Eagles Take Thriller Over South Western in District Team Duals

HANOVER, PA - For the Exeter Eagles, it was business as usual - or what has become so, of late. Making their second consecutive appearance in the District III Team Duals Tournament, the #5 seed Eagles faced the #12 seed Eastern Lebanon County (ELCO) in Tuesday's preliminary round of the tournament. With several wrestlers "under the weather" and the team unable to practice for the better part of the previous week due to weather and competitions, the ELCO matchup was just what the doctor ordered. Starting off at 126, the Eagles came out firing with a technical fall from Trey Harkness, followed by a decision from Tyler Bagoly at 132 and a second-period fall from Sophomore Tyler Borton at 138. ELCO stopped the bleeding, briefly, at 145, where two big moves cost Tyler Harkness an 11-8 decision. Ethan Stever got those points back, and then some, with a first period fall at 152. John Harrell got into an upper-body brawl, but came out on the losing end at 160. Freshman Denny Karas teamed up with Junior Scott Schaeffer for back-to-back falls at 170 and 182, respectively. Nolan Buck, was less than 100% in his bout, dropping a 4-1 decision. Jon Greenleaf and Oscar Daniels took victories by decision and fall, respectively, before ELCO surrendered 3 consecutive forfeits for a 59-12 Eagles win.

Then, things got interesting. South Western came out firing in the District III quarterfinal, with a quick fall over Exeter Freshman Matt Ward. Tyler Bagoly posted a solid 11-4 decision, 1-point shy of a major to bring the Eagles back within 3 points. Borton surrendered a major decision at 145, and Tyler Harkness was out-gunned versus a state-ranked opponent at 152, putting the Eagles behind by a score of 16-3. Stever chased his opponent for 6-minutes, racking up points, but ultimately not being able to secure much needed additional bonus points at 160, with a lopsided 18-6 major decision, leaving the eagles down 16-7. Karas and Schaeffer brought the Eagles back to even, as Karas held on for a 3-1 decision, and Schaeffer made quick work of his opponent with a 52-second fall. Buck, again came up short, as his opponent avenged an earlier season loss by fall with a last-second controversial reversal call for 2-points and a 5-4 decision. Jon Greenleaf ran into familiar foe, Seth Janney, ranked #3 in the state. Greenleaf fought tough early, but eventually succumbed, by fall. The Eagles now found themselves in a 9-point hole, trailing 25-16. Oscar Daniels came through with a tough decision, which was quickly offset by a South Western decision over Ryan Watts at 106. Watts closed the gap in this rematch, showing steady improvement.

Austin Desanto stepped on the mat battling a serious cold. His high-octane offense still could not be stopped as he repeated his earlier meeting with South Western posting a 19-4 technical fall in the second period. Fireworks were brewing for a rematch of a 3-2 decision that favored Exeter's Brett Kulp, a 5th place PIAA medalist in 2014. With 6-minutes not enough time to decide this one... nor 7-minutes... nope, not even 8, Kulp came out victorious in the Ultimate Tie-Breaker with a 2-1 decision in overtime to set the stage for Trey Harkness' winner-take-all finale at 126. Harkness came out firing, scoring a quick takedown, but was unable to secure what appeared to be near fall points. First period went to Harkness with a narrow 2-1 edge, after surrendering a late-period escape. The second period got scary, when Harkness was tilted for 2 near fall points early on. Knotted at 3-3, Harkness worked to his feet, scored an escape, and a takedown to head into the third period up 5-3. Riding tough in the third, Harkness was unable to secure any insurance points, and mid-way through was hit with a "Peterson-roll" for a 2-point reversal. He quickly regained focus, and worked immediately for an escape. The final minute saw Harkness hand fighting the opponent and holding off any scoring threat, posting a 6-5 victory, and a 30-28 Eagles win. The Eagles are back in action, with another rematch, in the semifinals versus Cumberland Valley on Thursday at 5:30 PM. The match will be held at Spring Grove Area High School. The Eagles are one win away from their second trip to the state tournament in as many years.

Exeter comes up short in County Championship

WYOMISSING, PA - The varsity wrestling team defeated Wilson in the semi-finals of the county tournament by a score of 61-7, a better score than the day before. Everyone in Berks County was aware that this season was a two horse race, between Exeter and Governor Mifflin. Although Exeter won the regular season dual just a few weeks earlier, Mifflin was able to win a few key matches and defeat the Eagles in the county final 35-25, preventing Exeter from winning it's first ever county championship. Both teams will be competing in the District III team tournament that start Tuesday, January 27th. Sites and times are TBD.

