Pennsbury survives furious comeback by Panthers
Falcon coach Phil Kealy is hoping what happened was a scary experience for his Pennsbury wrestling squad.
Six matches in to the Falcons’ team home tilt with William Tennent Dec. 19, Pennsbury was in complete control. The score was 2T-3, and senior Ryan Healy was set for the 1T0-pound bout with Juan Mausmet.
What followed, though, was a pin of Healy, and a subsequent slip for the Falcons. Four matches later, the score was even at 2T apiece with three grapplers left among the lighter weights for both squads.
Pennsbury, however, proved to be more durable. After a forfeit at 106 pounds in the Falcons’ favor, Domi- nic Martoccio earned a pin of Anthony Carulli at 113 pounds, putting an end to the Panthers’ threat and sealing what went on to be a 452T Pennsbury victory.
“I’m not worried at all,” Kealy said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
“lur biggest thing is just conditioning,” he continued. “We’ve got a long way to go [in the season].”
Several Falcon wrestlers were very impressive while earning victories. Senior Josh DiSanto, fresh off sectional, district and regional championships in 2011-12, is back for an encore, and after dominating Alex Szlanic in their 138-pound bout in the first period, finally locked on for a pin at 3:26. His efforts followed an even more dominant performance by junior Mike Raymond at 132 pounds, one which took him just 1:16 to pin his opponent Colin Jones.
Martoccio’s pin came at 1:21 and clinched the fifth team victory of the year for the Falcons against just one loss.
“I felt what he was doing, how he was moving. Waited for an opening,” DiSanto said.
With the victory, DiSanto improved to 8-0 on the season, which was filled with tournament appearances prior to the Tennent match. He eclipsed the 100-win plateau for his career as a junior and won a state match before being eliminated.
Now, he is one of 13 seniors on a roster that also features many talented underclassmen. Among them are freshmen Connor Joyce and Alex Cwenar. At 160 pounds, Cwenar took command of his match against Pat Doherty in the third period, turning a scoreless first two into a pin at 4:51. Joyce capped the night with an easy pin of Josh Troy that took just 21 seconds at 120 pounds.
“It’s different,” said DiSanto about being a senior and working with the underclassmen. “I remember being a freshmen and it’s odd seeing some else go through that.”
The problem for the Falcons is they are a little
up heading into the holidays. Among the wrestlers missing action against Tennent was senior Anthony DeEmidio, who went 31-9 with seven pins last year while winning districts at his weight class. He is hoping to be back by Jan. 3 from an injury, when the Falcons are next in action at home against Downingtown East.
Also out was sophomore Eric Mongiello, the normal No. 1 grappler at 106 pounds who is battling an illness. vet, unlike most local teams, Pennsbury will not take part in one of next week’s tournaments over the holiday break, which could be fortunate for it. Instead, the Falcons will rest and take advantage of the training time so as to be ready for the bulk of the Suburban lne League (SlL) National Conference slate.
“lne Jan. 3 comes, we’re in it and in it deep,” Kealy said.
“We want to win SlLs. That’s No. 1 goal, and then, we plan on going further than that,” Healy, who is .500 on the year after being pinned at 4:51, said. “We have a lot of talent.” Should the talent come to fruition, the Falcons have the potential to compete for several individual, as well as team, honors . DeEmidio, DiSanto and c l a s s mates Mikel’Brien (lost 3-2 de- cision), Jason Bing (won by forfeit at 126 pounds) and Ernie Tessein (lost 8-6 decision) lead the senior contenders.
From the sophomores, Mangiello leads the pack when healthy, but Jackson Hurlbert (195 pounds) and Mason Houriet (285 pounds) cracked the starting lineup against Tennent. Both, though, suffered setbacks in the form of pins.
However, fellow sophomore Luke Kowal improved to T-3 on the year after rallying to win the match of the night. In it, he rallied with a two-point takedown against Boris Sokiev to force overtime at 152 pounds. Moments later, he pulled off another takedown to claim a 10-8 decision.
The Falcons also have a junior class headlined by Martoccio that provides needed depth, which was needed in the form of Kate Fitzpatrick against Tennent. She broke the 2T-2T tie at 106 pounds with a forfeit victory and improved to 2-2 on the year, thanks to an earlier pin at the Saucon salley tournament.
The Falcons may have a hidden gem in Fitzpatrick, who won the 101-pound girls national championship earlier this year in lklahoma City and is a member of the Fargo Freestyle National team.
“This year, I’m at the right weight, and the team’s really supportive,” Fitzpatrick, who is in her first season of varsity wrestling, said.
“It was really important that we came back strong so that the other team wouldn’t get the advantage they intended,” she added.
Pennsbury senior Josh DiSanto is 8-0 including six pins thus far on the season competing at 132 and 138 pounds.
Neshaminy senior Ryan O’Connor (L) notched his 100th win with a 6-1 decision over bensalem 145-pounder Josh Shalinsky.
Pennsbury senior Jason Bing registered a pin, a major and a pair of tech-fall wins at the Abington Duals.