Photo by Nate Heckenberger Downingtown East’s James Strommer, top, controls Downingtown West’s Troy Smith during his 5-1 win at 106 pounds
Photo by Nate Heckenberger Downingtown East's James Strommer, top, controls Downingtown West's Troy Smith during his 5-1 win at 106 pounds during Wednesday night's Ches-Mont League National Division match. (Brad Spahr)

DOWNINGTOWN -- Downingtown East looked like a wrestling team with elevated expectations.

Stocked more with athletes who've learned how to win than superstars, East entered Downingtown West's gym Wednesday night and displayed how effective that cumulation of talent could be.

Using a 32-point run in the middle of the lineup, the Cougars sprinted away from a West team that looked frustrated, gassed and in need of reflection much of the night. East won, 51-9, to open Ches-Mont National Division action for both squads.

Following a runner-up finish in the District 1 Duals last winter and an appearance at state duals, East seemed like a squad that used that as a stepping stone rather than becoming content.

"We had a great offseason and the guys did a good job finding their weight class and managing their weight,' Cougars' coach Joe Horvath said. "They were faithful with their training and faithful to the goals and when you do those things, these are the results you get.'

West (0-1 division, 0-1 overall) had an early 6-3 lead thanks to decisions by Joe Rennie (113 pounds) and Dante Angelini (120), but it did not last long.

Wade Cummings (126), one of East's three returning regional qualifiers, gave the Cougars (1-0, 11-0) their lead back, and Jared Leonett (132), Austin Lillis (138), Matt Fisher (145), James Myer (152), Alec Horne (160) and Chris Jarani (170) followed with victories.


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The 32-point surge was highlighted by Leonetti's 7-3 decision over Tristan Reynolds, and Myer's come-from-behind 4-2 win over Manoa Taniguchi.

"I can't be more proud of James Strommer and James Myer,' Horvath said. "They have fewer accolades than some of the guys but they have the drive to put that aside and compete.'

Strommer (106) was a 5-1 winner over Troy Smith in the opening bout of the night.

Like Strommer and Myer, Leonetti trailed during the match as well, but outscored Reynolds 5-0 in the third period to earn his 11th win of the season.

"I think I just pushed hard until the last whistle and that was the difference,' Leonetti said.

The Whippets got their third and final win from Gabe Hale (182), who earned a 10-4 decision over a stingy Jason Gibson. West couldn't muster a bonus point in the contest while conceding 18.

"I don't have an explanation for it,' West coach Corey Sigle said. "The fitness level is not a result of not working hard. This is one of the hardest working teams. I don't know what it is, but we need to find answers quickly. We need to do some hardcore self-reflection and decide which way we want to go as a team.'

Angelini impressed his coach with a strong 9-2 win over Jude McDowell.

"Dante has worked hard and put in the time,' Sigle said. "He came a long way and that was a good win for him. This is his first year as a full-time varsity guy.'

East closed out the night with a pair of first-period pins by Adam Pleines (195) and Billy McGinley (220) and a major decision by returning state qualifier Sean Snodgrass (285).

With the majority of the season still in front of them, the Cougars won't be able to sneak up on anyone the way they did a year ago. Horvath believes his veteran team is doing the things necessary to handle the bullseye it now wears.

"We've set very high expectations, and with some notable pressure,' Horvath said. "Our goal is to handle pressure and meet expectations. We don't want to regress, we want to progress.'

Downingtown East 51, Downingtown West 9

106- Strommer (DE) dec. Smith, 5-1 (3-0)

113- Rennie (DW) dec. Zimmerman, 5-3 (3-3)

120- Angelini (DW) dec. McDowell, 9-2 (3-6)

126- Cummings (DE) pinned Murta, 3:32 (9-6)

132- Leonetti (DE) dec. Reynolds, 7-3 (12-6)

138- Lillis (DE) pinned Zapf, :48 (18-6)

145- Fisher (DE) maj. dec. Angelini, 9-1 (22-6)

152- Myer (DE) dec. Taniguchi, 4-2 (25-6)

160- Horne (DE) pinned Capps, 4:23 (31-6)

170- Jarani (DE) maj. dec. Chambers, 8-0 (35-6)

182- Hale (DW) dec. Gibson, 10-4 (35-9)

195- Pleines (DE) pinned Bishop, :40 (41-9)

220- McGinley (DE) pinned Duplicki, :36 (47-9)

285- Snodgrass (DE) maj. dec. Giles, 17-4 (51-9)