Kulp, Harkness, Schaeffer, Bagoly, and Karas earn PWCA All-Academic Honors

The PWCA (Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association) awards All-Academic Honors to wrestlers at the end of each season based on their Cumulative GPA on a 4 point scale and their season and career accomplishments. To qualify, a wrestler must have a season winning percentage of .600 or better and be a sophomore, junior, or senior. James Harkness earned 1st team honors with a 3.96 GPA. Brett Kulp (3.80 GPA), Scott Schaeffer (3.80 GPA), and Tyler Bagoly (3.70 GPA) earned 2nd team honors, and Dennis Karas. earned 3rd team honors with a 3.60 GPA. Congratulations to all 5 wrestlers for setting a great example of what it means to be a student-athlete. You can click on the link below for the full 2016 PWCA All-Academic Team.

• Click Here for the PWCA All-Academic Team

Exeter Wrestlers Return Home With 2 Medals

HERSHEY, PA - The end of the road was inevitable. The final tournament of the season was held this past weekend in Hershey's Giant Center. Up for grabs was the Holy Grail of high school wrestling, a PIAA AAA State Championship. Returning to the State mats for the Eagles were 2x PIAA Medalist Brett Kulp (132, SR) and returning medalist Austin Desanto (120, JR). Making their first appearance at Hershey were Denny Karas (195, SO) and Oscar Daniels (285, JR).

Desanto on the PIAA AAA Podium

Desanto entered the tournament as one of only a handful of undefeated wrestlers in the state. Dominating his way through opponents throughout the season, he brought a 47-0 record to the show. Desanto continued to be untested through the first three rounds, pushing his record to 50-0 by way of two technical falls and a major decision on his way to becoming Exeter Wrestling's first ever PIAA AAA State Finalist. Desanto, in the final, was faced with a task only he would look forward to - a meeting with 2x PIAA Champion and Junior World Champion Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional. Lee, undefeated throughout his high school career, came into the tournament as a heavy favorite, and not even Desanto's continuous all-out attack-style offense could slow him down. Desanto dropped a 15-0 technical fall to Lee, but gained a lot of respect from his opponents, and fans alike.

Kulp on the PIAA AAA Podium

Kulp entered the tournament with a handful of losses - all to state-ranked competitors. With everyone expecting Kulp to come away from the tournament as the most decorated PIAA State Medalist in Exeter Wrestling's history - with a total of 3 state medals - no one really expected his path to be the one he took. Kulp opened up slowly, shocking the arena by dropping into the consolation bracket in the first round. Returning to the tournament with a 5th (2014) and 4th (2015) place finish, Kulp was hoping to improve upon his past finishes with a top 3. Despite dropping the first match, Kulp battled back to find himself in position to finish 3rd, in the consolation finals. Again, Kulp struggled to score and dropped a 2-0 decision to Hempfield's Luke Kemmerer.

Oscar Daniels and Denny Karas got their feet wet at the tournament. Each won a match, and came up just one win short of a State Medal. Daniels was eliminated with an OT loss, and Karas saw his season come to an end by surrendering the lead with 30 seconds remaining. With the season over, looking back the Eagles posted the most successful season in team history. Three seniors will be lost to graduation - Kulp, Trey Harkness (126) and Scott Schaeffer (170/182). Those three account for nearly 400 career wins and will be sorely missed; however, the outlook is bright with a solid class of juniors ready to step into leadership roles. #workday

Exeter Leads Berks Charge, Advances 4 To PIAA State Tournament

4 state qualifiers
Exeter's 4 State Qualifiers

HERSHEY, PA - The Eagles continued their post-season run with relative success. Hoping to build on last year's four PIAA qualifiers, the Exeter wrestlers came up short of their expectations, but managed to equal the success from last season. Led by returning state medalists Brett Kulp (132, SR) and Austin Desanto (120, JR), the Eagles placed third overall in the District III individual tournament. Joining Desanto and Kulp on the podium, advancing to their first state tournament, were Denny Karas (195, SO) and Oscar Daniels (285, JR).

