Tigers top Bombers
The premium placed on meaningful mat time has always been paramount for wrestling coaches.
That’s never been truer than this season, when programs need to maximize every chance they get.
Northwestern and Palmerton made sure they got the most out of their contest on Friday night.
Though the Tigers took advantage of several forfeits en route to a 50-12 Colonial League victory over the Blue Bombers, the bouts that were contested gave both sides another opportunity to see where they’re at a week into the season.
“I’m glad (Palmerton) Coach (Justin) Petersen approached me before the match and asked if we wanted to match kids up to get our kids the best matches possible for each other,” said Northwestern head coach Jim Moll. “And I said absolutely.
“Quality mat time is hard to come by right now as it is, so when you get your kids matched up with the other team’s better kids that’s always a good thing.”
The Tigers (2-2) won five of the six contested bouts.
Ben Griffith (152) had a pin and Lucas “Buck” Miller (172) won by a technical fall.
Griffith was leading Palmerton’s (0-3) Dennis Lombardi 10-0 at the end of the first period. But Lombardi, a top seed at last year’s District 11 Class 2A tournament, kept fighting and nearly turned the tide.
“Ben started out really tough and dominant on top, but Lombardi came back,” said Moll. “But if that roll that Lombardi hit from bottom ... if Lombardi comes out on top in that scramble, we’re tied in the third period.
“That was an eight-point swing. He went from having almost a reversal to Ben’s back ... Ben fortunately came out on top and got three back points out of it. Ben’s a good scrambler, but that was a close call.”
Griffith got the fall late in the third period (5:48), a victory that gives Griffith something to build on.
“I think myself, and the team included, we’ve made a lot of progress since last year,” said Griffith. “Kids that we lost to last year, we’re going longer with, or even beating them, so I think that’s huge for us.”
Eli Dellicker (138), Mason Brensinger (160) and Dartanyon DeLillo (189) all won by decision for Northwestern.
All three battled to earn their victories.
Dellicker watched a 5-0 lead evaporate in the third period before prevailing 8-5 against Aaron Gardner. Brensinger went the distance and then some, topping Dan Lucykanish 3-1 with a takedown in sudden victory overtime. And DeLillo turned a one-point advantage entering the third period against Jeremy Mooney into a 7-2 victory.
“A lot of this season is kind of mental,” said Miller. “It’s been different, so you’re going to have to have the right mindset for everything you’re doing this year,”
And that mentality is to compete, wherever and whenever possible.
In a season preview article that appeared in the Press recently, Northwestern wrestler Isaiah Johri’s name was mistakenly omitted. Johri is a returning varsity wrestler for the Tigers in 2021.