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Wrestling: Quakertown earns trip to state team tournament


Before the season began, senior Kyle Miller and his teammates requested a meeting with their coaches to set two realistic and succinct goals – win a district title and make it to team states.

To their credit, the Panthers nearly achieved both.

Quakertown lost a hard-fought title match to Spring-Ford, 39-22, in the District One Class 3A Duals at Upper Dublin High School last weekend, but the Panthers will begin their first trek in the state team championship since 2009 when they meet Erie Cathedral Prep in their opening match Thursday night.

Faith Christian captured the Class 2A title, and Council Rock South was third in 3A.

“We came out a little flat,” said Quakertown head coach Kurt Handel. “We couldn’t afford to do that against Spring-Ford. But our guys are very resilient. Even though we haven’t been there (state duals), our mindset is to win and not just be happy to get there.”

For Miller, getting to the state team tournament was a major accomplishment, but he still has high individual aspirations. At 120, Miller has an overall 33-7 record with 13 falls, and he hasn’t lost a match since Jan. 19.

“During my sophomore year, I felt pretty prepared at regionals and I lost two straight matches,” said Miller. “That was a real eye-opener for me. I also decided to give up soccer and totally concentrate on wrestling.

“Last year, I ended up with a 2-2 record in regionals. It was then that I had to do whatever I could to get to states my senior year. This is my last chance and I feel really healthy and focused. Over the next three weeks, we will all be pushing ourselves, and we know we have to keep fighting through as we have all season.”

Council Rock South lost a 37-31 nailbiter to Central Dauphin in the pigtail round of the state tournament Monday night.

It was a literal seesaw match that was finally decided in the final bout of the night when Central Dauphin’s Ty Weathersby recorded a technical fall over CR South’s Joel Martsinovsky, 15-0, in the 152-pound bout.

It was the seventh straight year that the Golden Hawks qualified for the state tournament.

“We gave away too many bonus points,” said CR South head coach Brad Silimperi. “This has been about us getting better every day.

“We were able to bounce back after we lost a league match to Quakertown and then didn’t have any place winners at the Escape the Rock tournament. Coming in third at team duals was a chance for us to reemphasize how we should be grateful for the opportunities we get.

“It is very difficult to win in districts, and we don’t take anything for granted. After we got beat, our guys were able to put it behind them and finish third.”

Stressing an overall team concept, Silimperi did highlight the effort of sophomore Lucas Doyle, who has been wrestling at 195 despite being a 182-pounder. Doyle has a 20-8 mark with 10 falls in his first varsity season.

“He has really turned the corner,” said Silimperi. “He has wrestled up for us all season, and has really battled through. He’ll be down to 170 and be a dangerous out at districts.”

Faith Christian captured its fourth straight Class 2A district team title, this time downing Conwell-Egan, 54-21.

Last season, Faith lost its opening-round state match to Westmont Hilltop and then fell to Notre Dame of Green Pond in the consolation round.

The Lions meet Forest Hills in the opening round of states Thursday.