Kenis pin tips battle with Neshaminy in South’s favor
— Neshaminy traded blows with Council Rock South last Wednesday night, Jan. 23 on its home turf like a battle between two heavyweights dueling for a title belt.
“It was going back and forth — a real credit to both teams,” said CR South skipper Brad Silimperi. “It definitely got heated and there was a lot of good scrapping and clawing and fighting going on.
“Just a very, very exciting high school wrestling match. It’s the way it should be. Both teams were awesome.”
While the Redskins struck the first haymaker when freshman Bruce Graeber pinned Golden Hawks heavyweight Thaison Nguyen in the first bout of the evening, it was South sophomore Ben Kenis striking the knockout blow in the final bout of the night. With his team trailing, 3126, Kenis took just 20 seconds in pinning Redskins 220-pounder Jake Fox, giving the Hawks an everso-close 32-31 triumph in an SOL dual meet Jan. 23 between these two National Conference rivals.
“For him to be able to not only get the win but to go out and get the pin for the team dual meet win was re- ally cool,” said Silimperi. “It’s great to see our young guys stepping up and learning how to win.”
In a battle that featured four lead changes, the ‘Skins took an early 9-0 edge only to see the Hawks claw their way back to a 15-9 lead of their own. South’s first comeback bid in the meet came thanks to wins by fall registered by Joe Little (113 pounds) and Dan Martoccio (120) and a solid 7-2 decision win recorded by Harry Murray in the 126-pound match.
“Danny is a state medalist in the best state for wrestling in the country. When you’re at that level, you’re expected to do big things. Sometimes, that’s hard when guys are strategically wrestling to not give up bonus points. He went out in workmanlike fashion and got the job done.
A key win for the Hawks came at 113. Little, a freshman for South, trailed 4-0 early before clawing his way back to 4-3 late. With 20 seconds to go in the third period, he took down opponent Steve Corletto to go ahead 5-3. With the decision in the bag, Little took the takedown a step further and registered a pin with less than 10 seconds left.
“When he took the kid down and put him on his back and pinned him, that was huge,” stated Silimperi. “If he gets the takedown, he wins but we don’t get the three bonus points and we lose [the dual meet] by two. “Joey Little came up big.” “To be down four and be able to keep your composure and battle back and not only get the win but the pin was just huge.
“That was the match right there.”
When Neshaminy 132-pounder Joe Simcox majored Dan Harkins, however, it brought the ‘Skins back within two. Unfortunately for the home fans, South freshman Dylan Schwartz won even more convincingly when he registered a by tech-fall triumph over Brandon Chat-
ereski in the 138-poound matchup. Now, the Hawks were ahead, 20-13.
The ‘Skins took four of the next five matches however, with Ryan O’Connor pinning Dave Topham at 145 pounds and Kody Lupfer putting Emeka Enogwe on his back at 182. Decisions by Nate Russell (152) and Evan Pascucci (170) further cemented a 31-23 edge that favored the home team.
Showing his experience on the mat, South senior P.J. Steinmetz (195) decisioned Neshaminy’s Noah Kisselback, 11-4, setting up the drama that took place in the final bout of the evening.
Ironically, South coaches expected Steinmetz to grab bonus points at 195 pounds, the next-to-last bout of the evening. With the Hawks trailing 31-23 by the time the Steinmetz-Kisselback bout took place, South knew it needed a pin and any kind of a win to take the meet.
“We were expecting to get some bonus points out of PJ; he did a good job but there were some penatly points given in the matchw which kind of got away from him,” explained Silimperi.
“He got the win and Kennis got the pin.”
A wrestler working the mats for the first time in his life at any level, Kenis wasn’t expected to snare any bonus points at all. As things turned out, the 10thgrader maxxed out on the bonus.
Among the ‘Skins registering good wins for Neshaminy was Sam Rudolph, who edged South junior Nick Palmer in the lightweight division. Palmer is 23-10 coming off a fourthplace showing in the previos weekend’s Escape the Rock wrestling tournament, an individual event featuring the top teams in Pa., N.J., Del. and Va.
It’s all practice for the postseason, says Silimperi, which begins Jan. 24 with District One Class AAA Duals at Methacton (South won, 36-25).
“You look at what you’re doing good. You work on what you’re doing good even more. You’re looking at your mistakes and trying to fix them and improve on areas of weakness.”
Photos by Steve Sherman Council Rock South’s Tom Shaatiel competes for the Golden Hawks at 160 pounds. Shaatiel registered a major n his bout with Pennsbury’s