After Conwell-Egan Catholic won its second straight Philadelphia Catholic League championship last February, then-junior Steven Harris was asked about the prospects of producing a three-peat.
“There is a pressure for a three-peat,” Harris admitted, “but I think if we keep wrestling like we have been, we should be able to get it done.”
One year later, Harris’ words proved prophetic.
On the strength of five decisions, one major decision, and three pins, the Eagles did indeed capture their third consecutive PCL title with a 37-19 victory Jan. 30 over host La Salle.
“It was especially fun this year, as I think a lot of people probably had us as the underdogs,” said Conwell-Egan coach Chuckie Connors. “(La Salle coach) Ben Courtney has really built a strong team, and they have had a really great season.”
While extending their PCL winning streak to 23 over a four-year period, the Eagles eliminated any suspense by winning the first nine bouts.
Freshman Thomas Boyce (major decision at 107), senior Kevin Bagnell (pin at 114), junior Jeff Spofford (decision at 121), sophomore Lukas Grodzki (pin at 127), and freshman Colin Walther (decision at 133) gave Conwell-Egan a commanding 22-0 lead. After wins by senior Charlie Robson (pin at 139), the aforementioned Steven Harris (decision at 145), junior Brian Shimp (decision at 152), and senior Jordan Bentley (decision at 160), the Eagles’ advantage had swelled to a stunning 37-0.
“Brian Shimp clinched the meet at 152, which was great so we could kinda take a deep breath and relax after that,” said Connors. “Jordan Bentley got a nice win that was probably a bit of an upset versus a very tough opponent. We know Jordan can compete, but it’s only his second year wrestling. There were so many good matches.”
Conwell-Egan’s three-peat comes with a bit of an asterisk. In the winter of 2020-21, the Eagles romped past all PCL competition en-route to the postseason. The COVID pandemic, however, prevented the PCL from organizing playoffs, and in so doing, denied the Eagles a certain crown.
So for those who opine that Conwell-Egan has won FOUR straight championships, their claim has major merit.
But we digress.
“I’m really proud of our senior class, and we want to enjoy this one,” said Connors. “We have nine seniors and eight of them are starters. Next year is gonna be really tough. The entire PCL in general is getting tougher every year. We will do our best to compete.”
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