Ed. note: Please welcome new wrestling writer Steve Lienert to the beat. He can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @SteveLienert.
Interboro All-Delco heavyweight Matt Gould, seen here wrestling Glen Mills’ Derrick Carter a year ago, was just one of the many Bucs getting into the annual tradition of sporting bleached-blonde mohawks.
TIMES STAFF/ROBERT J. GURECKI
Here’s the story on how Ridley’s Mike Houlihan came through with a big win for a big Green Raiders win at the Knight Duals Saturday.
Chichester’s big day
Ridley’s win at the Knight Duals Saturday was overshadowed a bit when news broke that Chichester’s wrestling team not only knocked off Marple Newtown, it won the Haverford Duals on point differential.
The Eagles won a total of five matches all of last year, but they were forfeiting 12-18 points per match because they didn’t have enough wrestlers to fill all the weight classes.
According to coach Jim Beletti, the team went out and actively recruited students to wrestle while simultaneously rededicating themselves to the program.
“We convinced the team to believe in the system,” Beletti said. “It showed this weekend. The kids committed to getting better. We finally got kids to believe in putting in time in the weight room.”
It’s produced almost instant results. They went 4-1 at Haverford and, individually, team captain Nick Mattero went undefeated in five matches, including an overtime win. Barring injury, Chichester could be a force to reckon with in the Del Val this season.
Fear the Mohawk
Most, if not all, of Interboro’s wrestlers showed up at the Knight Duals with new haircuts. Bleached-blonde Mohawks to be exact.
According to All-Delco heavyweight Matt Gould, it happened at a team-bonding event Thursday night. He also thinks it fires the Bucs up.
“I think it shows we’re not scared of anyone,” Gould said. “We’ll wrestle anyone, anytime.”
Interboro coach Dan Tobin said it’s something the Bucs do every year. And each year, he just shakes his head.
“I don’t condone that,” Tobin said. “It doesn’t surprise me. It is what it is. That’s what they do. They’re kids.”
Central League Milestones
The Green Raiders’ five wins at the Knights Duals pushed Ridley coach Carl Schnellenbach’s all-time career wins to 731. Schnellenbach, who is in his 51st year, also said he wasn’t sure if he would be back for a 52nd season.
Despite his team’s two losses at the Haverford Duals, Marple Newtown senior and two-time All-Delco Ryan Flynn (120-pound weight class) notched career win No. 100 Saturday.
– STEVE LIENERT