doing it."

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