Oxford High School hosted this year’s District 1 Central wrestling tournament, replacing last season’s “snow-covered” Wissahickon. The scenery might have changed, but the results came back in the same style! Downingtown East wrestling captured the team title in a dominating fashion, amassing 154 points and outpacing the rest of the field by 62 points. They qualified 10 wrestlers for next weekend’s regional tournament and collected their 4th straight District 1 Central crown. Led by champions James Strommer (113) and Wade Cummings (126), East put 7 in the finals, and had 3 wrestle back to take advancement honors. Lukas Richie (106), Nik Zimmerman (138), Alec Horne (160), Brent Czajkowski (182), and Owen Morris (220) claimed silver medals, while Connor Birzes (132) and Jude McDowell (152) wrestled back hard for the bronze. Josh Wileczek (195) stretched to the limit and collected a 4th place qualifying bid, and heavyweight Brendan McGinley (285) secured a 5th place alternate bid. The Cougars displayed a memorable team effort and reaped the rewards of such a display. Congrats to them as they march forward to the Regional tournament at Souderton HS and those coveted bids to PIAA Hershey. Good Luck gentlemen!
On Saturday 2/20, the post-season began for all District 1 wrestlers. For the Cougars, the journey began at Bayard Rustin HS in a 14-team league tournament where only the top 7 place-winners advance to the next weekend. Individuals were asked to concentrate on their own performances, and in turn, the team component would work itself out. In the end, East wrapped up their 4th consecutive Chesmont League Tournament championship, collecting 210 team points and outdistancing 2nd place D-West and 3rd place Rustin by close to 30 points. The Cougars qualified 11 wrestlers for next weekend’s District 1 Central tournament and none of them finished any lower than 5th place. Champions Wade Cumimings (126), Nik Zimmerman (138), and Owen Morris (220) led the charge while runners-up Lukas Richie (106), James Strommer (113), Jude McDowell (152), and Alec Horne (160) rounded out the championship finalists. Brent Czajkowski (182) and Brendan McGinley (285) took 4th place finishes, while Connor Birzes (132) and Josh Wileczek (195) fought back for 5th. The team held firm to their goals and put on a strong performance to secure that 4th title. Now, the road leads to Oxford HS and the District tournament where only the top 4 place-winners will proceed. Good luck to the Cougars as they chase more hardware and continue the journey towards Hershey!
On Presidents’ Day, Downingtown East once again held its annual Chester County JV Championship tournament to close out the season for the young and aspiring. The competition brings competitors from all over the area, including Boyertown, OJR, Garnet Valley, and Ridley. At the day’s end, Downingtown East crowned 4 individual champions and 6 total medalists. Jett Lucas Muprhy (126), Stuart Regitz (132), Josh Wileczek (195), and Carter Regitz (220) all won gold medals, while Jack Hayward (152) finished a close second, and Praneeth Ramesh (126) battled back for fourth. Jarrett Hansen (120) and Jack Clay (152) went 3-1, falling just short of medal contention, and Luke Moran and Jake Neubaum finished 1-2. A sincere thanks and congrats go out to the JV Cougars for a tremendous season filled with notable improvement and much promise for the future. Aim high gentlemen, and start getting ready for 2016-2017!
On Friday night (2/12), the Cougar wrestlers, coaches, managers, and supporters hopped on a bus and took Route 100 North to the Lehigh Valley to watch NCAA #1 Penn State wrestle the Mountain Hawks at Stabler Arena. The place was packed to capacity and hotter than a furnace! PSU knocked off Lehigh 28-9, winning 7 of 10 bouts and picking up a fall and tech along the way. About 90% of the participants, both teams included, were Pennsylvania stand-outs in their high school days and it truly showed with the display of talent and work ethic. PA greats such as Megaludis, Cruz, Gulibon, Nolf, Brown, and Retherford all put on a show for the 5,000+ sitting in the stands. The Cougars picked up some valuable lessons watching the college giants wrestle. Now, it’s time to take those lessons home and put them to work as the PIAA season approaches! Good luck boys!
