Ke­nis pin tips bat­tle with Ne­shaminy in South’s fa­vor

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Steve Sherman

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor

— 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

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