By Don Seeley
ROYERSFORD — Nothing like being in the right place at the right time.
That’s how Gordon Bolig looked at it and, for that matter, how his teammates looked at it for ailing head coach Steve DeRafelo when the Owen J. Roberts entourage marched into Spring-Ford’s gym Wednesday evening.
Aside of the fact the Wildcats and Rams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the area as well as in the entire district, and aside of the fact they were the lone remaining unbeatens in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, Bolig was looking for his 100th career win and his teammates were looking to present DeRafelo with his 100th career win with the OJR program.
Forget there’s no place like home, too, because after both reached the respective milestones — Bolig with a clinic-like technical fall at 195 pounds and DeRafelo with a convincing final score of 38-18 — both admitted pulling it off the same night against Spring-Ford, and at Spring-Ford, added meaning to the accomplishments.
“It certainly feels good getting (the 100th win) in this gym against a very good team,” Bolig said
“It sure took a long time to get to this point,” added DeRafelo. “It’s something I certainly never thought of. But it does mean something to get (the 100th win) here against Spring-Ford, one of the premier teams in District 1.”
The Wildcats, now a perfect 5-0 (10-0 overall) in their drive for a third straight PAC-10 title, took the lead at the outset when Kyle Shronk moved up to 170 and put together a solid 8-1 decision of a very good Tyler McGuigan. Tyler Rogers, also up a bracket, followed with a 3-2 decision at 182, then Bolig added his very impressive technical fall that finished up at the 5:23 mark and made it 11-0.
Spring-Ford (4-1, 13-2) got its first takedown and win from Mason Romano at 220, but it took an escape in the waning seconds for the junior to edge a relentless Nick DeAngelo, 7-6.
However, the hosts would manage to win just three more bouts the rest of the way. They did trail 23-3 at the halfway mark, but got back into it at 23-15 when Matt Krieble and Sean Hennessey posted back-to-back pins at 120 and 126, respectively. But the Wildcats responded with a hat trick — Dominick Petrucelli’s pin, Colby Frank’s 5-2 decision and Demetri D’Orsaneo’s 8-5 decision at 132 through 145 — to rebuild the lead to 35-15 and, with just two bouts remaining, the outcome was simply out of the Rams’ reach.
“We felt there would be a lot of toss-up matches,” Bolig said. “(Spring-Ford) has a lot of guys who hit the big moves, so we knew we had to avoid them.”
That was never more evident than at 106, where the Rams’ Jimmy Frank took OJR veteran Aston White down to his back for a 5-0 lead soon after the opening whistle. But White recovered with a reversal by the end of the first period, then tacked on five more unanswered points en route to a 7-6 decision.
And what Bolig and DeRafelo also saw, as did most of the large crowd, was OJR scoring in the waning moments of periods.
“This is the time of the year we start our morning runs,” Bolig explained. “We’re getting our bodies adjusted, and the stamina kicks in. We want to be able to go out there and be offensive, and be aggressive.”
A lot of that credit goes to my assistants for working these kids hard in the room while I’ve been out (following shoulder surgery),” DeRafelo said. “At some point, those morning runs help. Tonight, Spring-Ford wrestled hard, but we found a way to win a few of those matches.
“Even some of our guys who lost wrestled well. They’re fighting back, finding ways to win.”
And despite the end result, Rams head coach Tim Seislove wasn’t totally disappointed with the setback.
“We were able to get some good matchups, wrestle some good close matches,” Seislove noted. “But we were the underdogs in a lot of the weight classes. Our kids kept some of the matches close, but when it gets down near the end you have to open it up. The only problem when you do that is you open yourself up to a lot of mistakes, and against a good team like Owen J. you can’t do that.”
Seislove also felt OJR’s senior leadership was a key.
Shronk, Rogers and Bolig did lead the way with a 3-for-3 to start it off; DeAngelo limited Romano to a regular decision; then Brad Trego — despite giving up 26 pounds — pinned at 285; and White contributed his come-from-behind thriller. All seniors, incidentally, before sophomore Derek Gulotta finished the first half of the showdown with his 7-1 decision.
Petrucelli, Frank and D’Orsaneo, all underclassmen clinched it. But after Spring-Ford got its final points from Mike Collins’ decision at 152, senior Adam Moser closed it out with his 5-3 nod in the finale at 160.
“There was a lot on the line here,” Bolig said. “We knew we couldn’t relax.”
DeRafelo, in his 11th season, is the 16th area coach to reach 100 overall wins. ... OJR finished with an 18-6 advantage in takedowns. ... The Wildcats travel to the Escape The Rock on Saturday and Sunday at Council Rock South, then visit Methacton next Wednesday night and host Upper Perkiomen on Saturday morning. ... Spring-Ford travels to Manheim Central this Saturday night.