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Exeter beats Wilson to win Berks I Wrestling Title

WEST LAWN, PA - The varsity wrestling team defeated Wilson last night by a score of 58-13. Exeter won 7 of the 10 contested bouts en route to their first Division I title since 2006. Next up for the Eagles is the BCIAA Team Tournament at Wyomissing this Friday. Exeter has a bye in the first round, wrestling in the semi-finals slated to start at 5:45 followed by the finals at 8:00pm.

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Exeter Finishes 8th at Escape the Rock: DeSanto brings home his first belt

HOLLAND, PA - The high school wrestling program has come a long way in recent years, and the schedule reflects that. This year marked Exeter's first visit to Council Rock South High School and the highly acclaimed Flo National Event, "Escape The Rock" - a tournament loaded with nationally ranked wrestlers and state medalists from across the country.

The two day event started "business as usual" for the Eagles, who entered 12 wrestlers in the tournament. 8 of 12 wrestlers advanced to the second round in the winners bracket. However, the next round saw many unfavorable matchups, as Exeter went head-to-head with many of the # 1 and # 2 seeds in the tournament. Only four wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals - Austin Desanto (113), Brett Kulp (120), Ethan Stever (152) and Scott Schaeffer (182) - while "Trey" Harkness (126), Ty Bagoly (132) and Denny Karas (170) fell to either the one or two-seed in their bracket. Oscar Daniels dropped a close 1-0 decision to Cumberland Valley's Stanford in his preliminary round bout.

In the consolations, the tournament proved its depth of talent as Bagoly and Harkness dropped a pair of 2-point decisions to be eliminated, while Nolan Buck (195) picked up a fall in the first round of the consolations, but was eliminated by decision in the second round. Overall, 7 wrestlers survived day one at Escape the rock with only Kulp and Desanto still in the hunt for a title. Kulp, the #2 seed, advanced to the semifinals with a first round bye, a 10-0 major decision, and a 3-2 last second win in the quarterfinals. Desanto, the #5 seed, scored a first-period technical fall, followed by a 5-3 win over a state ranked opponent, and a come from behind 19-8 major decision of the # 3 ranked wrestler in the state (at 120 lbs.). Both Desanto and Kulp faced familiar opponents in the semifinals against Moran (2014 State Runner-up) and Gulotta (2014 4th in State), respectively, on Sunday morning.

Day 2 got underway with two rounds of consolations. Ethan Stever (152) found himself in the consis after a surrendering a late-match takedown in the quarterfinals to lose 3-2. He once again found it tough to finish, dropping a 6-5 decision to Northampton's Moisey, being eliminated from the tournament. Denny Karas used a 1-0 decision and a win by fall to advance through the consolations, before dropping a decision, one win short of placing in the top 8. Heavyweight Oscar Daniels advanced in similar fashion, picking up a fall and a 3-2 decision before also falling in the "round of 12", one win short of placing in the top 8. Jon Greenleaf (220) received a bye before picking up a fall, and ultimately being eliminated by decision.

Scott Schaeffer advanced to the placing round with a 16-4 major decision, where he was then bounced to the 7th place bout by the same fate. In the 7th place bout, Schaeffer showed more intensity than his opponent, falling behind early, by hitting a dump early in the second period, and finishing his opponent off with a pin at 1:49 taking 7th place overall.

Austin DeSanto
Austin DeSanto with his championship belt.

Kulp went toe-to-toe with Derek Gulotta of OJR, an opponent he defeated in OT at the Conestoga Valley Christmas Tournament a few weeks earlier. Kulp remained undefeated on the season with another OT win over Gulotta winning 2-1 in the second overtime. Kulp advanced to the finals against 2014 AA State Champion Reigel from Bethlehem Catholic. Kulp and Reigel kept the crowd on their feet as the match came down to the last second, where Kulp came up just short on a takedown attempt, dropping his first match of the season by a score of 2-1.

Desanto headed into the semis with two victories over state-ranked opponents in 3 tournament matches. He continued his streak by defeating Northampton's Danny Moran in the ultimate rideout for a 5-4 decision, securing his spot in the finals. His opponent would be 2014 National Prep Champion Joey Prata from St. Christopher's (VA). Desanto wouldn't be stopped, working intensely on his feet for takedowns, and eventually securing 3 near fall points en route to a decisive 8-3 championship decision in one of the tournaments deepest brackets.

