By NATE HECKENBERGER
WESTTOWN -- The elite in the Ches-Mont League proved themselves just that, Saturday night.
Downingtown East was dominant as a team, sending nine to the finals and finishing with six champs to run away with the team title. While the team competition was never in doubt, which star could shine brightest became the more intriguing display at the Ches-Mont Championships at Rustin High.
Avon Grove's Edgar Garcia (106 pounds) and Caleb Edwards (182), Great Valley's Shane Ruhnke (145) and Coatesville's Mike Boykin (220) were untouchable, and Unionville's Nate Chaclas (132) pulled off the upset of the finals. But Downingtown East's Wade Cummings (120) was simply brilliant, earning the Outstanding Wrestler award. The top seven finishers from each weight class advanced to the Class AAA District 1 Central tournament at Oxford next Saturday.
"The coaches always say to secure the win first and then get bonus points for the team, so that's what I was trying for,' Cummings said. "I just wrestled as hard as I could.'
Cummings hardly broke a sweat, pinning his first two opponents in 10 and 25 seconds, respectively. In the finals he needed 18 seconds into the third period to finish off a technical fall over West Chester Henderson's Kyle Medrow.
Edwards wrestled only 65 total seconds longer than Cummings on the day (4:53 to 5:58), engineering three pins, two in the first period. The final fall came against Downingtown East's Jason Gibson 11 seconds before the first ended.
"I came in confident and I feel much better mentally,' said Edwards, who now has 99 career wins. "I came in expecting a couple tough matches. I didn't really know the guys before Gibson, but I knew he was tough and I was very surprised by the outcome.'
Garcia started the championship round off with a third-period technical fall over Downingtown West's Troy Smith. In his first action at 106 this season, Garcia also had a quick pin and a technical fall over West Chester Rustin's Brett Kaliner.
Garcia and Boykin were the two returning state medalists in the gym, and Boykin was just as brutal on his opponents, using a pin and a tech fall to reach the finals. There he decked East's Billy McGinley in 2:35.
Ruhnke, a returning state qualifier, registered a pair of pins before scoring a major decision against Unionville's Mike Caldwell, 14-2, in the finals.
Caldwell couldn't stretch some of the momentum created by teammate Chaclas, who wore down West Chester Henderson's Josh Nichter and scored the final five points in a 5-4 win in the finals.
"It started with the first reversal (in the second period),' Chaclas said. "I knew (Nichter) gasses and I had to seize the opportunity when it presented itself. Once I got the points I felt confident.'
Jude McDowell (113), Jared Leonetti (126), Chris Jarani (160), Adam Pleines (195) and Sean Snodgrass (285) also won titles for the Cougars, but none as dramatically as Leonetti.
Trailing 6-2 in the third against Coatesville's Chase Stephens, Leonetti managed an escape and a takedown before letting Stephens up with 49 seconds left, with the score 7-5. As the clock wound down, Leonetti hit a headlock and collected two near-fall points to win, 9-7, as time expired.
"I trusted my conditioning and I knew I could pull something out at the end,' Leonetti said. "It's always nice to win (a championship).'
Pleines' 5-0 decision over Coatesville's Wesley McGuire in the finals gave him 99 career wins.
Downingtown West's Gabe Hale looked comfortable at his new weight of 170, using two first-period pins to get to the finals where he pinned Octorara's Nick Prange in the third.
Twelve of the 14 Cougars advanced to districts, while 11 from Unionville moved on and 10 from Coatesville, Rustin and Henderson qualified.
The seven Ches-Mont qualifiers join the top four from the Suburban One American Division for the District 1 Central tournament. The top three finishers from there will advance to regionals.
Ches-Mont League Wrestling Championships
1. Downingtown East 223; 2. Coatesville 156.5; 3. W. C. Henderson 116; 4. Avon Grove 106; 5. Downingtown West 105; 6. Unionville 98; 7. W. C. Rustin 89; 8. Great Valley 74; 9. Sun Valley 64.5; 10. W. C. East 45; 11. Octorara 42.5; 12. Kennett 41; 13. Oxford 28.
106- Garcia (AG) tech. fall Smith (DW), 5:40
113- McDowell (DE) dec. Hankin (WCE), 6-0
120- Cummings (DE) tech. fall Medrow (WCH), 4:18
126- Leonetti (DE) dec. C. Stephens (CV), 9-7
132- Chaclas (UV) dec. Nichter (WCH), 5-4
138- Elliott (SV) dec. Lillis (DE), 5-1
145- Ruhnke (GV) maj. dec. Caldwell (UV), 14-2
152- Okoorian (SV) pinned Taniguchi (DW), 3:21
160- Jarani (DE) dec. Dellicompagna (CV), 3-1 SV
170- Hale (DW) pinned Prange (OCT), 5:42
182- C. Edwards (AG) pinned Gibson (DE), 1:49
195- Pleines (DE) dec. McGuire (CV), 5-0
220- Boykin (CV) pinned McGinley (DE), 2:35
285- Snodgrass (DE) pinned Lang (GV), 5:02
106- Kaliner (WCR) dec. Strommer (DE), 5-2
113- Camacho (OCT) dec. Murray (UV), 10-4
120- McBride (CV) dec. Murta (DW), 5-0
126- Wilson (WCH) dec. Donohue (SV), 6-2
132- Ortiz (AG) dec. Reynolds (DW), 8-2
138- Patton (WCH) dec. McBride (OCT), 12-5
145- N. Stephens (CV) dec. Fischer (DE), 3-0
152- Woodward (CV) dec. Meyer (DE), 9-2
160- Sontag (WCH) pinned Tang (GV), 3:57
170- Guinta (CV) pinned C. Hatzipavlides (WCR), 3:27
182- DiPiazza (GV) pinned Summers (UV), 2:00
195- Ritrovato (WCE) dec. Hoffman (AG), 8-6 TB
220- Spriggs (WCR) dec. Trama (WCE), 4-2
285- Tomasetti (KEN) pinned McDonald (WCH), 2:08