Desanto claimed his second District III title with a dominating 13-6 performance in the finals over previously unbeaten Zurich Storm of New Oxford. Storm, ranked 4th in the state, was unable to answer Desanto's relentless pressure. Caught for a 5-point move midway through the first, it proved to be an insurmountable lead as Desanto remained unbeaten on the season.

Kulp advanced to his 3rd consecutive District III final, and claimed his second title. Kulp opened with a fall in the first round, but was slowed moving forward, posting consecutive 1-0 shutouts to advance to the final. In the finale, Kulp squared off with Central Dauphin's Andrew Wert. Late in the third period, Kulp found himself on the short end of a 1-0 margin; however, with about 12 seconds remaining Kulp scrambled for a reversal and posted another 1-point victory as the score read 2-1 with final seconds ticking off.

Karas was dominant on his way to the semifinals where he met up with favorite Bryce Shields of Dallastown. Karas struck first with a takedown, but sloppy wrestling led him into a cradle, and a 5-point move for Shields. Karas continued to trudge forward, ultimately turning Shields for 4-points of his own. Karas advanced to the final with an 8-7 victory, and a matchup with undefeated Jesse Kann of Penn Manor. Karas seemed to have things under control, but once again allowed points to slip away. Ultimately, Karas saw his run to a championship cut short by a 7-5 margin.

Daniels, like Karas, came in as the # 3 seed in his bracket. Daniels marched his way to the finals to meat up with Northeastern's Blaine Yinger. Scoring the first takedown, Daniels took a 2-1 lead into the second period. After trading some points, the match was tied at the end of regulation. Daniels continued to attack, but it was Yinger that claimed the sudden victory takedown to claim the District III title. Senior Trey Harkness came up short of a return trip to the state tournament. Wrestling tough while battling through injuries, Harkness came up a win or two short of advancing to the big show.

scholarship for books
Kulp, Harkness, Schaeffer with Scholarships

In addition to sending 4 wrestlers to the PIAA AAA Tournament, seniors Brett Kulp, James Harkness, and Scott Schaeffer were awarded a "Scholarship for Books" from the District III Coaches Association based on their academic performance. The awards are given to seniors who qualify for the District III Tournament with the highest GPA. This is the first year in school history that three wrestlers have been awarded this scholarship and is a great showing of the types of young men they are.

Exeter's wrestlers were joined by 7 others from Berks County qualifying for the State Tournament. Wrestling will begin with the first round Thursday, March 10 at the Giant Center in Hershey. #workday

• Click Here for the PIAA AAA Tournament Schedule
• Click Here for the AAA Brackets
• Click Here for Live Updates

Eagles Dominate Section IV Tournament, Advance 10

SHILLINGTON, PA - While it seems that the post-season has been going on for an eternity for the Exeter Eagles, the individual post-season has just begun. After a very successful run through the team tournament that saw the Eagles win their first ever state dual meet, it was back to square one on Saturday at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School for the District III Section IV tournament. The Eagles were ready.

Sectional Team 1st
The team after their first Sectional Championship in 10 years.

At this point of the season, it's a "win or go home" mentality. Wrestling is described - accurately - as a grind. Day in and day out, athletes head to the mats to sharpen their skills, build strength, and improve conditioning and endurance. While many of the kids have bumps and bruises, the simple fact of this sport is that no one is 100% at this point of the season. The grind takes its toll. However, whatever wounds the Eagles were wrestling with, they weren't enough to slow this train down. The Eagles advanced ten of fourteen wrestlers to the tournament finals, winning a total of 6 titles. Two more wrestlers competed for their post-season future in the consolation finals going for 3rd place - with only the top 3 finishers guaranteed a spot in this coming weekends District III tournament at Hershey Park Arena.

Desanto vs Miller
Desanto competing in his finals match.

