Instead, he had to settle for two third-place wins by sophomores Matt and Nick Yocco and third place in the team standings.

By: Nils Groten

Brandywine Heights wrestling coach Sam Lovello would have liked at least one of his wrestlers going for Class AA Southeast Regional gold medals.

Instead, he had to settle for two third-place wins by sophomores Matt and Nick Yocco and third place in the team standings.

And Brandywine had four other wrestlers qualify for this weekend's PIAA Wrestling Championships at Hershey from March 9-11.

Seniors Matt Toggas (152, fourth place), Greg Lapp (171, fifth) and Kyle Moser (215, fifth), and sophomore Brad Stoudt (189, fifth) punched their tickets to states.

Of these four, Moser had the most thrilling bout, using a bear hug to win a fall in overtime to get the job done.

Only Blaed Gerhart (160) failed to come through in the clutch and win his fifth-place bout. But the talented junior has another year to fine-tune his skills and make another run at states.

But the Yoccos showed why they're primed for probable deep runs at states by winning third-place matches on Saturday night.

Matt, ranked first in the state at 103 by Off the Mat, was upset by Pottstown's Seth Ecker, 14-11, in the quarterfinals but rebounded with a 57-second fall in his next bout.

"Ecker was tall, lanky and very flexible, which caused me some problems," Matt said. "I was ahead most of the time, but he pulled ahead with about 20 seconds left in the third period by reversing me, letting me go and tilting me."

All of which didn't sit well with Matt.

"I looked at it like it was the worst match I'd wrestled all year, and I got it out of the way," said Matt, who was even more angry and focused for his next bout, which ended in a quick pin, which is more his style.

In the 103-pound final, Matt, who broke his own school record for pins this season with 34 and counting, dominated again with an 11-0 win.

At 112, Nick, not to be outdone by his twin brother, wrestled back from an early 9-4 loss to Pius X's Tony Comunale to capture third with a 7-3 win over Northern Lehigh's Justin Achenbach.

"Comunale took good shots, which were hard to defend," Nick said.

In consolations, Nick earned a hard-fought 5-4 decision over Northwestern Lehigh's Victor Konno.

"I was losing the Konno match with 39 seconds left when I threw him for a 5-point move," Nick said.

His third place victory put Nick in a better matchup situation at States.

"I'm not making as many mistakes, and I'm listening more to my coaches," Nick said. "I'm more willing to learn and do new things."

(Nils Groten is a freelance writer.)

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