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Blair Academy has dominating performance at National Preps

With a dominating performance at the National Prep Championships this past weekend on the campus of Lehigh University, No. 1 Blair Academy (N.J.) made a compelling closing argument to retain its position atop the national rankings when the final rankings are done in a couple of weeks. Seven wrestlers won their weight class in a tournament field that featured three other nationally ranked teams: No. 2 Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), No. 23 Malvern Prep (Pa.), and No. 49 Good Counsel (Md.)

Blair Academy (Photo/Juan Garcia)
Epitomizing the type of tournament, it was for Blair Academy was the out of his mind performance from sophomore Andrew Merola to win the 145-pound weight class. In the quarterfinal, he beat tournament favorite Eric Hong (Kiski Prep, Pa.) 2-1 in the ultimate tiebreaker; Hong is ranked No. 6 nationally. Then after surviving a semifinal bout against now three-time National Prep placer Sam Martino (McDonogh, Md.), 2-1 in the tiebreaker, it was a 4-3 tiebreaker victory in the championship over No. 18 Leonard Merkin (Poly Prep, N.Y.)

Six other Buccaneers grapplers won their weight class: No. 13 Michael Colaiocco at 106 pounds, No. 13 Chris Cannon at 113, No. 8 Requir van der Merwe at 132, No. 14 Ryan Karoly at 160, No. 5 Brandon Dallavia at 170, and No. 3 Chase Singletary at 195. Singletary scored a 3-2 championship match victory over No. 1 Nick Reenan (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.), a second victory over Reenan this season.

Another close match dagger to the Wyoming Seminary heart came in the 220-pound semifinal where Nick Mosco beat No. 16 Will Hilliard 3-2; Mosco would lose in the final, but Hilliard would lose his consolation semi and finish in fifth. Joining Mosco as runners-up were Zach Sherman at 126 and Neil Putnam at 285; Putnam had a key 2-1 tiebreaker victory over Beast of the East champion Mansur Abdul-Malik (St. Vincent Pallotti, Md.) in the semifinal. Other Blair Academy placers were Mike Madara taking fifth at 120, John Manning earning sixth at 152, and Shane Brackup taking eighth at 285.

Wyoming Seminary, with its four champions and 288 points, were second to the 322 points of Blair Academy. The Blue Knights placed 12 overall wrestlers in the tournament, led by championships won by No. 17 Jack Davis at 120 pounds, Patrick Munn at 138, No. 1 Mason Manville at 152, and re-classified senior Michael Rogers at 285. Joining Reenan as runners-up were Benny Baker at 113, Trent Olson at 132, and No. 12 Christian Dietrich at 182. Joining Hilliard in fifth were Justin Hoyle at 106 and Jake Riegel at 126; while Will Verallis placed sixth at 160, losing all three of his matches by two points or less.

Seth Janney (Photo/Juan Garcia)
Third place in the tournament was earned by Malvern Prep, who placed nine wrestlers to score 197 points. The Friars were led by weight class championships from No. 9 Michael Beard at 182 and No. 15 Seth Janney at 220; Beard beat Dietrich by a 3-0 score in the final. Shane Hanson-Ashworth was runner-up at 106 pounds, while third place finishes were earned by Nick Lattanze at 126, Matt Lattanze at 160, and No. 17 Rashon Lusane at 195. Other placers earned fourth, seventh, and eight.

The other weight class champion at National Preps was Jack Mueller (Trinity Christian Academy, Texas), who earned the title at 126 pounds.

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dicemen99 (1) about 2 and a half years ago
Shane Brackup of Blair is a 138, not 285