Team USA Slips by Team Pennsylvania 22-18 at Dapper Dan

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Austin Matthew (Reynolds, PA) defeats Jake Short (Smiley, MN) at 152 lbs.

Austin Matthew (L) (Reynolds, PA) defeats Jake Short (R) (Smiley, MN) at 152 lbs.

In the closest Dapper Dan Classic since 2007, when Team USA defeated Team PA (22-21), the 2013 Classic lived up to fans expectations. What a show it was with Team PA nearly pulling off an upset over Team USA falling (22-18).

In the first bout of the evening 3x PA State Champion Mikey Racciato was pushed hard from neutral by Michigan’s Ben Whitford at 145 lbs. The #1 Ranked wrestler in the Nation at 145 lbs. defeated Racciato (7-2) in a gym he will be spending time in when he attends the University of Pittsburgh next Fall. Next up for Team PA was Norristown Area’s Zach Fuentes who was a PIAA State runner-up this season at 113 lbs. and is ranked #10 in the Nation at 113 lbs. Fuentes was able to get a takedown in the first period and hold on for a (3-2) victory over #17 Nationally ranked Paul Mascarenas of New Mexico. Although not an upset according to Intermat’s Rankings, Fuentus’ victory at 113 lbs. was key for Team PA.

In a match-up that would feature #1 vs. #3 in the Nation Ohio’s #1 Nathan Tomasello took on 2x PA State Champion #3 Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic). The two did not meet in the 2012 Beast of the East where Tomasello was the Champion at 120 lbs. while Cruz was third after falling in the semi-finals to the eventual runner-up Matt Kolodzik of Blair Academy. The pair did meet back in October 2010 in Greensboro, NC at the Super 32 Challenge. Both were sophomores as they met in the finals at 103 lbs. with Darian Cruz winning the Championship with a (5-3) win over Tomasello. They didn’t have to wait long for a re-match as Cruz and Tomasello met two months later in the Finals of the 2010 Walsh Ironman Tournament at 103 lbs. This time Tomasello was victorious by a (1-0) score earning his first of three Ironman Championships. The match-up in 2013 was high intensity as both were cat-like from the neutral position with Tomasello scoring the bouts only takedown. In the final seconds of the third period Cruz connected on a single leg near the edge of the mat and worked up to the head in what looked to be control but the refs indicated no takedown as the buzzer rang out. Tomasello will be staying in State to attend The Ohio State University as will Darian Cruz who will follow his older brother Randy to Lehigh University.

In a re-match of the 2012 Beast of the East Finals, Blair Academy’s Brooks Black took on PIAA State Champion Aaron Bradley at 285 lbs. When the two met in December 2012 Brooks Black won in UTB to claim the Beast Title but Bradley is coming off an impressive run at his first PIAA State Championship. As expected the two battled to a (1-1) tie at the end of regulation and the bout went into sudden victory. In sudden victory Bradley was able to grab a single leg on Black and complete the takedown for a (3-1 OT) victory and another momentum changer for Team PA. Brooks Black, who is from Dover, PA will attend Illinois while Bradley is still undecided. Joining Black at Illinois will be 160 lbs. 3x California State Champion Isaiah Martinez who put on a show against PIAA State Champion Cody Law (Forest Hills, PA). Right from the start Martinez demonstrated his take-down ability and never looked back as he majored Law (20-8) at the end of three periods. Cody Law will also be attending a Big Ten program as he will head to Penn State next Fall.

At 182 lbs. it was #1 vs. #2 in the Nation as Wyoming Seminary’s 2x National Prep Champion #1 Eric Morris took on St. Ed’s Ohio 3x State Champion #2 Domenic Abounader. The two were as evenly matched as the Rankings reflected with neither wrestler scoring an offensive point. After an escape by Abounaer in the second period the Michigan recruit went up (1-0) in what seemed to be an overtime match waiting to happen. Morris choose down to start the third but was unable to break away from the grasps of the Ohio senior who held on for (1-0) victory. The win by Abounaer helped Team USA jump out to a (13-6) lead over Team PA.

