Quakertown head wrestling coach Kurt Handel was ecstatic to have three wrestlers advance to the PIAA state tournament in Hershey this weekend, but he also was reminded of his team’s potential.
The Panthers’ Domenic DeFalco (132 pounds, third place), Corey Cope (120 pounds, fifth place), and Max Russell will advance to Chocolate Town from the Class 3A Southeast Regional in Souderton. Pennridge’s Logan Green (fourth, 195) also earned a trip.
At the Class 2A Southeast Regional at Wilson West Lawn, Palisades’ Adam Marsh was a runner-up at 182, and defending state champion Nathan Haubert finished third at 145. Faith Christian Academy’s Damon Waltenbaugh took fourth at 170 and teammate Max Schultz was sixth at 160.
Handel who brought seven wrestlers to the regionals, stated how Kyle Miller (113), Zack Lewis (126), and Patrick McCoy (138) all were on the verge of wrestling this weekend. The Panthers finished 10th overall as a team with 55.5 points.
“We had three wrestlers right on the door,” said Handel in reference to his trio. “Those guys won’t get recognized, but they were right there and a match away.
“But it was a really awesome day for Quakertown wrestling. We have a good nucleus going out there, and our kids will have some tough early matchups.”
Cope, a senior who was fourth in districts and didn’t place at regionals last season, truly cherished the moment.
“I was extremely happy that I qualified and it was something I’ve been dreaming about forever,” said Cope, who has a 31-9 season record. “I was really happy how everyone wrestled. Three of us qualified and three others were very close with good seasons.
“I can’t wait to get to Hershey to finally compete at the Giant Center.”
Green, a junior, is making his inaugural trip with plenty of optimism after he didn’t place in regionals last season.
“The tournament went well, but I thought I could have performed better,” said Green, who has a 35-10 record and 19 falls. “I’m excited to be headed to Hershey to leave my mark there and come back with some hardware.”
Marsh, who finished third at districts, made his way to the finals and suffered a fall to Nick James of Hamburg in 3:17.
The senior earlier picked up his 100th career win and has a stellar 29-3 mark this season. He finished fifth at regionals last season, but he didn’t place at states. The Pirates placed 13th overall at regionals with 44 points.
“I think I had a good weekend of wrestling and a lot of good matches,” said Marsh. “Unfortunately, I just got caught in a bad position in the final and in a chin whip.
“But that’s over now. I hit the room hard and have to sharpen up a few things before Hershey.”