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Quakertown’s Ziegler among grapplers to earn district gold


Over the past four years, Quakertown’s Mason Ziegler has accumulated his share of accolades and achieved a number milestones in the Panthers’ program.

Most recently, Ziegler became Quakertown’s first four-time district champion when he gained the 121-pound title at the District One Class 3A Section East individual championships in his home gym.

The senior decisioned Pennridge’s Cole Coffin, 13-5, to claim the crown. He was among four Panthers who took home gold and advanced to the Southeast Class 3A Regional at Oxford Area High School this weekend. Overall, the Panthers had seven wrestlers advance, and they finished third as a team.

Aside from Quakertown, Council Rock South took the top spot among the teams, and Pennridge was second. Both teams matriculated nine wrestlers.

For Ziegler, a state runner-up who has a 41-3 slate this season, it was a memorable event.

“It’s a really great feeling,” Ziegler gushed. “I can’t thank my family, friends and coaches enough for helping me get to this point. I can’t say I thought about becoming a four-time district champion because I always thought of districts as a stepping stone on the way to Hershey and the state gold.”

Juniors Gavin Carroll (145) and Collin Gaj (152), along with senior Calvin Lachman (285) also were the top finishers in their weight classes. Gaj was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, as he registered two falls and a tech fall. In the final, he beat Pennridge’s Sam Kuhns, 23-7.

Head coach Kurt Handel was impressed with his team’s overall effort.

“Mason had an incredible accomplishment,” beamed Handel. “Our guys winning in the final is a testament to their hard work in the practice room every day. The guys in wrestlebacks did really well.

“Ike Williams, Evan Hilton and David Clayton helped the team secure a third-place finish. Overall, we had a good day, and these guys are looking to punch their ticket to Hershey next Saturday.”

Gaj, a returning state champion and three-time district champion, has a positive outlook ahead.

“For the first time all season, I feel fully healthy and am in a good head space,” noted Gaj, who is 37-3 this season and 131-10 overall. “I feel the best I’ve ever been technically, and am truly hitting my stride.

“My coaches have done everything to prepare me for another opportunity at a state title, and I couldn’t be more thankful to them. As a team, we take an unorthodox approach to the postseason compared to other teams.We emphasize having fun and enjoying the moment.

“For many kids, they let the pressure and nerves get to them, but we do a great job at doing what we do best. I’m super excited for our guys and can’t wait to watch them bring home medals from Hershey.”

Council Rock South senior Bekhruz Sadriddinov (172) and junior Gavin Cole (160) both won gold medals. Sadriddinov became a three-time district champion.

Golden Hawks head coach Trey Balasco saw the round as just another extension of the season.

“The kids continued the trend of this year and showed up and wrestled fantastic,” Balasco said. “That’s the first time we had every single kid in the lineup place at a district tournament. Every single kid played a huge role for us winning as a team.

“Bekhruz and Gavin go at it every day, and it’s no wonder that they ended up taking home gold medals. We’re going back to work to push as many through to states as we can.”

Other locals who won gold at their weights were Pennridge junior Colby Martinell (114), Council Rock North senior Alexander Diaz (107) and junior Eren Sement (127), Central Bucks West sophomore Chris Dennis (133) and Central Bucks South senior Jake Neill (139). As a team, CR North was fourth, CB West, eighth; Central Bucks East, ninth, and CB South, 11th.

Palisades’ Daniel Haubert was second at 160 in the District 11 Class 2A tournament and the Pirates, who finished 12th as a team, will send two to regionals at Freedom High School. Brock Schneiderwind was third at 114.

The Pirates will be joined at regionals by several wrestlers from Faith Christian. In the District One/12 2A tournament, the Lions picked up 10 individual gold medals. Led by titlists Joey Bachmann (107), Gauge Botero (121), Mason Wagner (139), Chase Hontz (145), Max Stein (152), Cael Weidemoyer (160), Adam Waters (172), Cody Wagner, (189), Jason Singer (215) and Mark Effendian (285), Faith finished first in team scoring. Faith’s Dominic Reynolds (127) earned a silver medal and teammate Clayton Waltenbaugh captured bronze in the 114-pound class.

New Hope-Solebury’s Quinn Bridge is also headed to regionals after claiming silver in the 152-pound class at the District One/12 tournament. The Lions finished 10th as a team.

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