He wanted to see more.

Even after a dominating debut in their Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duals, Pete Ventresca wasn't quite ready to annoint the Boyertown wrestling team a championship product. Ventresca withheld any such lofty assessment until after the King Of The Mountain tournament ... a two-day affair bringing 34 schools — some already possessing lofty credentials — to Central Mountain High School for a snowy weekend of busy mat competition.

And he liked what he saw.

"I was very pleased with our performance,' Ventresca said. "The guys stepped up at King of the Mountain. It was a tough tournament, but a lot of our guys who were still unproven stepped up.'

Boyertown secured eight individual medals, headed by Jordan Wood's championship finish at 220, to finish second in the team standings. Considering the quality of the competition, Ventresca saw the Bears' overall showing cause for optimism in the long run.

"The Bealer field was tough, too,' he said, "but this was 34 teams, as opposed to wrestling five teams. Parkland (fourth place) was ranked ahead of us, and Bethlehem Catholic (champion) is number one in Double-A.

"There were some really incredible wrestlers here ... guys who were state champions.'

And Wood ranked right up there. Boyertown's super sophomore (9-0) won a second straight KOTM title with a sweep at 220, winning his first three bouts by fall before dealing Bethlehem Catholic's Andrew Dun a 5-1 decision in the finals.


Thus far, Wood has pinned all but two opponents. He topped the 50-win mark during the Bealer Duals and continues his trek toward joining the area's "century club' of career winners.

Jordan Wertz was Boyertown's next-highest finisher, coming away third at 195. The Bear senior (11-1) capped his weekend with a 4-2 decision of Kittaning's Jacob Robb.

Behind Wood and Wertz, Boyertown got fourths from Jakob Campbell (106), Lucas Miller (126) and Eddie Kriczky (138). All were close losses: Campbell 2-1 to Bethlehem Catholic's Jake Riegel, Miller 3-2 to Boiling Springs' Grant Bond and Kriczky 2-1 to Hempfield Area's Joey Alessandro.

Dylan Wertz (145) and Cody Richmond (170) took fifth places while Gregg Harvey (160) placed seventh.

"Our uppers performed well,' Ventresca said, his roster headed by Jordan Wertz, Kriczky and Richmond (seniors) and Dylan Wertz (junior). "A lot of the guys we're counting on to score got points. They're leaders and role models. The guys we're expecting to be ' hammers' are doing the job.'

Ventresca was also cheered by the showings from other wrestlers, even though they fell short of winning medals. David Campbell (113) and J.T. Cooley (132) each went 3-2 in their respective brackets, John Davidson (182) and Brody O'Connell (285) turned in 2-2 records, and Garrett Mauger (120) and Hunter Vogels (152) won at least one bout.

"We had a lot of guys wrestle well,' Ventresca said. "Everyone on the team was able to wrestle well, which was good.'

Particularly wrestlers who are in their first seasons of high-school competition. David and Jakob Campbell, Cooley and Vogels offer hope for the future, as do sophomores like Harvey, Mauger, Miller and O'Connell,

"Our freshmen are stepping up,' Ventresca said. "Jakob Campbell fourth at 106 ... it was a good tournament for him. He had a good match against the kid from Council Rock South (Riley Palmer), then lost to the kid from Bethlehem Catholic on points.

"David Campbell ... we got what we thought we could get out of the kid. Cooley is a tough hard-nosed kid, too.'

Boyertown's wrestling road faces another big step next weekend, the Bears heading to the University of Delaware for the Beast of the East tournament - and another go-round against quality competition.

"We try to wrestle the most challenging schedule we can,' Ventresca said. "We want our kids to run into tough opponents. When you get to the higher levels in the state, you're going to face a tough group of wrestlers. We want our guys to be ready.'

Whatever lies ahead, the Boyertown coaching staff is confident in the product it will put out on the mats.

"I knew coming in we have a pretty good team,' Ventresca said. "From youth wrestling and junior high, we had talented kids come in. One of the good things is we're kind of balanced between super studs and ' holes'.

"I saw a lot we need to work on,' he added. "I see how good we presently are, but we can get a whole lot better.'


Upper Perkiomen was the other area wrestling program in action this weekend.

It had traveled to Maryland, in advance of the snow that hit the region Saturday, for the Glenn Jones Charger Classic at Henry Laskey High School. The Indians finally made it home Sunday, but not before scoring a respectable finish in the 32-school competition.

UP had six medalists, headed by Dustin Steffenino's runner-up outing at 120. Eric Miller (126) and Dan Jordan (138) brought home thirds while Tyler Livingstone was fourth at 112.

Rounding out the Tribe's medal total were Mike Felix, sixth at 152, and Justin Crossley, seventh at 220.


Area wrestling fans got a taste of what the Pioneer Athletic Conference has to offer on the mats. Three teams (Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Pope John Paul II) opened with matches last week.

This week, the circuit will get more into the swing before the winter holiday break — and its corresponding menu of tournaments — takes over the calendar.

On Wednesday, Boyertown will host Pottsgrove while Pottstown visits Upper Perkiomen. Two days later, Spring-Ford and the Indians hook up on the Ram canvas in a tussle between perennial league powers.

Over in Berks County, Daniel Boone resumes its league schedule Wednesday by visiting Wilson-West Lawn. The Blazers opened Berks action last week with a 54-30 victory over Muhlenberg.