This past weekend, a record-high 40 Philadelphia Public League wrestlers took to Bethlehem Liberty High School for the 2020 PIAA NE Regional Tournament. We are so proud of the kids' hard work & dedication to the sport. To see that hard work result in another record-setting season is just a bonus!
Following an absolute bear of a tournament, we are proud to share that two extremely deserving student-athletes advanced to the PIAA State Tournament this coming weekend in Hershey, PA!
Before we continue, however, I'd like to acknowledge a few guys who had strong tournaments. Aboubakare Diaby (138), Reynaldo Garcia (138), Naseen Pennington (152), & Ahmir Ragsdale (160), & John Colbourne (195) all had strong showings, and although they came up short, each of these guys impressed us greatly!
Now…on to our 2020 PIAA State Qualifiers!!!
Angel Garcia (US #10 / PA #4) Mariana Bracetti Academy
What more can we say about Angel at this point? As he prepares to make his 3RD (Yes, 3RD) trip to the PIAA State Tournament, Angel has already solidified his position as the most accomplished wrestler in Philadelphia Public League history. The PPL's all-time leader in wins (124) is gearing up to take on one of the most talented weight classes in the nation. Don't believe me? Just ask FloWrestling! The PIAA AAA 170lb weight class features an astounding 5 top 12 wrestlers nationally & 6 DI commits. While the challenge of the weight class has forced some to drop down or bump up, Angel has embraced the challenge. Angel is looking forward to being tested & seeing just how high he can climb on the podium.
Off of the mat, those close to Angel are incredibly proud to see how the young, scrappy kid from Rizzo PAL has grown into the young man he is today. Angel prides himself on his loyalty to his family and his teammates, coaches regularly take notice of his leadership, and his relentless pursuit of excellence in all phases of his life is abundantly clear. Congratulations Angel, now take care of business!
Daishawn Tilghman (PA #14) Overbrook
A 4x regional qualifier, Daishawn Tilghman, is FINALLY a PIAA State Qualifier. Few wrestlers have shown the Grit that Daishawn Tilghman has throughout his wrestling career. I could write about his trials & tribulations this kid has faced for hours, but I'll try to keep it brief. In the last 12 months alone, Daishawn suffered a disappointing end to his season at regionals in 2019 (despite being favored to qualify for the state tournament). He lost at NHSCA's deep into wrestle backs. He had a blood round loss at Fargo in Greco-Roman. To top it all off, dropping a 1st round loss at regionals this past weekend (he was the #2 seed). After such a string of heartbreaking defeats, most wrestlers would have likely packed it in and called it a career, but not Daishawn. With tremendous support from his teammates and his coaches, Daishawn managed to rattle off three consecutive wins by fall, followed by a 1-0 decision to avenge his first-round loss in the consolation finals!
As proud as we all are to see Daishawn finally "get over the hump" he is far from finished. Having been ranked as high as #6 in PA this season, Daishawn is completely capable of climbing the podium in Hershey & now has the confidence to believe he can do just that.
Daishawn has always been an absolute joy to coach/mentor, and everyone lucky enough to know Daishawn would tell you that. Daishawn is consistent, smart, funny, & studious; he's the total package. I can say to you both personally & on behalf of BTSP that he will be missed as he graduates from Mastery Shoemaker this spring. While his plans are not officially set just yet, Daishawn has a number of exceptional options in front of him & he plans to continue wrestling in college. Great work so far Daishawn, now finish the mission!