Quaker Valley plans encore after breakthrough season

Sunday, December 11, 2022 | 11:01 AM

It most definitely was a season to remember.

Quaker Valley wrapped up the best wrestling season in school history March 12 with four individual medalists at the PIAA Class 2A championships at Giant Center in Hershey.

“We qualified five kids to compete in arguably the toughest wrestling tournament in the country,” QV coach Mike Heinl said afterward. “We won four state medals. I believe we had more medalists than any other team from the Southwest region. I was very happy with our performance. It is fair to say that this was our most productive season yet.”

QV’s state medalists were then-seniors Patrick Cutchember (189) and Justin Richey (152), junior Logan Richey (120) and sophomore Jack Kazalas (113).

Cutchember finished first in the district and region, racking up a 44-6 record, and was 141-31 in his career. He owns the team record for career pins (87) and also holds the records for pins in a season (26) and career victories.

Cutchember won two section titles, two district titles, finished as a district runner-up twice and was a section runner-up once in his career.

“Patrick has to be proud of his career,” Heinl said. “He set a lot of records in our brief (team) history.”

A Clarion wrestling recruit, Cutchember was a four-year letterman in wrestling, football and lacrosse.

Justin Richey had a 38-11 record last season after going 29-15, 20-6 and 20-9 the three previous years. For his career, the Gettysburg recruit ended up 107-41 with 55 falls. He also won one district title and two section crowns and had one runner-up finish in the section and at districts.

“Justin had an incredible season,” Heinl said. “He achieved 100 wins, was a WPIAL champion and state qualifier and was a state medalist. He also pinned the Burrell wrestler to allow us to win our first WPIAL team title.”

Logan Richey, a senior in 2022-23, ended up 38-14 last year. He owns a 78-35 career mark with one section title.

“Logan is mentally and physically one of our strongest wrestlers,” Heinl said. “He put in the work during the offseason and it paid off.”

Kazalas enjoyed a banner sophomore season, posting a 40-8 record with 20 pins. He was 28-8 as a freshman and brings a 68-16 career record into 2022-23. Now a junior, Kazalas owns one section title, one runner-up showing in the district and twice has placed third regionally.

Kazalas qualified for the PIAA tournament last season for the second year in a row after placing fourth in the WPIAL at 113. He ended up eighth in the PIAA tournament.

“I know Jack wanted to finish higher on the podium,” Heinl said, “but he has two more years to become a state champion.”

Kazalas is the younger brother of John Rocco Kazalas, who from 2016-19 competed at QV and earned two section titles, three third-place regional finishes and twice was a PIAA medalist. He won the first WPIAL title in program history as a senior.

Quaker Valley also was represented by then-senior Mason Diemert at 172 at last year’s state tournament. Will Campbell (160) also won 12 times in 2021-22 and currently is attending West Point.

QV captured the WPIAL Class 2A team championship a year ago, won the section title and finished 17-5 overall.

Along with Logan Richey and Kazalas, several other top grapplers are back this season, including seniors Brandon Krul (35-11, 19 falls) at 126 and Michael Carmody (21-13, 10 falls) at 132, juniors Isaac Maccaglia (26-11, 16 falls) at 106 and Nick Allan, who earned 12 wins at 138, and sophomore Jack Diemert (18-18, 11 falls) at 145.

“Michael Carmody is a stud,” Heinl said. “The kid outworks everyone. He doesn’t like to lose and will do anything you ask him to do.”

Also returning is another Richey brother, Marcus, a sophomore who posted a winning record last winter at 126.

With 13 returning starters, Heinl said the 2022-23 season “looks very promising” for his team.

QV’s returning starters are Maccaglia (113), sophomore Grant Castaldo (113), Kazalas (127), Krul (133), sophomore Wyatt Hamm (133), Carmody (139), Logan Richey (145), Allan (145) Marcus Richey (152), Diemert (160), juniors Aidan Fair (172) and Chase Kretzler (215) and sophomore Sebastian Juarez-Safran (285). Charles Coates is a junior reserve.

“Our expectations every season are to get better and improve on last year’s results,” Heinl said. “We want to win the section and WPIAL and compete at the state tournament as a team and individually.

“We’ve followed up last season by still working hard in the practice room and keeping a chip on our shoulders. We have a lot of guys looking to step up and contribute to this team.”

QV’s sixth-year coach said some of the wrestlers in the freshman class will add depth to the team this year.

“We have some incoming junior high wrestlers ready to make an immediate impact,” Heinl said. “The rest of our team committed to wrestling in the offseason, which will determine how successful we will be in the season.”

Freshman team members include Bruce Anderchak (106), Xander Vescio (120), Eoin Parnell (145), Logan Benedict (160) and Kris Brown (189).

“All the QV coaches are committed to working year-round with our wrestlers,” Heinl said. “The majority of the team wants to wrestle in the spring and summer. If you want to be successful in this sport, you have to put in the extra work. You can’t just sit around and talk about it.”

The Quakers let their performance on the mats do their talking.


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