Eagles set to battle Comets for first place

By on January 11, 2017
Cocalico’s Max Martin (top) scores during a recent match with Solanco. Martin and the Eagles face Penn Manor Wednesday night in a huge Section one showdown. Photos by Denise Mitchell

Cocalico’s Max Martin (top) scores during a recent match with Solanco. Martin and the Eagles face Penn Manor Wednesday night in a huge Section one showdown. Photos by Denise Mitchell

After winning its first Section Two title under Coach Matt Fittery a year ago, the Cocalico wrestling team elected to move up to Section One in order to face the bigger schools and consistently better competition.

Most saw this as a risky move but Fittery saw it as an opportunity to grow his still young team.

“To me wrestling is wrestling, so the fact that we are going up to Section One and getting some tougher competition doesn’t really mean we have to change what we are doing,” he said Tuesday. “We are going to train to beat the best competition, and if we have some tough matches along the way, that is just going to help us get better.”

One of those such matches is on tap Wednesday (7 p.m.) as Fittery’s 3-0 Eagles are set to host fellow unbeaten Penn Manor (4-0) in a match that will likely determine the eventual Section One champion.

Cocalico “warmed up” for the Comets this past weekend at the Hamburg Duals where the Eagles went 3-2 on the day.

The coach will be looking for a better showing Wednesday with a possible section title on the line.

“Penn Manor is a tough team so we will need a total team effort,” Fittery said. “We will have to learn to gut out the close ones and win the tight matches. We didn’t do that at the Hamburg Duals so we will have to make some adjustments.”

Speaking of the Hamburg Duals, the Eagles earned decisive wins over Upper Perkiomen (60-10), Neshaminy (57-18) and Berlin-Brothersvalley (66-16) but wrestled below Fittery’s expectations in losses to Pottsville (42-27) and Governor Mifflin (35-29).

“At Hamburg we lost two duals that we potentially could have won, so that is a little frustrating,” he said. “We lost a lot of toss-up matches and even got pinned in some of those, so that makes it tough to come out with a win. The positive is that we know we are right there with those teams, but it is a tough way to lose.”

Two wrestlers who did shine for Cocalico were juniors Nate Fritz and Ben Fromm, who both went a perfect 5-0 on the day. Fritz (132) was most impressive, collecting five, first-period falls while Fromm (195-220) had four pins and a forfeit win.

“Nate and Ben both have been wrestling great and continued that on Saturday,” Fittery said. “Fromm probably had his best match of the year when he bumped up to 220 against Upper Perk and beat a returning state qualifier (Mike Modugno).”

Seth Fritz (106), Kayde Althouse (113-120) and Devin Sensenig (160) also performed well as all three went 4-1 in the tournament.

Last Wednesday, Cocalico drilled Manheim Township, 75-6 in its lone Section One match of the week.

The Eagles picked up pins from Seth Fritz (106), Josiah Gehr (113), Nate Fritz (132), Max Martin (152) and Wyatt Gehman (182) to key the impressive victory.

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