Ea­gles bounce back to top Tro­jans

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By TONY FIOR­IGLIO

WEST NOR­RI­TON — For the 37th time since the start of the 2008-09 sea­son, Nor­ris­town van­quished a Sub­ur­ban One League Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence foe on Wed­nes­day night. This time, it was the vis­it­ing Wis­sahickon Tro­jans. And like those 36 prior wins, the fi­nal score of the match was close and came down to bonus points, with the Ea­gles squeak­ing by 39-37. How­ever, un­like those pre­vi­ous 36 wins, the Ea­gles were com­ing off an in-con­fer­ence loss and it was im­pos­si­ble to know how the young team would han­dle that.

Early on it ap­peared that Mon­day’s loss to Ply­mouth Whitemarsh might end up be­ing the kind of crush­ing loss that could take the wind out of the sails of a team and de­rail a sea­son.

Start­ing with the open­ing 126-pound match, the Tro­jans jumped out to a fast 19-0 on the back of a ma­jor de­ci­sion by Alex Chiodo-Or­tiz and a fall by Nick Natale book-ended around a Nor­ris­town for­feit.

How­ever, a fall by Nor­ris­town se­nior cap­tain and re­turn­ing state qual­i­fier Mike Springer ended the shutout and helped put the wind back in the team’s sails. A quick fall from Wis­sahickon’s all-time wins leader Pat Fen­nell and se­nior Eric An widened the Tro­jan lead to 31-15, though, and it ap­peared that any mo­men­tum from Springer’s win was gone with only five matches left to go.

“I told those guys they needed 23 points in the last four (matches),” Nor­ris­town coach Mark Harner said.

And four falls later, start­ing with ju­nior Shaun Jones at 220 and in­clud­ing Sha­heed Hill, Eric Fuentes and Justin Al­trogge, the Ea­gles clinched the win and stopped their SOL los­ing streak be­fore it started.

“(Jones) is a first-year wrestler and he got af­ter it. He’s 195, so he’s giv­ing up 15 or 20 pounds,” said Harner. “Our lit­tle guy, (fresh­man Justin) Al­trogge, weighs 100 pounds. He’s been wrestling 113. That was big.”

While Wed­nes­day night’s win kept

the Ea­gles in the ti­tle hunt, at least the­o­ret­i­cally, Harner is hop­ing to get his younger and in­ex­pe­ri­enced wrestlers more ex­pe­ri­ence head­ing to­wards the post­sea­son and next year.

“We started six fresh­men and a bunch of sopho­mores,” said Harner. “The league ti­tle is out of our hands. It’s not the end of the world. We’re re­build­ing.”

For the vis­it­ing Tro­jans, Wed­nes­day’s loss was the lat­est in a se­ries of near misses when it comes to squar­ing off against the five-time de­fend­ing Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons.

“We got the matchups. We needed a cou­ple more pins. I’m proud of our ef­fort,” said Wis­sahickon coach An­thony Stagliano. “A lot of our guys per­formed well. A lot of our guys did some good stuff. “One of th­ese days we’ll beat them.” Both teams will close out their SOL sched­ules next week with the Ea­gles trav­el­ing to Up­per Me­rion to take on the Vik­ings while the Tro­jans will travel to Up­per Dublin to take on the Car­di­nals.

*** NOTE: With Ply­mouth Whitemarsh’s con­vinc­ing home win over Up­per Dublin on Wed­nes­day night, the best that Nor­ris­town can hope for is a tie of the league ti­tle. How­ever, the Colo­nials can win the league out­right by top­ping Up­per More­land on Feb. 5.

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