In the next bout 4x State Champion Ryan Diehl (Trinity-Camp Hill, PA) made the jump from 126 lbs. to 132 lbs. to face 4x Ohio State Champion Dean Heil (St. Edward). PA fans may remember the name Dean Heil from last season when he pinned 4x PIAA State Champion Jimmy Gullibon (Derry Area) at the 2011 Walsh Ironman Tournament finals at 126 lbs. This season Heil completed his quest for 4 straight Ohio State Championships and will head to Oklahoma State next season. Ryan Diehl won two West Virginia State Championships his freshman and sophomore seasons before heading to the Keystone State where he won two straight PIAA State Championships. During the first period Heil was able to connect on a single-leg takedown to go up (2-0) before using a turk to turn Diehl for 3 back points and a (5-0) lead. An escape from Heil in the second made it (6-0) before Diehl earned his own escape in the third period to make it (6-1). In the third period Diehl was unable to create any offensive pressure on Heil as the bout ended (6-1) and momentum moved towards Team USA.

In the next bout the Nation’s #1 and #2 wrestlers at 195 lbs. squared off to do battle, officially at 220 lbs. for the Classic. 2x PIAA State Champion #1 Ryan Solomon, a University of Pittsburgh recruit, took on #2 Frank Mattiace (Blair Academy, NJ), who was a 2x National Prep Champion and will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall. The two grapplers were very evenly matched as both nearly connected on takedown attempts and each scored a 1 point escape to tie the match  (1-1) after regulation. In sudden victory the two again exchanged takedown attempts to no avail. In the first tiebreaker round Solomon choose the bottom position and despite not earning an escape Mattiace was hit for his second stall warning thus awarding Solomon 1 point. In the second tie-breaker round Mattiace down one point choose the bottom position but was unable to escape and Milton Area’s Ryan Solomon earned the victory. The Blair Academy fans in attendance were unhappy with the outcome as the match was basically decided on a stalling call.

In the biggest surprise of the evening PIAA State Champion Austin Matthews (Reynolds), ranked #8 in the Nation at 152 lbs., upset #1 ranked Jake Short of Simley, Minnesota by an impressive (8-2) margin. Short ended his career as a 4x Minnesota State Champion where he will remain when he attends the University of Minnesota in the Fall. Matthews earned the bouts first takedown and was able to reverse Short in the second period, never looking back en route to a (8-2) upset victory and major boost to Team PA. With only four bouts remaining the dual meet score was (16-12) as this year’s main events were set to begin. At 126 lbs. Joey Dance (Christiansburg, VA), ranked #1 in the Nation by Flo Wrestling, faced off against #3 Connor Schram (Canon-McMillan). Dance was a 4x Virginia State Champion and 2x Super 32 Challenge Champion who will be attending VIrginia Tech in the Fall. Schram was a 4x PIAA State finalist and 2x State Champion for the Big Mac’s and will attend Stanford in the Fall. The two explosive wrestlers battled to a (1-1) tie after three periods of action and entered into sudden victory. Again the two were scoreless as the match entered the first tie-breaker period. Dance choose the bottom position and was able to earn an escape to go ahead (2-1). In the second tie-breaker period Schram also choose the bottom position but, unlike Dance, could not break away as the Virginia Tech recruit triumphed (2-1 TB).

At 195 lbs. PIAA State Champion and Edinboro recruit #8 Jake Hart (Hampton) took on #11 Broc Berge (Kasson-Mantorville, Minnesota) a 2x Minnesota State Champion and Iowa recruit. Hart was up (1-0) late in the third period when Berge was able to secure a takedown to go ahead (2-1). With only seconds remaining in the match Hart desperately attempted to escape but instead was able to reverse Berge at the buzzer giving the PA senior a thrilling (3-2) victory as the Fitzgerald Field House exploded with cheers. With Team USA ahead (19-15) two bouts remained as Team PA featured two Nationally #1 ranked wrestlers. First up was Benton Area senior #1 Zain Retherford who was a 2x PIAA State Champion in his three seasons of competition and a 2012 FILA World Cadet Champion in Freestyle. Retherford took on the outstanding New Jersey senior Antony Ashnault (South Plainfield, NJ) who had a undefeated career record of (170-0) earning four New Jersey State Championship Titles on the way. The Rutgers recruit came in ranked #2 in the Nation behind Retherford by Intermat. The two are not complete strangers in fact they faced each other at the 2010 Super 32 Challenge Finals at 112 lbs. Both were sophomores as Ashnault came out on top (8-3). Almost three years later the two once again met. After a scoreless first period Ashnault took the bottom position and earned an escape to go ahead (1-0). In the third period it was Retherford’s chance from the bottom position and after approximately one minute of Ashnault riding tough Retherford was able to secure a reversal and go-ahead (2-1) with under 50 seconds left in the match. The Penn State recruit was able to hold on and earn an impressive victory over the previously unbeaten Anthony Ashnault (2-1) at 138 lbs.

