Last Wednesday, two Philadelphia high school wrestling powerhouses met again in the finals of the Philadelphia Public League Duals. Central High School and Northeast High School went head to head in the league championship for the 6th year in a row. Northeast lead the series 3-2, but Central was looking to tie it up by winning back to back league championships. While relatively new rivals on the wrestling mat, Central and Northeast hold the oldest public school football rivalry dating back to 1892. When these teams compete, there is no love lost.
The dual started at heavyweight, and after a decision and a pin, Central jumped out to a 9-0 lead. After a forfeit at 113, Northeast rattled off 3 decisions in a row to retake the lead. 15-9. However, those would be Northeast’s last wins of the night. Central senior team captain Ousmane Diarra won a 14-2 major decision at 138 pounds to got the ball rolling. However, the turning point of the match came at 145 pounds where former BTS youth wrestler, Lucien Anderson, pinned Hassan Ali, avenging his 3 losses to him last season. Central ran with that momentum, and closed out the dual winning the following final 6 matches.
While Central could have been considered the favorite on paper, no one would have predicted the lopsided 49-15 score. The Lancers won the matches they were expected to win, and with some strategic lineup juggling, were able to steal some matches that Northeast looked to be favored in. Northeast has been a model of consistency making the Public League finals each of the past 9 seasons, and will look to rebound strong at the individual Public League Championships February 17th and 18th.
In addition to the high school wrestling action coming up, the Beat the Streets Youth League is having their year end tournament on February 19th at South Philadelphia High School. This is a great event where young BTS wrestlers have the opportunity to gage their improvement over the course of the season by competing head to head against other wrestlers in a tournament setting. This will be the first official tournament for many of the wrestlers participating in the novice division. The novice tournament begins at 9 while the advanced tournament starts at 12.
Many of our advanced wrestlers will be looking to qualify for the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Youth and Jr High State Championships. This is the premier youth wrestling tournament in the state, and Beat the Streets has had numerous qualifiers and placers in the past. Jr. High wrestlers will have to enter the Marple Newtown High School qualifying tournament on Sunday, February 5th. The top three placers at each weight class will advance to the State Tournament on Match 4th and 5th at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, PA. The youth qualifier will be at Malvern Prep on March 18th, and their State tournament will be on March 24th and 25th at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
The budding Philadelphia youth wrestling scene has already had a significant impact on District 12 high school wrestling, and will continue to do so in the future. These upcoming tournaments are a great chance to see future high schools in action.