As a team, Exeter placed 8th out of 42. While the team accolades were nice, the goal of the tournament was achieved in getting the team ready for post-season competition. The wrestlers all came out of the tournament - win or lose - with objectives to focus on in the coming weeks to make a post-season run to Hershey.

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Exeter Finishes Second at BCIAA Individual Tournament: Kulp wins 100th

READING, PA - The Exeter Varsity wrestling team has set some lofty goals this season. Finishing second at the county tournament wasn't one of them. To say that their performance was a disappointment would be misleading. While the team was content with their overall performance that resulted in a runner-up finish to county foe Governor Mifflin, the realization of some missed opportunity lurked in the shadows. Exeter placed 12 of 14 wrestlers in the top six in the county, led by first place finishes from Ethan Stever (3-0 @152), Brett Kulp (3-0 @120), Austin Desanto (3-0 @113), and Scott Schaffer (3-0 @182). Runner-up performances were delivered by Ty Bagoly (2-1 @132), Jon Greenleaf (3-1 @220), and James "Trey" Harkness (2-1 @126).

Scott Schaeffer
Scott Schaeffer atop the 182lb. podium.
Brett Kulp
Kulp on the podium
after his 100th win.

Starting out at 106, Sophomore Ryan Watts made the semifinals before dropping a decision. He battled back with a consi-semi win, and a decisive consolation final decision to finish a solid third in the county. At 113 pounds, it was business as usual for Sophomore Austin DeSanto who continued his domination in Berks County with two technical falls and a pin to win his first county title. Junior Brett Kulp used a quick five points in the finals, after two earlier falls, to win his second county title and 100th career victory with a dominating performance over state-ranked Sean Stanish of Hamburg in the finals. Trey Harkness dropped a close decision, 1-0, in the final to the 2014 sectional champion Aaron Wildonger (Twin Valley) in the finals. Harkness will look to avenge that loss this Wednesday when the Eagles take on Twin Valley on the road. Ty Bagoly lived up to his second seed and was convincing on his run to the finals, where he dropped a 6-0 decision to State Runner-up Josh Giorgio for 2nd place.

Tyler Borton came into the tournament with 4 wins, and found his groove, nearly doubling his season win total with 3 county tournament wins on his way to a 4th place finish. Ethan Stever struggled offensively in the tournament, but overcame a severe cut above his right eye - which required 5 stitches after the semis, battling to a 1-0 victory over Wilson's Tommy O'brien in the final for his 2nd county championship. At 170 pounds, Freshman Denny Karas continued his workman-like run with a run to the semifinals which ended with a 4-3 loss to eventual runner-up Shawn Kilhefner of Wyomissing. Karas suffered a setback in the consi-semis to Dylan Harr of Governor Mifflin - who he defeated 3 days earlier in the dual meet - and ended the tournament on a high note with a second period pin in the 5th place bout. Junior Scott Schaeffer used a takedown as time expired in the semifinal to advance to the county final rematch against Boone's Brendan Valverde, who Schaeffer dropped a decision to in the dual meet in December. Schaeffer used solid counter offense on his feet to score takedown after takedown to avenge the loss and bring home his first county gold.

Nolan Buck continued to show intensity on the mat after dropping into the consolation bracket after day one of the tournament. Buck battled back to take 5th place in a dominating performance over second-seed Joabby McMinn of Muhlenberg. Jon Greenleaf made his presence known immediately. After an opening round win, Greenleaf knocked off the second-seed in the quarterfinals to set up a matchup with the third seed from Conrad Weiser. Greenleaf used late match heroics to advance to the final where he saw his road to gold end short against Reading's Matt Rheinart. At heavyweight, Oscar Daniels came up with a 6th place finish. Daniels dropped his semi matchup to eventual two-time champion Keith Miller of Governor Mifflin. Daniels found himself in a matchup against 2014 runner-up Rob Dunbar of Wyomissing, and dropped an overtime decision. Daniels continued extra work in the fifth place bout, coming up short in overtime once again for a sixth place finish. The team outlook hasn't changed, with their focus on the post-season still dialed in. The team visits Twin Valley on Wednesday @ 6:30 before heading to the prestigious Escape The Rock tournament on January 17th and 18th.

