Ed. Note: This Super 7 ran in the Daily Times’ wrestling preview but was never posted here. New wrestling writer Steve Lienert (@SteveLienert on Twitter) explains his initial Super 7, which was strictly based off of the first week’s results.
Marple Newtown junior two-time All-Delco Jason Rinaldi, seen here wrestling as a freshman, is a big part of a Tigers team that went from No. 1 in the Super 7 to outside the rankings. That did not go over well in the Marple Newtown camp.
TIMES STAFF/ROBERT J. GURECKI
1. Upper Darby
4. Glen Mills
5. Garnet Valley
7. Cardinal O’Hara
I realize the good folks at Marple Newtown may be a tad upset that their team was left out of the initial Super 7, but it’s not without reason.
The Tigers graduated six seniors. Cardinal O’Hara, on the other hand, got senior Matt Spurrier back from a knee injury and Steve Okoorian transferred from Sun Valley. Plus, Marple Newtown didn’t exactly light the world on fire against Penncrest. I’m not saying the Tigers won’t be the better team down the road. I’m just saying that at the time of the initial Super 7, Cardinal O’Hara may be a more complete team.
Furthermore, one could argue that it’s not where you start but how you finish that matters most.
Chichester, despite winning five matches all of last year, cracked the Super 7, much for the same reasons as Cardinal O’Hara. Chichester is vastly improved this season. It will fill every weight class at almost every match. The team has rededicated itself to the program. The Eagles may not be there at the end of the season, but they’re wrestling well and opening some eyes. An early season win over Marple Newtown at the Haverford Duals not only helped Chichester’s cause, it hurt the Tigers’.
Garnet Valley was supposed to be having trouble filling the upper weight classes at matches this season, but coach Rocco Fantazzi has some wrestlers up his sleeve that will improve as the season goes along. For example, junior David Bertone (285) registered a pin in his first varsity bout. If the Jags can develop one or two wrestlers in the upper weight classes, they could be the second-best team in the Central League.
Glen Mills, despite not returning a single varsity wrestler from last year’s team, just keeps winning. However, upon further review, perhaps the Bulls were ranked a little high. The Del Val opener against Academy Park Jan. 9 will be a good measure of how good Glen Mills really is this season.
Ridley won the Academy Park Duals and the Green Raiders are 6-0 to start the season, so their high ranking is deserved, at least at the moment. But as Ridley squares off with Penncrest, Garnet Valley, Marple Newtown and, ultimately, Upper Darby, we will find out what the Green Raiders are made of.
Penncrest, led by All-Delco Joe Gartland, was supposed to be the team to threaten mighty Upper Darby for the Central League crown. The Lions’ loss to Garnet Valley Wednesday was telltale: the gap between the Royals and the rest of the league isn’t as close as it was once thought. Although the loss to the Jags may be just the wake-up call Penncrest needed.
Upper Darby, with two middle schools feeding the high-school program, is the best team in Delco. The Royals, who lost the Central League title on the last match of the year last season, seem motivated not to let that happen again. Individually, Upper Darby has at least five wrestlers with All-Delco potential. It’s tough to imagine the Royals dropping a match in the Central League this year, at least at this point.
Remember, though, it’s not where you start but how you finish that matters most. That’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.
– STEVE LIENERT