Ryan pins down memorable season

Archbishop Ryan seniors Nick Metzger and Brett Tetlow spent their high school careers beating each other up. Now it’s paying off in a huge way.

Nick Metzger helped the Ryan wrestling team make the PCL championship match for the first time this year. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Nick Metzger and Brett Tetlow have spent the bulk of their high school career beating up on each other.

They’ve exchanged headlocks, takedowns and have twisted each other into many different maneuvers.

And they do it because they’re friends.

Metzger and Tetlow are both seniors on the Archbishop Ryan High School wrestling team, and because they’re upper weights, they often find themselves pairing up in practice. It might make for harder workouts, but it also leads to improvement.

“We work so hard in practice, we practice before school, then get a shower, go to school and when it’s over, we’re right back in practice,” said Metzger, who wrestles at 195 pounds. “I loved working out with Brett and we push each other. We all push each other, and it’s good when you have someone do that. You get better in practice.”

“We’ve been doing this, the better we are, the better the team is,” said Tetlow, who wrestles at 220 pounds. “He’s fast, so it makes me faster. We definitely go hard in practice to make ourselves better and make each other better.”

Metzger and Tetlow made each other better, and in the process made the entire team better. And because of that, the Raiders experienced a season few thought they would have.

They even surprised themselves.

Ryan, now in its fifth season as a wrestling program, advanced to the Catholic League championship for the first time in school history. The Raiders fought hard, but came up short, falling to Archbishop Wood 36–31 on Jan. 30.

The Raiders then recovered to defeat Central 46–26 in a District 12 consolation final, then went on to defeat Northeast, the Public League champion, 41–34 in a second-place match. In the city championship, Northeast fell to Wood 46–27.

Ryan fell to Downington West on Monday 51–15 in a pigtail, ending the team portion of their senior. Still, it was one to remember.

“Did I expect getting (to the championship?) No, I didn’t,” said Tetlow, who is 27–4 on the season. “I don’t think any of us did. I think our goal was to keep getting better. I think after we wrestled La Salle, it was really early in the year, and we beat them, we kind of knew then. But I still don’t think we expected to make the championship.”

“We wanted this, but I don’t think we realized we could get here this year,” Metzger said. “It’s hard to lose in the championship, but I’m really proud of what we did. I think we got better and tougher, and we went further than any of us expected.”

Their coach, John Swift, feels the same way. Swift, who wrestled at North Catholic, has been around the Catholic League, and he knows what it takes to build a winner. He had confidence his team would get there some day, but they arrived even faster than he could have expected.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of these kids, and tonight was the best they ever wrestled,” Swift said after the Raiders fell to Wood. “Tonight was the best we wrestled, and nobody likes to lose, but I couldn’t be happier for them. They came out and gave it everything they had. It says a lot about them.

“I’m not sure anyone believed we could be here, but the kids bought in and worked for this. They deserve everything they get.”

When the team tournaments end, both Tetlow and Metzger hope to make some noise as individuals. But both know even if they advance to the state tournament in Hershey, their wrestling careers are winding down.

“I’m going to miss it a lot, I was more of a lacrosse player, but now I think of myself as a wrestler first,” said Metzger, who has a 21–10 record on the year. “I’m glad we still have a lot of wrestling to do, but next year I’m going to play lacrosse, so this is it for me. I want to keep going as far as I can.”

That’s the same attitude Tetlow is taking into the postseason.

“It’s a lot of work, but I love it,” said Tetlow, who also starred on the offensive and defensive lines for the Raiders football team. “I’m proud of every one of these guys, I’m glad we made it this year. I’ll be around next year, and they’re going to keep getting better. I’m glad I was here when we got it started.” ••