MERCERSBURG -- Germantown Academy's wrestling team took a trip to Mercersburg Academy for the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 18. The Patriots finished in eighth place with 72 points and had four wrestlers -- Jhais Williams '25, Jack Baron '26, Robert Leeds '25, and Jacob Sasson '23 -- reach the podium. In addition to getting some hardware from PAISWT, the positive results qualified the four wrestlers for National Preps in Maryland on Feb. 24.
Williams received a bye in Round 1 before going down to Tyler Conroy (Malvern Prep) by fall. After a bye in the 2nd Wrestleback, the sophomore took the 3rd Wrestleback over Sam Calandra-Jayne of Abington Friends School by fall. He advanced to the Third Place Match following a medical forfeit by Haverford School's Zach Moua, but lost by fall to Jack Signor of Episcopal Academy to take fourth.
Despite the result, Head Coach John Staudenmayer said that Williams' battles helped spark the team.
"Jhais really outperformed what he was supposed to do," Staudenmayer said. "He's been working super hard this year and has made so many strides, so to see him succeed was awesome for all of us. It felt great as a team."
Baron, who Staudenmayer said, "has been consistent as consistent can be," also received a bye in the first round before winning his Quarterfinal match over Sean Flaherty (Mercersburg Academy) by fall. He lost to Wyatt Fry of Wyoming Seminary by decision in the Semifinals, but won the 4th Wrestleback over Theo Molot (Germantown Friends) by fall to advance to the Third Place Match. In the final bout, Baron won by fall over Carter Mangan of William Penn Charter.
Leeds won his first-round match against Amon Yamamoto of Mercersburg Academy by fall, but lost by major decision to Sulayman Bah of Kiski School in the Quarterfinals. The sophomore won by fall in back-to-back Wrestlebacks, but lost to Calvin Werden of Western Reserve Academy by decision, 4-0. Leeds responded by winning the Fifth Place Match by fall over Munir German of William Penn Charter.
Sasson took his first match over Leo Pritchett of William Penn Charter, but lost to T.J. Langley of Western Reserve Academy in the Quarterfinals by major decision, 10-0. He responded by winning by fall in three straight matches to advance to the Third Place Match, where he lost to Langley by decision, 6-2, to finish fourth.
The four National Prep qualifiers are double what the Patriots sent a year ago, and while Staudenmayer is happy, he is not satisfied until the whole team is making the trip.
"It's a great step in the right direction, but between [Assistant Coach Justin Staudenmayer] and I, we thought we'd have more," Staudenmayer said. "I know it's greedy, but we saw a few guys who could've been in there. It's awesome that we have a couple of guys going so they can still feel like a team, but it's all business."
With the meet less than a week away, preparations have already begun. Staudenmayer said that the Patriots have wrestled a few Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association teams to get ready and will spend more time on individual work.
"We'll be drilling a lot," Staudenmayer said. "We'll still go to other places and have multiple avenues because PIAA teams are getting into their postseason as well. It gives us an opportunity."