Owen Leister gets Phoenixville's Mike Vargo in a headlock moments before pinning him in the 170 pound bout of last Wendesday night's PAC-10 meet against Phoenixville.
It’s that pivotal point on the wrestling calendar as teams are closing out the league portion of their schedule and starting to think about the ever-so-close postseason.
Granted, there’s plenty of work to be done between now and then, and no coach or wrestler would dare take a peek at what’s ahead. And like many of Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz’s storied seasons, the Indians are in the thick of it.
As a team, the Tribe (5-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference, 14-5 overall) went 2-1 in this past week’s action (not including last night’s match against Perk Valley which was too late for press deadline). The team is coming off a 44-14 setback to Owen J. Roberts Saturday in which the defending District 1-AAA Team Duals champion Wildcats showcased just exactly why they’re expected to pin down their third PAC-10 title.
OJR took a 9-5 nod in the individual bouts, but more importantly got those ever-important bonus points that accounted for the 29-point spread. Upper Perk’s five victories, which are no small feat against a talented Wildcats squad, all came by way of decision.
Dante Steffenino gave the Indians its only lead of the afternoon as he opened with a decision at 120 against Alec Pupo. Wolfgang McStravick (138) added a decision of his own three bouts later, as did Trevor Weeks (170), Casey Cook (195) and Dustin Steffenino (106).
Two days earlier, Upper Perk claimed its most satisfying win of the week at the District 1-AAA Team Duals. After earning a first-round bye by virtue of its No. 4 seed, the Indians squared off against Garnet Valley at Wissahickon High School and held on for a 34-24 second-round victory.
While Upper Perk’s lightweights and middleweights have garnered most of the attention this season, it was the big fellas that locked this one up. With just a single point advantage after 182 and with three bouts left, Cook and Tyler Godshall came up with pins that put it out of reach for the Jaguars. Cook needed all but 20 seconds of the first period to earn his fall, and Godshall used just 50 seconds before he got the slap.
Dante Steffenino (120) and McStravick both notched pins in the win, Dustin Steffenino worked a major at 106, and Ray Young and Weeks both tallied decisions.
The win advanced the Indians into tomorrow night’s quarterfinal rematch against rival Boyertown (seeded fifth) at Upper Dublin High School at 7:30 p.m. Finals and consolation finals matches will be held Saturday at Upper Dublin at 3 p.m.
Upper Perk, remember, prevailed 36-33 when the two squared off in Red Hill two weeks ago in yet another memorable chapter to the rivalry. In the past three meetings, a total of just 12 points has separated the two. This time a berth in the PIAA Team Duals will be at stake as the top four AAA teams from District 1 will move on.
Upper Perk tuned up for the district duals with a 72-6 romp over Phoenixville. The Indians posted seven pins in the 10 contested bouts. Wrestlers earning the slap included McStravick, Kyle Fellman, Young, Owen Leister, Godshall, Justin Crossley and Dante Steffenino. Dustin and Dylan Steffenino both worked for decisions, as Weeks, Cook, Dan Heinrichs and Eric Miller all won by forfeit.