Ross, Price among district qual­i­fiers

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION - By An­drew Mar­cus

amar­cus@jour­nalregis­ter.

com On Satur­day high school wrestlers’ dreams crept closer to a re­al­ity. The Sub­ur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships at Cen­tral Bucks South moved four from each weight class into dis­tricts this week at Hat­boro-Hor­sham.

For some, it was a chance to make their first-ever district ap­pear­ance, for oth­ers it was the first of many pic­tures on the podium with the bracket in hand and a medal around the neck.

For Pen­nridge’s Ben Ross and North Penn’s Alex Price it was a sec­ond chance at Her­shey and the state tour­na­ment.

Ross could have been sat­is­fied prior to his cham­pi­onship bout against Soud­er­ton’s Kolton Veit. No mat­ter the out­come of the 120-pound match they were both mov­ing on. But the Rams’ Ross was out to prove some­thing. He was out show the 33-1 record he brought into the tour­na­ment was far from a fluke.

“I needed to get first at this tour­na­ment,” Ross said. “That is go­ing to help me in the next tour­na­ment. Not only it is go­ing to get into Kolton’s head, but it is get­ting into my head, know­ing I can do it and I can get out to states.”

Veit — a state qual­i­fier from a sea­son ago — held the early ad­van­tage, but a Ross re­ver­sal forced over­time and a take down in the ex­tra pe­riod made it back-to­back wins over his long­time ri­val. Veit has only lost twice this sea­son and they are both to the new Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence champ.

“We have been see­ing each other for the past five or six years and I beat him the past two times we wres­tled,” Ross said. “They are the only two times I beat him, so I know I am get­ting bet­ter. To­day I wres­tled tough, I did not wres­tle my best, but in the end I still came out on top.

Ross and 113-pounder Scott Parker both took home first place hon­ors and the Rams sent nine wrestlers off to dis­tricts. The two ju­nior cap­tains led the Rams to a share of the reg­u­lar sea­son ti­tle and now they are lead­ing nearly their en­tire start­ing lineup into next week. While Parker fin­ished fourth at states last sea­son, Ross fell one win away from a trip to Her­shey.

“Scott has got­ten all the thun­der in the past and now it is my turn to step up,” Ross said. “I lost last year the match be­fore states. I came off the mat and I knew I had to train hard all off­sea­son. My coaches have been drilling me and it is paying off.”

North Penn’s ju­nior Alex Price was very con­fi­dent he was on his way to Her­shey this time last year. How­ever the dream was dashed af­ter he strained his ham­string against Cen­tral Bucks South’s Dy­lan Swan in dis­tricts. The moment he could use that ham­string again he got back to work.

“I hon­estly think I would have made it to states last year and I hope to come home with some hard­ware this year,” Price said. “It was against one of my good friends and once I got hurt, Dy­lan was very re­spect­ful. I went to the right peo­ple and they got me back run­ning in three weeks. I feel like my ham­string is the strong­est part of my body now.”

Price was one of three Knights to pick up first place hon­ors E195-pound Ge­orge Shipp and 152-pound Jef­frey Reimel) and with the new sec­tional for­mat, he can say he is league cham­pion at 182 pounds. Mid­way through the sec­ond round the match was stopped with the score read­ing 15-0 and a tech fall was awarded. Price’s record now stands at 22-2 and he feels he gets bet­ter ev­ery time he takes the mat.

“All the coaches have been work­ing hard with us and I feel like I am just start­ing to peak,” Price said. “Ev­ery­thing is piec­ing to­gether at the right time.”

The wrestlers re­al­ize they will need to have their hand raised by the ref­eree sev­eral more times in or­der to reach the big dream of the state tour­na­ment. So that is why when asked if qual­i­fy­ing for dis­tricts prior to the cham­pi­onship match on Satur­day was enough, they all dis­agreed and wanted to win. Price, Ross and the other qual­i­fiers never want to lose and that is what makes th­ese wrestlers play­off con­tenders.

“Hon­estly I have to take it one match at a time,” Price said. “Once I start look­ing at the big pic­ture. I re­al­ize I have 10 more matches be­fore I even get there. If you break it down match by match it starts flow­ing. “

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