The victory by Retherford earned him the Team PA Outstanding Wrestler Award and brought Team PA within one point of Team USA (19-18) with only one match remaining. In that match 3x PIAA State Champion Cody Wiercioch (Canon-McMillan) took on 4x Oklahoma State Champion Zachary Beard (Tuttle, Oklahoma) at 170 lbs. Wiercioch came in ranked #1 in the Nation by Intermat while Beard was ranked #3. Wrestling in the gym where he will be competing in the near future, the Pitt recruit Wiercioch was simply out matched on his feet by Zach Beard, a University of Wyoming recruit. In the first period Beard countered the Big Mac’s shot with a snap and spin around for two. It was all Beard from then on as he secured a Team USA victory with a (7-4) decision over Wiercioch and ending a Team PA comeback to win the Classic (22-19). For his victory Beard was named the Team USA Outstanding Wrestler.

Results of the Main Event: Team USA vs. Team PA can be found below. To view the career accomplishments of each wrestler please click here for Team USA and here for Team PA

USA 22 —  PA 18

145 – Benjamin Whitford MI dec Michael Racciato Pen Argyl (7-3)
113 – Zach Fuentes Norristown dec Paul Mascarenas NM (3-2)
120 – Nathan Tomasello OH dec Darian Cruz Bethlehem Catholic (3-2)
285 – Aaron Bradley Nazareth dec Brooks Black NJ (3-1 OT)
160 – Isaiah Martinez CA maj dec Cody Law Forest Hills (20-8)
182 – Domenic Abounader OH dec Eric Morris Wyoming Seminary (1-0)
132 – Dean Heil OH dec Ryan Diehl Trinity (6-1)
220 – Ryan Solomon Milton dec Frank Mattiace NJ (2-1 UTB)
152 – Austin Matthews Reynolds dec Jake Short MN (8-2)
126 – Joey Dance VA dec Connor Schram Canon-McMillan (2-1 TB)
195 – Jake Hart Hampton dec Broc Berge MN (2-1)
138 – OW Zain Retherford Benton dec Anthony Ashnault NJ (2-1)
170 – OW Zachary Beard OK dec Cody Wiercioch Canon-McMillan (7-4)

In the preliminary match Team WPIAL defeated Team Virginia (28-19) in a mach that featured three talented Christiansburg High School wrestlers for Team VA. Led by 2012 PIAA State Champion Matt McCutcheon (Kiski Area) and 2013 PIAA State Champion Dakota DesLauriers (Burrell) Team WPIAL won 8 of 13 matches in the dual meet. McCutcheon was named Team WPIAL’s Outstanding Wrestler after he earned a fall at 195 lbs.

Results of the Preliminary Event: Team Virginia vs. Team WPIAL can be found below. To view the career accomplishments of each wrestler please click here for Team Virginia and here for Team WPIAL

WPIAL 28 —  Virginia 19

113 – Seth Carr South Fayette dec Sean Badua Osbourne Park (4-2)
120 – JR Wert Christiansburg dec Nathan Reckner South Side (2-0)
126 – Tyler Walker North Hills maj dec Gabe Lumpp Christiansburg (19-6)
132 – Dennis Gustafson Forest Park dec Nick Zanetta Keystone Oaks (2-1)
138 – OW Andrew Atkinson Liberty Christian pin Ethan Kenney Connellsville (3:54)
145 – Phil Marra Burrell dec Beau Donahue Westfield (2-0)
152 – Heath Coles Norwin dec Sean Murphy Colonial Forge (6-2)
160 – Zach Voytek Greensburg Salem dec Rory Renzi Lake Colonial (4-3)
170 – Zach Epperley Christiansburg dec Dustin Conti Jefferson Morgan (5-2)
182 – Dakota DesLauriers Burrell dec Ryan O’Brien First Colonial (2-0)
195 – OW Matt McCutcheon Kiski Area pin Corbin Ramos Matoca (4:14)
220 – Zach Roseberry Brentsville maj dec Garrett Vulcano Chartiers-Houston (12-3)
285 – Angelo Broglia Canon-McMillan dec Justin Williams Skyline (3-2)


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