At opposite ends of the wrestling spectrum, Oley Valley’s Chase Parisan and Gov. Mifflin’s Ethan Hoffman enjoyed success at lower levels.
The two wrestlers took the big stage Wednesday and sent a message that they could be forces at the high school level as well. About the only one who was surprised was Parisan himself.
“I didn’t think I’d be 7-0 right now,” said Parisan, a 106-pound freshman. “I thought it would be a lot harder. But my previous experience is definitely helping me a lot.”
Hoffman is a junior 285-pounder wrestling at the varsity level for the first time after taking a detour into basketball as a freshman and sitting out most of last season because of COVID.
Parisan and Hoffman are among 12 Berks County wrestlers who have advanced to the semifinals of the 47th annual Gov. Mifflin Holiday Wrestling Tournament that returned to the Gov. Mifflin Intermediate School after a one-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s actually a really cool experience being here,” Hoffman said. “I came here when I was younger and just watched high school wrestling. Now to be participating in that is cool.”
For tournament director Dave Johnson, it was a good experience just to welcome back the wrestlers and fans to the tournament. But he noted that the tournament is still dealing with challenges due to the omicron variant.
Five schools — Neshaminy, Sussex Central (N.J.), Phoenixville, Penn Charter and Upper Darby — withdrew from the tournament due to COVID, dropping the number of teams to 22. In addition, Johnson said there were other individual scratches. Gov. Mifflin coach Ralph Voit was one of the people unable to attend due to health and safety protocols.
“We’re still very fortunate,” Johnson said. “It’s working out. The kids are getting to wrestle.”
Boyertown is leading the way among the five participating Berks schools with five wrestlers in the semifinals, which start at 11 a.m. Thursday. The championship bout and matches for third place are scheduled for Thursday at 4:30.
In the semifinals for Boyertown are Brody Coleman at 106, Luke Heimbach at 113, Gavin Sheridan at 120, Beck Babb at 132 and Chance Babb at 152.
Boyertown is in fourth place in the team standings with 81.5 points. Cape Henlopen (Del.) leads with 119 points, followed by Malvern Prep with 109 and Elizabethtown with 100.5.
Brandywine Heights has three semifinalists in Jacob Greiss at 106, Jacob Deysher at 120 and Joshua Sterner at 132.
Parisan is joined by Oley Valley teammate Vinny Dick at 113. Joining Hoffman at 285 is Wyomissing’s Caleb Brewer.
Parisan continued his big freshman season by defeating Gov. Mifflin’s Jayleah Pletz 7-3 in this only bout on the opening day of the tournament for his eighth win without a loss. He earlier won the 106-pound title in the season-opening Sam Lovello Memorial Tournament at Brandywine.
Hoffman scored a pair of falls, one in 22 seconds, to reach the semifinals. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Penn Manor Tournament and improved to 10-4 this season.
Not bad for a youth wrestler who in ninth grade decided to give basketball a try.
“About halfway through the season I decided that I like wrestling,” said the 260-pound Hoffman, who also plays football. “So I went back to wrestling and did junior high my freshman year.”
Source: Berkshire mont