By Don Seeley
CHAMBERSBURG — Apparently Upper Perkiomen doesn’t mind just a half-hour to change, warm-up and wrestle.
Because of an late-afternoon accident on Interstate 81 that delayed the Indians arrival for Monday night’s PIAA-Class AAA Team Duals opener, that’s all the time the Indians had to fire up the competitive juices for host Chambersburg.
And after a convincing 38-25 win over the favored Trojans, no one was complaining.
“We were absolutely concerned about getting there late,” said Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz. “We were in that bus for four hours. But sometimes a little adversity makes the guys step up. I do know they were chomping at the bit.”
That was obvious at the outset, when Dan Jordan started it off with a pin in the 132-pound opener. Wolfgang McStravick followed with a pin at 138, Kyle Fellman added a 13-5 major at 145, and unsung Chris Kramer needed 5:20 to get the slap at 152 and the Indians had a 19-0 lead.
“Chris Kramer has been a (junior varsity) all year,” Hontz noted. “But we plugged him in there recently and he keeps stepping up for us.”
Chambersburg’s defending state champion Garrett Hammond would end the Indians’ flurry with a pin at 160 and Calvin O’Farrell used a takedown with 20 seconds left to eke out a decision at 170, getting the Trojans back in contention at 19-9.
The teams would halve the ensuing four bouts — the Indians getting a pin from Casey Cook (182) and decision from Tyler Godshall (220), with the Trojans getting a technical fall from Dontez King (195) and decision from Cameron Kiger (285) — which still enabled Upper Perkiomen to hold a 28-17 advantage going into the final four bouts.
“Cook going down (to 182) helped a lot, and Godshall is another senior who’s only been wrestling for four years but just battles and battles,” Hontz said. “At that point, though, I felt good knowing we had the Steffeninos to go in three of those final matches.”
At 106, Dustin Steffenino did his job with a second-period pin, and at 113 Eric Miller limited returning state medalist Tanner Shoap to a technical fall. That meant Chambersburg — the District 3 runner-up to state power Central Dauphin — needed two pins in the final two bouts to create a tie and look for positive tie-breaking criteria.
It never happened.
Dante Steffenino dominated his 120-pound encounter with Garrett Kyner, taking a 10-2 major to put it out of reach and drop Chambersburg to 17-5.
“It did feel good knowing we had the three Steffeninos to go with just those four matches left,” Hontz said. “Dustin’s pin was big. Miller had a tough one against a real good kid (Shoap). But Dante really set the tone and actually lit his kid up.”
So Upper Perkiomen (18-7 overall) didn’t mind the long bus ride home, and they were actually looking forward to the long bus ride Thursday out to Hershey for the remainder of the state duals tournament.
The Indians take on District 12 champion La Salle College High School at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday in a second-round showdown at the Giant Center.
“We just keep plugging along,” Hontz said. “We’re getting some breaks and making some things happen. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”
Spring Grove 37, Boyertown 24
Boyertown dropped seven of the first eight bouts before rallying back to within seven points, but it wasn’t quite enough as host Spring Grove took three of the remaining four bouts to capture the PIAA-Class AAA Team Duals opener.
The Bears, who finished third in last weekend’s district tournament, used Jordan Wertz (220) and Jordan Wood (285) pins and a decision by Lucas Miller (106) to sneak back to within 25-18. But Spring Grove, third in last weekend’s District 3 tournament, clinched it moments later when Zack Clingan — ranked second in the district — posted a 10-1 major.
“We had our opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” said Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca. “We were right there, but just didn’t get the win.
‘We’re pleased the guys went out and fought well, though. (Spring Grove) has a lot of tough kids in certain weights, and they kind of put it on us in the first few matches.”
The Rockets (24-1), who fell to state power Central Dauphin for its only loss this season by a narrow 33-27 margin in their district semifinals, got off to a solid start with a major and pin. Boyertown’s Gregg Harvey halted the run with an 8-7 decision at 152, but the Rockets soared right back with four straight wins — an overtime decision, pin and two close 8-5 and 9-8 decisions.
Wertz needed just 43 seconds and Wood another 1:25 for their respective falls, and Miller recorded a 2-0 shutout. But after that the Bears’ only remaining points came from Eddie Kriczky’s pin at 126.
“A lot of those close matches could’ve gone either way,” Ventresca said. “We had our chances, but... and that’s on us.
“We obviously wanted to get out to Hershey (into the second round beginning Thursday), so the kids are disappointed. But we’re proud of them. This was a good start for our future. We only losing two seniors, and we have a good group of ninth- and 10th-graders coming up next year. Hopefully this will give them some motivation.”
Boyertown, now 17-8 overall, closes out its regular season Wednesday night at Pottsgrove.