SOL Preseason Wrestling Notebook (12-2-22)

2022-23 Wrestling Season Kicks-Off This Weekend
by Glenn Kaiser

Is it Christmas already?  It will be here before you know it, 23 days from the start of the 2022-23 PIAA Wrestling season, Santa will be coming to town.  But for now, it’s time to strap on your headgear and get ready for some grappling.  This season the SOL is set to shine, and the cast is large as the two of PA’s best in AAA are right in town here in the SOL.

Quakertown and Council Rock South look to re-engage in their non-league SOL rivalry, which has been nothing short of spectacular over the past several years.  In fact, it’s become a District One and Southeast Regional rivalry for supremecy!  The Quakertown Panthers open the season as the #5 ranked team by PA Power, and the CRS Golden Hawks are ranked #8 in the early preseason rankings.

Quakertown will push their start to the season back a couple weeks, which has become the norm for Coach Kurt Handel’s squad, as the football/wrestlers make the transition to the mats from the gridiron.  And guess who they open up with…the Golden Hawks on 12/14/22 (the Panthers play host to the tussle this year).  Meanwhile, CR South will test their mettle early at the Cumberland Valley Kickoff Classic this weekend.  Pennridge will join them in this premier, early season tourney.  Speaking of Pennridge, they look to be in the spotlight as well this year on the big stage, as they return the majority of a very talented young team. 

The SOL with top-level dual/tournament teams like these three means there is plenty of individual talent.  The list is long, and will be presented over the next couple of weeks as wrestlers fall into line with their early season weight class designations.  The strength and depth of the SOL wrestling teams does not end with these top three.  Pennsbury returns a rugged squad of experienced grapplers that are scripted to make noise locally and beyond.  The Falcons will be under new leadership, as Phil Kealy returns to the helm at Pennsbury to take over a solid team that Wayne Stinson developed.  Stinson moved up to the collegiate ranks as an assistant at Del Val (Division III).

In addition to some highly ranked experienced wrestlers in the SOL, the SOL has one of the best freshman classes in a long time.  Many teams will be relying on young talent, with vast and decorated junior experience at both the club level, state level and national level.  These guys will become marquee names before you know it as they make their way to the big stage, with dreams of performing on the greatest stage of scholastic wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA, come March 2023.  Chris Dennis (CBW), Pierce Kane (CR North), Quinn McBride (Pennridge) and Pat Woloshyn (CRS) are all decorated wrestlers acknowledged by PA Power’s best incoming freshmen. 

Returning stars that get top billing are Eren Sement (CRN-3rd in 2022), Colin Gaj (Q-town-4th) and Luke Reitter (CRS-8th).  Also in bright lights are Mason Ziegler (Q-town), Zack Borzio (Q-town), Bek Sadriddinov (CRS-Fargo Champ), Ajay Bhatt (CRS), Colby Martinelli (Pennridge), Cole Coffin (Pennridge), Sam Kuhns (Pennridge), Matthew McCaughey (Abington) and Michael Cliver (North Penn). 

Keep an eye on resurgent programs like Central Bucks West and Central Bucks South.  Dylan Schwartz, a CR South alum, takes over for long-time coach Steve Romesburg for the Bucks and CB South lead man Chris Meister has his system in place for the Titans.  The SOL Colonial division is going to be great theater this season, with a lot of drama when league action gets underway.

Teams on stage this weekend:
CV Kickoff Classic-CRS & Pennridge
Solanco Mule Classic-Pennsbury
Pottstown Invitational-Abington, Bensalem, Bristol, CB South, CB West & Hatboro-Horsham
Battle of Germantown @ Germantown Academy-Lower Moreland
Battle of Bethlehem-North Penn & Neshaminy