On Monday 2/8, the Cougars traveled the snowy road West to Exeter HS to take on the Eagles who placed 3rd in the District 3 Duals. The gym was packed and the tension high for the first round of PIAA duals. East couldn’t find any rhythm and made numerous mental errors which cost them the dual 51-15. When competing against a team as balanced and talented as Exeter, there can be no errors and performances have to be “next-level.” Sadly, the Cougar’s magical run came full circle. The lone winners for East were Lukas Richie (106) and Nik Zimmerman (138) who won by fall, and James Strommer (113) who earned a decision. One of the most notable observations of the evening was the shear passion and volume of the Exeter crowd; there are towns across this great state where wrestling is ingrained in the culture and the fans live and breath their local team. Despite the loss, it was truly awesome to be a part of this event. Next up for the Cougars, a trip to the Chesmont League Championships at WC Rustin! Time to regroup, re-fuel, and begin the chase for Hershey! Good luck boys!
The first weekend of February created more magic for the Downingtown East wrestling team. Once again, District 1 rolled out the red carpet for it’s final 8 teams to compete for a birth in the state duals, and the Cougars showed up committed to the task. East honored it’s seed and captured 3rd place in the duals, solidifying their place as one of the best 20 wrestling teams in the great state of Pennsylvania. On Friday night, they beat a state-quality laden Pennridge 32-28, but fell to Council Rock South 44-21. The next day saw the Cougars defeat Chesmont-American league rival WC Rustin 37-31, and Upper Darby 46-24 in the consolation finals. The weekend was grueling, but the pay-off was large. This ’15-’16 East team is the second team in Chester County history to reach the apex of the PIAA duals; the other team was the ’12-’13 Cougars. Talented freshman Lukas Richie (106) and senior captains Wade Cummings (132) and Jude McDowell (160) went undefeated on the weekend. James Strommer (113), Nik Zimmerman (138), and Alec Horne (170) suffered just one loss during the competition. Hats off to team members such as Jake Neubaum (145) and Jack Clay (152) who didn’t check marks in the win column, but battled every second of every match to stave off ranked opponents and protect team points for the Cougars. Congrats also go out to Wade Cummings for collecting his 100th fall and chiseling another record in the Chester County wrestling history books. The East wrestlers showed tremendous courage and resilience in a challenging District 1 field and now deserve their first round PIAA state dual at Exeter HS on Monday night. Keep it rolling gentlemen, and most importantly, believe in what you’ve done!
Downingtown wrestling’s annual “Battle of the Brandywine” visited Boyer Gymnasium at Downingtown East HS Wednesday night (2/3). Fans from across the community came out to support the boys from East and West, some of whom have been wrestling together since their elementary days with Downingtown Thunder. The crowd cheered as the two local powers, both undefeated in the league, put on a great show of wrestling! By evening’s end, the Cougars won 10 of 14 bouts to secure a 41-18 victory and a 5th consecutive league title. Wade Cummings (132), Josh Wileczek (195), and Owen Morris (220) won by fall while James Strommer (113) and Brent Czajkowski (182) picked up major decisions. The heavyweight battle pitted two long-time Downingtown scrappers against each other in Brendan McGinley and Chad Giles. The two giants went into overtime with McGinley prevailing 3-1; the crowd went into frenzy mode! The East-side JV contingent also finished on top winning 6 of 7 bouts. Jarrett Hansen (120), Stuart Regitz (138), Wayne Salt (152), and Carter Regitz (220) all collected falls. The event also recognized the tremendous efforts of East’s senior wrestlers and their parents. Congratulations and gratitude go out to those athletes and their families and best of luck as they reach for the next level. A big thanks goes out to all of the wrestling fans in this great town, East and West alike, and a hearty “good luck” to all of the athletes as they prepare for an exhilarating post-season.