Boyertown Bears Wrestling

Owen J. Roberts' Bechtold brothers, Gautreau, Boyertown's Sheridan claim Southeast 3A Regional gold

by Jeff Stover, Pottstown Mercury

Posted on March 5, 2023

Article originally appeared here:

FRANCONIA >> There were a number of Pioneer Athletic Conference "brothers acts" on stage at Souderton High this weekend.

No less than four family pairings took part in the PIAA Southeast AAA Regional wrestling competition, all in the thick of the chase to qualify for next weekend's PIAA Class AAA tournament in Hershey. But the most prolific duo was Owen J. Roberts' Bechtold brothers.

Dean and Dillon Bechtold headed the list of five PAC finalists who, along with 11 other grapplers, assured themselves of advancement by placing in the top four of their weight classes. They were a 1-2 punch in the upper weights, adding to last weekend's District 1-AAA North titles at 189 and 215 by repeating as champs at the regional level.

They were joined atop the podium by 152-pound winner and OJR teammate Sam Gautreau and Boyertown's Gavin Sheridan (133).

ean Bechtold (39-8) capped his sweep of the 189-pound bracket with a 6-2 decision of Conestoga's Jake Allred, the 2022 1-AAA North champion he topped in last week's district semifinals. Dillon Bechtold (43-2) followed with a 3-1 verdict on Quakertown's Calvin Lachman in the 215 title bout.

In qualifying for states, the Bechtolds also made a bit of history for the OJR mat program. They became the first brothers to both win regional championships.

"They're awesome," head coach Steve DeRafelo said after seeing his team come away with three regional champs among it four Hershey qualifiers, getting a title from Gautreau (152) and fifth from Mason Karkoska (139). "They push each other, and support each other."

Dean Bechtold preceded his championship-round bout with a fall and major decision among his early outings. Against Allred, he countered a second-period reversal by the Pioneer senior with an escape and takedown for a 3-2 lead.

Allred gave the OJR freshmen a release from the bottom position in the third period. Bechtold coupled the move with a takedown of his own to seal the win.

"I was confident," he said. "I was already qualified for states, so I wanted to have fun. This week in practice, I worked on my starts on top because I gave up a lot of points off them last week. That gave me the edge."

Dillon Bechtold's title showdown with Lachman went 0-0 through the first two periods. Like Dean, he scored a takedown after being released from a bottom start in the third period, holding on after Lachman escaped late in the frame.

"I couldn't let myself get defensive," he said. "I do my best wrestling offensively, I got a couple scrambles."

Perkiomen Valley saw its two brother pairings - Gavin and Carson Pascoe, Carter and Grant Euker - all receive the traditional Hershey bars with their regional medals. Gavin Pascoe was second at 160 while Carson Pascoe claimed a bronze medal at 172; the Eukers, in turn, both won the critical fifth-place matches at 189 and 215 to secure berths at states.

Coupled with Max Tancini's third at 107 and Kelly Kakos' fourth at 152, it gave the Vikings their largest number of state qualifiers since their three in 1975.

"I'm happy to make the PV history, sending six to states," head coach Dave Thomas said.

Another sibling set was Spring-Ford's Quinn and Gus Smith, both of whom made it to their third-place matches. Quinn Smith topped Sun Valley's Hunter Delaney at 127, 8-3, but Gus Smith was blanked by PV's Tancini 6-0.

The PAC's other gold medalist was Boyertown's Sheridan, winner at 133 with his 8-4 decision of West Chester Henderson's Carmen Cortese. It afforded the Bear junior (43-2) a measure of payback for their previous clash in the 2022 regional's 120-pound semifinal round, when Cortese eked out a 6-5 victory.

"It was important to get that back," Sheridan said. "I worked to clean up my technique and stay in position."

It was also important for Sheridan to prove wrong everyone who hasn't accorded him due respect for his abilities.

"I want to achieve my true potential, show I'm one of the best in the state," he said.

In his final with Quakertown's Zach Borzio, Gautreau (40-5) methodically built a 21-5 lead to score a technical fall 15 seconds before the end of the match. The result, coming after last weekend's district-title outing, got the Roberts junior to states for the first time in his scholastic career.

"Every match, I try to wrestle to the best of my ability," he said. "I felt good on my feet, so I just rolled with it."

Another bronze medalist was Upper Perkiomen's Branden Rozanski, a 12-7 winner over Coatesville's Andrij Szczesniuk at 121. Finishing fourth were PV's Kakos (152), Spring-Ford's Mason Richards (172) and Pottsgrove's Dominic DeMeno (215).

In the team standings, Owen J. was fourth with 100.5 points, Perkiomen Valley sixth with 91. An extremely close finish saw Quakertown edge Pennridge for the team championship, 129.5-128.5.

NOTES >> Roberts' three individual champions were a tournament high. ... Two wrestlers reached the 100-win mark for their scholastic careers Saturday: Council Rock South's Bekhruz Sadriddinov in his 160-pound semifinal with Spring-Ford's Anthony Attilio, and Conestoga's Hayden McLellan in his 172-pound semi with Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Justin Bainbridge. ... Among the inductees into the Southeast Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame were Norristown alumni Zach Fuentes and Brett Harner (both Class of 2013). The induction ceremony was held prior to Saturday evening's medal matches. ... The top five finishers in each weight class advance to the state tourney, and the top six were presented medals.

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