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Exeter uses a fast start to beat Mifflin

SHILLINGTON, PA - The varsity wrestling team defeated a strong Governor Mifflin team last night by a score of 36-33. With a packed house at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School, both teams knew the importance of this match. James Harkness, Tyler Bagoly, and Dennis Karas all won pivotal close decisions, and Austin DeSanto, Brett Kulp, Ethan Stever, Scott Schaeffer, and Jon Greenleaf were all able to secure bonus points, helping the Eagles gain sole posession of 1st place in Division I Berks. Next up for the Eagles is the BCIAA Individual tournament at the Geigle in Reading this Friday and Saturday.

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Exeter High School Wrestlers Grind Out 3-2 Record at CV Winter Duals

MECHANICSBURG, PA - The Exeter Senior High Wrestling Team knew they were in for a battle at the Cumberland Valley Winter Duals on January 3rd. Heading into the competition, the team was predominantly healthy, which gave them a fighting chance in their opening round dual versus defending District III Team Champion, and host, Cumberland Valley. Exeter jumped out to a quick lead with wins by Desanto, Kulp, Bagoly, and Stever. More importantly, the team was kept in the match due to tough performances by Freshmen Matt Ward and Denny Karas, as well as Tyler Borton. All three matched up against CV studs, but limited bonus points. Ultimately, CV proved to be too much, and Exeter fell by a score of 37-22, CV's closest dual of the day.

2nd Place Cumberland Valley
The Eagles with their 2nd place team plaque.
Austin DeSanto
DeSanto with his OW plaque.

Round 2 the team met Manheim Central, who proved to be no match for Exeter. Exeter handled the Barons easily with a 51-14 victory. The third round things got a little tense when matched up with Erie McDowell, as Junior James "Trey" Harkness had a nice lead to open the dual, but was caught in a cradle midway through the third period which resulted in a 9-point swing in the team scoring. The team remained composed, and continued to grind out tough win after tough win to ultimately come out on top with a 32-26 win. The big moment of the meet came when Sophomore Austin Desanto went head to head with McDowell's Charlie Lenox, currently ranked # 2 in the state. Desanto proved to be the aggressor the entire match, and his efforts were rewarded with 30-seconds left in the final period when he scored the match's only takedown for a 2-1 victory.

Round 4, things couldn't have been any closer. The match went back and forth, and came down to the lighter weights on the home stretch where a technical fall by Desanto was followed by a fall from Brett Kulp, ultimately tying the dual at 34-34. After discussions at the table, Parkland was awarded the decisive point on Criteria E - most 6-point decisions (falls, forfeits, defaults, etc.) by a 4-3 margin.

The final round looked to be another nail-biter as Exeter faced District III foe South Western. It seems the Exeter wrestlers just had more in the tank at the end of the day. The match started out close, but in the end, Exeter distanced themselves by a score of 38-24, which included giving South Western a forfeit in the final bout. Desanto, Kulp , Ethan Stever and Oscar Daniels finished the day with unblemished records, going 5-0, 5-0, 4-0 and 5-0, respectively. Close behind were Scott Schaeffer, Nolan Buck, and Trey Harkness with 4-1 records. Harkness and Tyler Bagoly were instrumental in the team's performance, often competing at a weight above their normal competing weight.

With 3 teams (South Western, Parkland, and Exeter) tied with records of 3-2 on the day, the tie-breaker came down to most team points scored. Exeter came out on top and finished in second place behind Cumberland Valley. To cap off a solid performance, Austin Desanto was awarded the tournament's "Outstanding Wrestler" plaque. This is the second time in two weeks an Exeter wrestler has been recognized as the competitions OW (Brett Kulp @ Conestoga Valley). The team is back in action against Berks County foe Governor Mifflin on January 7 @ 6:30 PM at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. Come on out and support the team!

Junior High continues success through the Holidays

2nd Place Schuylkill Valley Tourn
The JH team with their 2nd place trophy.

Exeter Junior High wrestlers Place second overall out of 17 teams at the Eric Koller Memorial individual Tournament at Schuylkill Valley High School falling just short of first place behind a very strong Cocalico squad. The JH Eagles were led by Captains Dave Jones (1st @ 155) and Gage Moran (1st @ 122). The Exeter JH had 6 kids in the finals 2 first place finishers, 4 second place finishers led by Jacob Steward, and Jimmy Cortes, one 3rd place Kevin Hodgson, two 4th place, two 5th place, and one 6th place. Great effort in a highly competitive tournament.

The Exeter Junior High wrestling competed over the holiday break at the inaugural team duals tournament placing second overall. The team went undefeated in their pool against North Penn, Wissahickon, Boyertown West, and Perkiomen Valley before falling in the finals against Methacton 42 – 46. Great job boys!