Kyle Bove (Kennett), Nick Fischer (Unionville) and Colin Ely (Unionville) each won sectional championships last weekend. They, along with six others, now head to districts this weekend a step closer to states.One down, two to go.

Nine local high school wrestlers now find themselves a step closer to Hershey, where the state tournament will be held March 6 to 8 at the Giant Center.

The post-season opened last Saturday, with wrestlers from both Kennett and Unionville competing in the District 1 Section 4 Tournament at Great Valley High School.

Needing a top-four finish in their respective weight classes, six Unionville wrestlers and three from Kennett, were able to survive one of the toughest sections in the district. They'll now all advance to this weekend's District 1 Central Tournament (combination of Sections 4 and 6) on Saturday, February 23 at Spring-Ford High School.

The top-four at districts this weekend will move on to step No. 3 - the Southeast Regional Tournament (combination of Sections 1 through 6) on Feb. 29 and March 1 at Council Rock South High School - where they will need another top-four finish to reach states in Hershey.

No local wrestler from Kennett or Unionville has reached the state tournament in five years. Unionville's last state qualifier was Dave Suh (2003), and Kennett's was Tyler Jones (2002).

At last weekend's District 1 Section 4 Tournament, the post-season opener, three local wrestlers earned sectional titles:Kennett's Kyle Bove (125), Unionville's Nick Fischer (140) and Unionville's Colin Ely (189).

Bove, a junior, is now 29-4 overall this season, after taking first place at 125 pounds. He opened with two straight pins and then earned a hard-fought 5-4 decision over Unionville sophomore Joe Bonaduce in the championship finals. Bove will enter districts on Saturday just three victories shy of 100 career wins, which is a milestone that only Tyler Jones (114, 2002 graduate) has previously accomplished in school history.

"Kyle hasn't quite hit his stride yet," said Kennett head coach Tyrone Johnson. "He suffered an ear injury earlier in the season, and because of that he rarely did any wrestling in our room the last month. We didn't want to risk any further injury with him. He's just now starting to regain his timing and getting back to the point where he normally is. By finishing first at sectionals, districts really set up well for him this weekend."

Unionville had two sectional champs.

Fischer dominated the 140-pound bracket at sectionals. The senior, who is now 33-1 overall this season, opened the tournament with two pins totaling 55 seconds, before winning by injury default over Connor McCormick of Owen J. Roberts in the finals. Fischer now has 114 career wins, and is closing in on Zach Leathers' all-time school record of 122.

Ely also continued his outstanding season with a sectional title at 189 pounds. The senior improved his overall record to 32-2 this winter by going 3-0 in the tournament. Ely opened with two pins, and then beat Owen J. Roberts'tough freshman, Scott Syrek, 8-6, in the finals.

"It's been at least nine years since we've had two sectional champions in one season," said Unionville head coach Chris Matz. "Nick and Colin both have goals set for this post-season, and they're not letting anything stand in their way right now. Colin wrestled out of his mind last weekend."

Three other local wrestlers finished in second place at sectionals last Saturday after losing in the championship finals: Bonaduce (125), Unionville freshman Mason Popham (130) and Kennett senior Josh Trykowski (160).

Bonaduce, a regional qualifier last season as a freshman, opened his second post-season in strong fashion. Now 25-10 overall, he picked up two pins before falling to Bove 5-4 in the finals. Earlier this season, Bonaduce had lost a 12-1 major decision to Bove.

Popham, a middle school state champion last year, continued his standout freshman season at section-als. Popham, who is 32-3 overall, had a pin and a major decision before falling 9-1 in the finals to top seeded Alex Pellicciotti of Boyertown.

Trykowski, of Kennett, had a very impressive sectional tournament as well. The Blue Demons senior improved to 31-7 overall with a pin and a 5-1 decision to make it to the championship finals. There, Trykowski was edged 6-5 by Matt Patterson of Spring-Ford.

"Josh did a super job," said Johnson. "He wrestled extremely well, but made a couple of mistakes in the finals, and Patterson ended up capitalizing on them to sneak out the win. Josh is really looking forward to the district tournament."

Also advancing to this weekend's District 1 Central Tournament at Spring-Ford was Unionville's Chris Carney (112), Kennett's Drew Curtis (135) and Unionville's Alex Robillard. Carney, 20-10 this season, placed third at sectionals. Curtis (21-14) and Robillard (24-12), mean-while, finished in fourth place.

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