Pottsgrove's Ryan Finn, left, and Pottstown's Saddig Ibn-Mustafah face off at 138 during Thursday's PAC-10 dual. Finn won 6-3. (John Strickler/The Mercury)
LOWER POTTSGROVE — There never seems to be a dull moment when Pottsgrove and Pottstown meet ... regardless of the season or the sport or the teams' records. And Thursday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestling match between the neighborhood rivals was certainly no exception.The outcome came down to the final bout and the Falcons finished on top when Evan Weneck — who found himself on his back just seconds into the match — recovered to earn a pin for a 42-35 Pottsgrove win.That came after Pottstown had rallied from a 27-6 deficit after six matches to close to within a point with three to go.
Pottstown's Bryant Wise pins Pottsgrove's Ryan Lynch in the first period of their bout at 132 during Thursday's PAC-10 wrestling dual. (John Strickler/The Mercury)
Then Nico Demetrio, the lone Falcon wrestler honored during pre-match Senior Night festivities, boosted the hosts' advantage to 36-29 with a first-period pin at 152 pounds before a Falcon forfeit put the difference back to a single point with only Weneck's 170-pound bout to go."I think the adrenaline got the best of me,' said junior Weneck (25-6), who was taken down and nearly pinned by Ernest McCalvin before he could get his bearings. "I recovered and settled in. I scared myself. I scared everybody. But I felt comfortable that I could do well after I settled down."That was definitely the first time I've ever won a match. It's a great feeling. There was a ton of adrenaline going on. And being Pottsgrove against Pottstown, it makes it even sweeter.'The Falcons (3-4, 13-8) had taken their early lead on an opening-bout pin by Tyler Smith, three forfeits, and a decision by Kylif Underwood while Pottstown (1-6, 11-12) managed just a pin by Josh Slody.Then a pin by Logan Pennypacker (24-5), a forfeit, and another pin by Bryant Wise (22-3) brought the visitors to within 27-24. Ryan Finn followed with a 6-3 win for the Falcons, but a technical fall by Trojan 145-pounder Patrick Bohn (23-6) tightened the score to 30-29.
Pottsgrove's Tyler Smith controls Pottstown's Nyles Rome on the way to a pin at 182 Thursday. John Strickler/The Mercury
"My coach said we need six,' said Demetrio (28-2), who came out for the next match. And that's the number of points he did indeed put on the board for the hosts with a fall in 1:40, his 15th pin of the season. But it still took a win by Weneck to successfully finish up the backyard brawl."Wrestling is one of the greatest team sports,' added Demetrio, who hit the century mark in wins in the middle of last month and is now 107-40 for his career. "You have to rely on everybody.'A lot of Demetrio's success has been due to his hard work, according to Falcon coach Jeff Madden."Nico works out about every morning ... every day we have school, even when he's playing football,' he said. "He'll work three or four hours a day. He's done that since he was in eighth grade. He just really put in some good time and did a fantastic job. "He has great shots and he's really good on his feet. What I really like is the leadership coming out. The difference in this team and some teams in the past is the leadership he's bringing out. His parents have been fantastic also. His parents have supported the program.'Demetrio hopes that hard work will translate into success during the post-season tournament grind."Every morning I'm working out, working on my cardio,' he said. "I hope it pays off. I'm going to be wrestling in college, but it's my last post-season in high school. If I make it to states, there's only 28 days left. It's amazing how fast it goes. This is when I have to get my accolades."Last year I wasn't mentally tough. You have to be mentally prepared. I have to give it everything I've got.'
Weneck hopes to avoid lapses like the one that occurred early in his bout when he gets to post-season action. ... "'With the post-season coming up, I need to handle myself in big situations,' he said. ... The 113-pound match was the closest of the night with Underwood (25-6) pulling off a reversal with just 20 seconds remaining to edge Rob McCoy, 4-2. ... Slody (22-6) won a matchup of two wrestlers with more than 20 wins at 220 pounds when he got a quick takedown and finished up with a pin in just 1:04 against Chris DeFrancesco (22-6).