Wrestling notes: Family affair at Coatesville

Posted: February 22, 2014

Upon entering fatherhood, Bear Stephens pledged to himself that he would never introduce his children to wrestling.

Stephens had wrestled for Coatesville from 1990 until 1994, and said he did not want to put his kids through the hardship he had endured as a high school wrestler.

"A lot of people don't realize what this sport really is," Stephens said. "You're one-on-one when you're out on the mat. You have to watch what you eat and work out all the time. I didn't want to put my kids through that."

Still, wrestling ran through the bloodlines of his kids, even in childhood.

"My oldest son [Noah], he came home one day in elementary school and he said, 'Look, Dad, they have a booster club for wrestling,' and I thought, 'Oh my God, please no,' " Stephens said.

"But he did it. And then my youngest son [Chase] started when he was 3, and he was so natural at it."

Noah Stephens wrestled through Coatesville's youth programs, working his way to a spot on the high school varsity in his freshman year in 2010-11.

Chase Stephens followed suit, excelling in the youth program as well as various travel and private clubs before joining the high school varsity as a freshman this year.

As his sons rose through the youth ranks, Bear Stephens involved himself in coaching, eventually joining Coatesville's staff as an assistant in 2007.

Now in his third year of playing the dual role of father and coach, Stephens has watched his two sons help anchor the team to a 28-5 season (2-2 Ches-Mont League) that has culminated in 10 Coatesville representatives in the District 1 Class AAA Central tournament this weekend. Both the record and the district qualifiers were program bests.

Noah Stephens took third at 145 pounds in the Ches-Mont League tournament last Saturday and is 26-4 this season, pushing his career win total to 111. The senior is hoping to join the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall.

"I had 89 wins in high school, and he's at 105 right now," Bear Stephens said. "He destroyed my record, and he has been such a leader on this team. I'm going to miss him when he's done."

Chase Stephens has established himself as one of the better freshmen in the league this season, with a 28-6 record at 126 and a runner-up finish in the Ches-Mont tournament. There, he pinned West Chester Henderson's Joey Henderson in 4 minutes, 24 seconds in the 126-pound semifinals.

"I lost to him by two at a home meet earlier in the season, and me pinning him was very big," Chase Stephens said. "Coming in as a freshman with my dad and my brother having already been there, I knew what the deal was and how I was going to have to wrestle and work to get myself a good record for freshman year. I adjusted pretty quickly."

Districts on Saturday. The District 1 Class AAA tournaments will take place Saturday at Hatboro-Horsham (East), Oxford (Central), and Spring-Ford (West).

The East tournament will feature Suburban One National winner Council Rock South and Indians freshmen Zack Trampe (120) and Riley Palmer (106), who took league titles last week.

Senior Adam Pleines (37-0) will be looking to repeat as district champion at 195 pounds for Downingtown East in the Central tournament, and Pioneer Athletic Conference powers Boyertown and Spring-Ford will highlight the West.

The District 1/12 Class AA tournament will be Saturday at Springfield (Montco). The District 12 AAA tournament is scheduled for Saturday at La Salle.


aparent@philly.com

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