Calvary's Cerebe a one-man band

Richie Cerebe of Calvary Christian stands at the podium after winning the gold medal at 152 pounds Saturday at the Southeast Region Class AA wrestling tournament.
Richie Cerebe of Calvary Christian stands at the podium after winning the gold medal at 152 pounds Saturday at the Southeast Region Class AA wrestling tournament.
Posted: March 07, 2014

Richie Cerebe's road to the state wrestling tournament was different, to say the least.

The senior is the lone wrestler at his school, Calvary Christian, and is coached by his father, Rich, among others at MPR Endurance, a mixed- martial-arts gym in Fairless Hills, Bucks County.

Cerebe will be representing Calvary Christian in Hershey this weekend, after winning the 152-pound final in the Southeast Region Class AA tournament Saturday at Wilson-West Lawn.

"He wanted to be [at Calvary Christian] with his friends since first grade, and that was the overriding factor" in staying there, Rich Cerebe said.

"It was definitely a gamble to stay at Calvary, but that was more important. It was his idea to go to Calvary and wrestle there, and it ended up working out."

Absent a coordinated team practice, Cerebe works out at MPR after school, before hitting the mats at night with several area wrestlers, including Neshaminy junior Raheem Rahamatulla, regional champion Francesco Fabozzi (Central Bucks East), and defending 145-pound state champion Joe Galasso (Father Judge).

Although Cerebe said he would like to step on the mat with a team behind him, the Messiah College recruit has certainly held his own without one.

After a stint with La Salle in his freshman year and then wrestling on a four-man co-op squad with Phil-Mont Christian as a Calvary grappler for the last two seasons, Cerebe has put together an impressive season in 2013-14, going 23-5.

The senior also notched his 100th career victory at the District 1 & 12 tournament Feb. 22.

"Winning regionals was a really big deal for me, especially knowing how tough the region is," Cerebe said. "It's definitely one of the toughest in the state. That was a big goal of mine, so I feel pretty confident right now."

Cerebe will take part in his second state tournament this weekend and will look to place for the first time.

The competition will start at 9 a.m. Thursday with the Class AA preliminaries.

Here's a look at a few wrestlers from around the area who have the best shot at donning a medal come Saturday night.

120 pounds

Scott Parker and Wade Cummings. The 120 final in Saturday's Class AAA Southeast Regional at Pottstown featured a one-point loss and a whole lot of grit.

Pennridge senior Scott Parker (41-1) gutted out a 1-0 decision over Downingtown East's Wade Cummings (43-1) in a championship bout that pitted two of the top District 1 wrestlers in the weight class.

Parker avenged a final-round defeat in last season's regional by defeating Cummings and will, no doubt, set his sights on a gold medal this weekend after leaving Hershey with a bronze last year.

Cummings, a sophomore, is entering his first state tournament after a breakout season, and he has a shot at wrestling deep into a 120 bracket stocked with underclassmen.

Cummings and Parker could face off in the final for a rematch of last weekend.

145 pounds

Joe Galasso and Francesco Fabozzi. Galasso's season has been abbreviated because of injury, but the Father Judge senior is healthy and out to win his second state Class AAA title after grabbing gold at 138 last year.

Galasso (23-0) has dominated his competition since resuming activity on Jan. 19, and he took down Bangor junior Charles Sell in the gold-medal dual in the Northeast Region tournament at Bethlehem Liberty.

East senior Fabozzi (37-1) has rebounded from a final-bout loss in the Suburban One Continental championships with gold medals in the district and regional tournaments, and is a worthy candidate to place at 145.

Galasso and Fabozzi could face each other in a semifinal Friday.

170 pounds

John Dambro. Hailing from the Central League, Garnet Valley's John Dambro (38-3) has proved he can grapple with the finest District 1 has to offer this postseason, as the senior has earned gold medals in the district and region tournaments.

Dambro took third in the region last year and qualified for Hershey for the first time.

Having already advanced to states this year, the senior earned an 8-0 decision against Downingtown West's Gabe Hale in the 170 final at the region tournament Saturday.

Dambro could face Norristown sophomore Rashon Lusane in the semifinals.

220 pounds

Mike Boykin and Jordan Wood. Pottstown's gym fell silent last weekend for the 220 final, a rematch of last season's Southeast Region championship bout and a match that one unbeaten standout would have to lose.

Coatesville senior Mike Boykin (36-0) finally had his moment, at the expense of Boyertown sophomore Jordan Wood (38-1), besting Wood in a rousing 5-1 decision for gold.

Wood knocked off Boykin in last year's regional final, so last week's decision added legitimacy to Boykin's medal chances this weekend.

Wood took silver at Hershey last season, and Boykin came away with bronze. The two could meet again in the final.


aparent@philly.com

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