After spending the holiday break with successful outings at Beast of the East and the Bethlehem Hurricane Holiday Classic, Saucon Valley Panther wrestling returned home to ring in the New Year with a little Colonial League action and a non-league, Friday night tri-meet.
Four weeks of high school wrestling have passed and Saucon Valley improved to a perfect 6-0 record for the 2018-2019 season. In the Colonial League, Coach Shirk and company are 4-0, so far, and have won an amazing sixty-nine straight. The Panthers continue to pursue an incredible, seventh consecutive Colonial League title.
Last Wednesday night, the Panthers continued their Colonial League dominance with a lopsided victory over rival Southern Lehigh. Of the 14 weight classes against the Spartans, only eleven were actually contested. Saucon Valley won all eleven and picked up bonus points in nine of them. Southern Lehigh gave away two forfeits while the Panthers gave up one.
Freshman Ryan Gilbert was named by Shirk and his staff as “Wrestler of the Match” against Southern Lehigh. Here is a look at Gilbert picking up his first-ever wrestling victory in style!
Saucon Valley welcomed the Delaware Valley Warriors and the Boyertown Bears to Hellertown on Friday for some independent wrestling action. Both Del Val and Boyertown are bigger schools who compete in the PIAA’s 3A classification. Delaware Valley is out of District 2 while Boyertown makes their home in District 1. The Warriors came to town undefeated while the Bears had a 5-1 record. Boyertown’s only stumble was a 43-23 loss to Liberty (Bethlehem) who beat Bethlehem Catholic 32-30 on Friday night.
The Panthers continued their dominant ways against the Warriors with a 49-12 victory. Saucon gathered three pins from Cael Markle (113), Josh Jones (132) and Nick Warnke (285). Jones (18-4), a senior and the 2018 PIAA silver medalist at 126 a year ago, looked sharp registering six takedowns and seven near-fall points before finally decking his opponent. The Panthers picked up six additional points when the Warriors forfeited to Dane Csencsits (195).
Nick Rosengrant also tallied some bonus points as he improved to a 14-5 record with a major-decision against Del Val. Rosengrant led 4-0 after two periods but finished strong to win 12-2.
Chris Arciuolo (106), Kevin Dyer (120), Thomas Spirk (138), Dante Mahaffey (160), Ty Csencsits (170), Jarrett Hirschbeck (182) and Jared Harka (220) all delivered three-point decisions for Saucon.
As a reward for his efforts, Shirk & Staff named freshman Cael Markle as Del Val’s “Wrestler of the Match”. As you see in the following video clip, Markle (11-8) hit an arm-bar for some back points before surviving a brief scramble and finishing with a pin for the Panthers.
Coach’s Quote: “Cael wrestled a great, fundamentally sound match from start to finish. It was great seeing him execute moves that we have been spending a lot of time on. I think Cael should gain a lot of confidence from his recent performances.”
Saucon Valley wrestling coach, Chad Shirk
Saucon Valley followed their success against Del-Val with an intense matchup with the Boyertown Bears. The Panthers won 9 of the 14 bouts and hit bonus points in six different matches. Saucon earned first-period pins from Josh Jones (132), Thomas Spirk (138), Nick Rosengrant (145), Braydyn Lugardo (182) and Nick Warnke (285). Cael Markle (113) never surrendered a point in his 9-0 major-decision.
Panther freshman Chris Arciuolo (106) was named “Wrestler of the Match” for his efforts against Boyertown sophomore Julien Maldonado (15-4). Arciuolo, who owns a 15-3 record, is another of the promising Panther freshmen who seem to be hitting on all cylinders. In the following footage, you will see Arciuolo quickly counter Maldonado and power his way to convert the winning takedown.
“This was one of the best matches Chris wrestled all season. The score didn’t indicate his relentlessness in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the night.”
Saucon Valley wrestling coach, Chad Shirk
Saucon Source “Shout-Out”:
- This week’s Saucon Source Shout-Out goes to Panther coach Chad Shirk. On Friday night, Shirk secured his 300th and 301st career win! Shirk is the all-time winningest wrestling coach in school history.
Up Next: The Panthers take their show on the road for a Wednesday night matchup with the Bangor Slaters (7 p.m.). This is a varsity only match. Bangor owns a 3-1 Colonial League record with wins over Palisades (48-25), Northern Lehigh (58-24) and Palmerton (42-33). The Slaters lone loss was to Wilson (46-27).
Photos courtesy of Chris Christian.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!