Boyertown Bears Wrestling

PAC Wrestling Championships are back, as are six returning champions

by Austin Hertzog, Pottstown Mercury

Posted on January 20, 2023

Article originally appeared here:

The Pioneer Athletic Conference Individual Wrestling Championships haven't had a chance to go back-to-back in a fair few years.

It was previously held in mid-February at the start of the individual postseason through 2018 when the league event ceased to be required as a sectional qualifier by the PIAA. The league explored a PAC championship dual meet between division winners in 2019 before returning to the individual tournament format in 2020, now the weekend after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A forced hiatus occurred in 2021 with schedules were modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PACs were back last year and now there's finally some continuity with the PAC Championships set to return to Pottsgrove High School Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

Six wrestlers enter with repetition on their minds, too.

Returning champions include Boyertown's Brody Coleman (106) and Gavin Sheridan (120), Spring-Ford's Cole Smith (113) and Quinn Smith (126), Owen J. Roberts' Dillon Bechtold (172) and Pottsgrove's Dominic DeMeno (215).

A repeat won't be possible for at least two of the six though. The 114-pound and 215-pound brackets feature a pair of past champions.

At 114, senior and two-time PIAA qualifier Cole Smith (16-1) is chasing his third PAC title, the lone wrestler in the league with that opportunity. He heads a bracket that also features Coleman (7-4), Methacton sophomore Ryan Hayes (19-4), Pope John Paul II junior Brady Pires (13-2) and Upper Perk's Gabe Tulone (19-5).

Spring-Ford was team champion at the past three PAC individual tournaments (2018, 2020, 2022). The Liberty Division leaders are chasing their fourth straight PAC championship, which is determined by dual meet record (four points per win) and tournament performance (20 points to champion, descending in two-point increments per lower place).

The 215-pound bracket features top-end talent with Bechtold going bigger and better so far in his junior year after winning the 172-pound PAC final in 2022. Last year's PIAA medalist has a PAC-best 27 wins (27-2) and is fresh off becoming OJR's first Escape the Rock champion last weekend.

Senior DeMeno was a regional qualifier in 2022 and is 19-2. The bracket also includes a returning Grant Euker (16-1) of Perkiomen Valley, who suffered a long-term knee injury in last year's 215 final, and Bears senior Cooper Gardner (16-7).

A look at the rest of the weight classes (brackets subject to change):

107 >> Spring-Ford sophomore and state qualifier Gus Smith (13-4) is atop the bracket. He was a finalist in 2022. PV freshman Max Tancini (22-5) is the second seed after grabbing attention last weekend when he placed fifth at Escape the Rock. He topped Smith 8-2 in a PAC dual Wednesday. The field also includes PJP sophomore Cole Dimitri (11-1) and Upper Perkiomen freshman Ben Godshall (18-4).

121 >> Boyertown senior Luke Heimbach (22-7) was a finalist in 2022 and looks to take a step higher on the podium. Attempting to get in his way will be Pottstown female standout Savannah Richards (9-2), UP rookie Zane Saeger (10-5) and PJP's Roland Oris (10-5).

127 >> Recent 100-win club entrant Quinn Smith (11-1) heads the field. Upper Perk junior Branden Rozanski (18-4), runner-up at 120 last winter, is second seed followed by Methacton junior Joey Simko (16-6).

133 >> Returning champ and two-time PIAA qualifier Gavin Sheridan (25-2) is the firm favorite at 133. UP junior Brandon Godshall (19-7), Norristown's Nikosh Marston (21-5) and Methacton's Shane McQuaid (14-7) are the best of the rest.

139 >> Owen J. Roberts senior Mason Karkoska (18-8) was a runner-up last year and is top seed. Boyertown's Shane Stankina (15-5), Pope John Paul II's Owen Claffey (11-4) and Upper Perk's Roy Cobb (10-4) follow in the bracket.

145 >> Upper Merion freshman Jowell Jones (9-2), S-F's Matt Offner (11-8), Upper Perk's Gabe Sanfelice (14-9) and OJR's Skylur Davidheiser (12-10) are the top four seeds in an open bracket.

152 >> OJR junior Sam Gautreau (24-5), a finalist in 2022 at 145, leads a strong 152-pound group. Pottsgrove senior Trenton Allen (20-2) and Methacton sophomore Matty Shumaker (22-3) both rank in the top 10 in the PAC in wins. Upper Merion's Casey Lamey (10-1) also has a first-round bye.

160 >> Perk Valley senior Gavin Pascoe (18-6) missed out on last year's PACs when he suffered a season-ending injury two days prior. He is joined at 160 by Spring-Ford's Anthony Attilio (12-11), a finalist at 152 last year, and Pottstown senior Devon Green (13-5).

172 >> PV senior Carson Pascoe (22-3), the Mercury All-Area football player of the year, is a top seed just like brother Gavin. The regional qualifier will be combatted by Spring-Ford freshman Mason Richards (13-4) and OJR junior Dysen Neill (8-6).

189 >> PV sophomore Carter Euker (14-5) was second at 160 last winter. His top competition looks to be promising OJR freshman Dean Bechtold (23-8), as well as Methacton junior Collin O'Neill (16-5) and Boyertown junior Mike Kelleher (12-11).

285 >> Norristown's Deshaun Matthew (19-7) hopes to make it two heavyweight titles in a row for the Eagles after Eric Whitt was champ last winter. Other leading hopefuls include OJR senior Christian Gregory (11-12) and Spring-Ford sophomore Connor Hudak (13-10).

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