Ross, Price among district qualifiers
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. “