Winning titles for the Eagles were Ryan Watts (113, JR), Austin Desanto (120, JR), Brett Kulp (132, SR), Tyler Bagoly (152, JR), Denny Karas (195, SO), and Oscar Daniels (285, JR). Watts, a winner by a 2-1 decision in the finals advanced to the final with a win over top-seeded Mason Bennett of Twin Valley. In the final, he upended Samuel Zummo of Daniel Boone. Austin Desanto remained undefeated, and untested, posting two technical falls and a first-period pin to capture his third sectional title. Brett Kulp, feeling a bit under the weather, seemed to slow as the day went on; however, no sickness was going to prevent Kulp from becoming Exeter's first 4x Sectional Champion. Kulp powered through in workmanlike fashion using a fall and two decisions, each by a 5-2 margin. Tyler Bagoly had what some saw as the deepest weight class in the tournament. Coming in as the #2 seed, Bagoly followed his first round pin with a slick 10-5 win before running up a dominant 7-1 margin of victory over county champion Keaton Eidle from Wilson.

Watts vs Zummo
Watts in on a takedown during the finals.

All season, 195 has come down to two wrestlers in Berks County. Governor Mifflin's Dylan Harr and our own Denny Karas. Harr got the better of Karas in the dual meet; however, change of strategy saw Karas turn the tables on Harr in the county finals. Karas employed the same strategy from the county tournament to post a 6-1 victory for his first sectional title, and put an end to the county-wide debate as to who is number one in his weight class. Oscar Daniels looked more like a lightweight than a heavyweight in the finals, putting on a takedown clinic en route to a 7-3 championship victory. Coming up just short in the finals were defending champions Trey Harkness (126, SR) and Scott Schaeffer (170, SR), along with Nolan Buck (182, JR) and Jon Greenleaf (220, JR). All ten will advance to next week's District III Championships where a Top 5 finish advances them to the premiere state wrestling tournament in the country.

Coming up just short for the Eagles were Tyler Harkness (145, JR) and John Harrell (160, SO). Each battled for every point, and will now serve as tournament alternates - should one of the three place winners not be able to compete. Wrestling at the District III Tournament will begin on Friday at 3:15pm. #WORKDAY

• Click Here for the District III/SC Regional Schedule
• Click Here for the AAA Bracket

Dual Season Hits End Of The Road, On To Individuals

HERSHEY, PA - The record-setting run of the 2016 Exeter Eagles wrestling team came to an uneventful end in Hershey at the PIAA AAA Team State Tournament. The Eagles, advancing to Hershey for the first time, received an unfriendly draw in the preliminary round. The Eagles were matched up with second ranked Belle Vernon Area (ranked # 10 nationally).

bagoly 100 wins

The match started out business as usual with Austin Desanto (120, JR) winning by technical fall in the first period. However, from that point forward, highlights were hard to find. Belle Vernon ran off four straight wins before Ty Bagoly (152, JR) claimed his 100th career victory with a fall over 8th ranked Jared Verkleeren. Bagoly found himself in a 5-0 hole at the start of the second period, after being caught in a bottom leg cradle early in the first period. Bagoly worked for an escape and Verkleeren was back in on a leg. This time, Bagoly came over the top, locking up a spladle and decking Verkleeren to hit the century mark at 3:29. Belle Vernon would go on another three match run before Denny Karas (195, SO) won by fall at 3:46. Exeter, a little banged up from the grind of the season, elected to hold out starters Trey Harkness (126, SR), Scott Schaeffer (170, SR) and Nolan Buck (182, JR). Winning only 3 of 14 bouts, the Eagles were bounced to the consolation bracket by a score of 57-17.

Schaeffer vs Erie
Schaeffer working for the pin against Erie.

The following day, the Eagles squared off against Erie Cathedral Prep. A different opponent provided a similar outcome. The Eagles took 4 of 14 bouts from Prep en route to a 44-24 loss. Winning for the Eagles by fall were Brett Kulp (132, SR), Ty Bagoly (152, JR) and Scott Schaeffer (170, SR). In the final bout of the contest, Austin Desanto (120, JR) received a forfeit to remain undefeated on the season. All in all it was a fun ride for the team, reaching heights never seen before by an Exeter wrestling team. Qualifying for the state tournament 3 consecutive years establishes a new level of expectations for the years to come. The Eagles will now focus on individual success as they head into the post-season gauntlet of tournaments. The first stop will be the District III Section IV tournament held Saturday, February 20 at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. The top three finishers in each weight class will advance to the following week's District III tournament at Hershey Park Arena.