Patriots dominate Wrestlepalooza
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With Kanye West’s “Amazing” pulsing in his ears, freshman and four-time junior state wrestling champion Scott Strappelli stepped onto the mat for his first high school home match. Nervous, but excited, his muscles tensed as he faced his Calvert Hall Cardinals opponent, Ben Park. Strappelli quickly jumped into an early 2-0 lead after a takedown. 50 seconds later, Park was on his back, and Strappelli looked up into a standing-room only crowd of screaming spectators.
“The atmosphere was awesome, and I had been waiting so long to wrestle in front of John Carroll and to show what I’ve got to the students and teachers. All together, it was fantastic and an awesome experience,” said Strappelli. “I knew that God was with me, and would give me the strength to do well, whether I won or lost.”
Freshman George Weber, also wrestling in his first home match, admitted, “I was a little nervous,” but “I went out there and gave it my all. It’s not really that different, just interesting to see kids three or four years older and their differences in strength.”
Varsity wrestling improved to 2-0 on December 9 after a home win over MIAA A conference rival Calvert Hall in Wrestlepalooza, with a final score of 60-21.
Coach Keith Watson said, “We have a lot of young, talented guys with the ability to be very good, although there are things to work on. I really like our freshmen. We have so much talent down low with our young pups. We have the possibility of multiple state champions and All-Americans,” which is especially impressive because “we’ve only had two state champs and four All-Americans ever.”
The team’s strengths at the meet included “pins. We were finishing people off when we put them in danger,” said Watson.
“It was well done. I’m impressed. We did well controlling from the top and bottom, as well as our stand ups,” said junior Joe Vitucci.
“I think that our skills on the team are progressively getting better and we’re all working hard in practice, which showed tonight,” said Strappelli.
However, Watson still sees room for improvement, “We have to get tougher. Some guys don’t have confidence. We don’t have guys challenging that should be challenging.”
The support of the crowd played a “pretty big part [in the win] because from the cheering and dedication of the students, I had a lot more energy and excitement to help me perform my moves and bring home a win individually and a good win for the team. I’d like to thank them for supporting us because it helps our team build momentum. Come cheer us on at the Battle of Bel Air,” said Strappelli
Added Weber, “I think they [the crowd] helped motivate everybody with their enthusiasm, and they were fun to wrestle in front of.”
With this win, in addition to a victory December 8 versus Gillman, “We got off to a good start [to the season]. We have a good work ethic, and will get better as the season goes on,” said Weber.
215: Senior Stephen St. Clair won in a forfeit.
285: Hall’s Jovon Watts scored first against junior Rob Clingerman with a takedown. Watts put Clingerman in an illegal hold, giving Watts a 2-1 lead. As the first period expired, Watts scored two back points and, with 1:05 left in the second period, pinned Clingerman.
103: Patriots freshman Devin Davis scored two on a takedown of Collin DeMatt with 1:49 left in the first period. He didn’t score again until the second period, scoring once more off of a takedown. Davis pinned DeMatt with 1:15 left in the period.
112: Strappelli took down Park early in the first period, finishing off his opponent with a pin with 1:10 left in the period.
119: Junior Lance Waters gained two points off of an early takedown and never looked back, pinning the Cardinals’ Caville Hollingsworth with 52 seconds left in the first period.
125: Weber faced off against Luke Koski. The Patriots’ five-time state champion Weber controlled the match, scoring a quick takedown and eventually pinning his opponent after coming out to an 11-0 lead on the force of nine back points.
130: Junior Dan Froehlich scored the only points of the match with a takedown. He then pinned Max Jones with 55 seconds left in the first period.
135: Vitucci, who got his black belt in Aikido earlier this week, scored first, with a takedown. His three back points were not counted, as he pinned Tommy Gruebl with 57 remaining in the period.
140: Senior captain Sam Chell got a takedown early in the first period. At the start of the second, with Chell on top in the referee’s position, Ben Hankey got a point off of an escape. Chell responded with another takedown. He let Hankey up, giving him a point for an escape, and then took him down once again to end the second period. A series of three Chell takedowns, peppered with one Hankey escape, brought the score to its final of 14-4, a major victory, at the end of the third.
145: Sophomore Zach Donato scored an early takedown against Nick Abel, who got an escape and then a takedown, bringing the score to 3-2 in Abel’s favor at the end of the first period. Donato got another takedown in the third period, after a scoreless second. Abel turned the tide of the match with a reversal with 20 seconds to go, bringing the score to 5-4.
152: Junior Sam Owens took on Peter Berger, scoring first with a takedown. With 1:25 left in the first period, he scored two back points, gaining another two with 51 seconds to go. He took the match with 22 seconds left in the period by pinning Berger.
160: Junior captain Mat Miller faced off against Forrest Rutledge. He got the first two takedowns, although Rutledge scored on an escape. As time expired in the first period, Miller scored two back points. In the second period, Rutledge scored two on a reversal, but Miller gained the same number in back points. Miller scored again with an escape and a takedown to close out the second period. Miller got two takedowns and an escape in the third, getting Rutledge into body scissors with 45 seconds left in the match and getting the pin 17 seconds later.
171: Hall’s Tom Hollenback got the first points of the match versus senior Will Puhl, with a takedown with 45 seconds left in the period. With 14 seconds remaining, Puhl scored on a reversal, and got an additional point after a technical. Puhl scored the only points of the second period, with two back points with 50 seconds to go. Hollenback scored two more back points in the third period, and pinned Puhl with 1:06 left to go.
185: The final match of the afternoon pitted junior Kyle Miele against Tony Gardner, who scored first, with a takedown with 1:15 left. Gardner then gained three back points, plus points from a technical and an additional takedown. Miele scored with an escape to end the first period, but was pinned with 1:45 left in the second.
Final score: Patriots 60, Cardinals 21.
Kate Froehlich can be reached for comment at [email protected].