Swimmers Head to Districts - The Upper Perk High School swim team will be sending 12 swimmers to the District 1 meet this Friday and Saturday at LaSalle University. Front row, left to right, Brandon Umstead, Becca Rose, Krysta Rehrig, Melissa Kilroy, Kirsten Siwy and Kristen Kilroy. Top row, Christina Williams, Kevin Himmelwright, Tyler Reed, Mitchell Cairns, Ryan Mercando and Jackie Hammill.
And then there was one.
What started as a seven-man Upper Perkiomen contingent that qualified for the District 1-AAA West Tournament held this past Saturday at Spring-Ford High School whittled itself to just one who will move on.
That wrestler, junior Dustin Steffenino, was the lone Indian to qualify for the upcoming AAA Southeast Regional Tournament by virtue of his top-three finish in the 113-pound weight class. Steffenino battled his way through the consolation bracket to take third and push his season record to 28-6. A regional qualifier as a sophomore, he will look to improve on a fourth-place finish in 2012-13.
Fellow junior Eric Miller just missed advancing as he grabbed fourth at 126. He opened with a one-point sudden victory, and then fell to eventual champion Pat Callaghan in the quarterfinals. Miller bounced back, though, with a pin in his first consolation bout over Springfield Delco's Chris Sciarrino, but dropped his consolation final match, 8-6, to Garnet Valley's Ben Tuohey. Miller finished the year with a 31-8 mark.
Michael Felix (152) and Trevor Weeks (160) both bowed out after their consolation quarterfinal match. Felix used a 5-1 decision to get past his first match, then fell to runner-up Ryan Dougherty (Penncrest) in the quarters. He went on to win his first consolation match, 9-4, but fell to fourth-place Frankie Krauss (Spring-Ford), 6-0, in his next match.
Weeks started strong with a one-minute drop in his first match, then dealt Haverford's Wyatt Martin a 6-3 setback. He gave eventual champion Gregg Harvey of Boyertown his toughest match of the afternoon, but just fell short, 6-3. Competition wasn't any easier in his consolation match as third-place finisher Nick Giangiulio (Perk Valley) went on to post a 9-0 major.
"I thought we performed relatively well," said Indians head coach Tom Hontz. "Obviously, our league and our district is the toughest of the region – some very good wrestlers were sent home this weekend.
"Eric Miller had a very good season and just fell short in the consolation finals. Trevor Weeks has really come on strong, but he had the bad luck of dropping a tough match to Harvey and then having to face a tough Giangulio, who was upset in the quarterfinals."
Hontz said the team also had a dose of bad luck, as senior Casey Cook qualified but couldn't compete due to an ankle injury suffered at the league championships, and Dan Jordan just missed weight.
"Obviously, we were hoping for more to advance, but when you look at the competition it's not like we lost to some nobodies," Hontz said.
Steffenino's gritty effort started after his quarterfinal match against Garnet Valley's Matt Marino. Steffenino opened district with a 15-0 tech fall in the second period, then got caught and pinned by Marino at 4:01 in his second match.
Undaunted, he started his consolation bracket climb with a 5-0 decision over Boyertown freshman David Campbell, then worked a 1-0 nod against Austin Petril (Upper Darby). His effort earned him a rematch against Marino in the consolation final, which Steffenino made the most of and avenged his previous loss with a 5-4 decision as he scored the deciding takedown with just five seconds left.
"Dustin did a great job to push through," Hontz said. "He battled back to beat two very good opponents and advance. His focus and intensity seemed really on after that morning loss. I really believe that our district can sweep the weight class at regions and all three can advance. If Dustin performs like he is capable, we will hopefully see him competing out at Hershey."