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The 6-foot-6 rival of Washington Township leads a pin parade against Cherry Hill East

The 6-foot-6 rival of Washington Township leads a pin parade against Cherry Hill East

Jackson Hoopes, a sophomore at Washington Township High School, defended himself when asked when asked how many people thought him why he didnt play basketball because of his last name.

Hoopes, who is about 5-foot-7, believes he can keep playing basketball. I was always wrestling, but I didnt make many practices, he adds.

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Dominic Petracci, a 215-pound senior, is expected to be a basketball player because of his size. A state qualifier a year ago, Petracci was tall over his opposition at 6-foot-6.

On Friday night, Petracci netted one of Washington Township's 11 falls, and the Hoopes climbed to 4-3 as the Minutemen rolled over Cherry Hill East, 71-9. Washington Township improved to 4-3, while Cherry Hill East fell to 6-5.

Petracci said he hasn't been selected by Matt Kiser, a basketball coach.

Petracci claims that he knows the wrestling coach (Eric Ring), so that it was like to avoid coming near my guy.

Petracci was always a high school sophomore, but he has gradually gained height throughout his high school career.

He's now one of the best wrestlers in the state, especially at a class where he retains weight more than most people think.

When Im tying up, I can keep my opponent away from me and bring him back when I want to shoot. When they try to pick me up, I'm still on the ground. When they try to pick me up, I can get to legs easier.

Ive grown into my body, improved, and the weight going down to 215 (from 220) really helps me. I was a little lighter last year. I can still eat and have a lot of energy.

Petracci will compete in the Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock South (Pa.) as he is seeded sixth at 220 pounds.

My coach brought it up because I didnt get to wrestle a lot in the Beast of the East (because of an injury) and I was qualified (for Escape the Rock), said Petracci. He thought it would be a good idea to get some tournament wrestling so I can get prepared for states. The goal is to be a district champ, a region champ, and hopefully get a state medal and build off last year.

Joe Esposito, who will accompany Petracci to Escape the Rock, said the senior man is still learning how to use his height.

It's crazy (how tall he is), he keeps getting better, said Esposito. Thank God he did not go out for basketball, to be honest. Hes finally beginning to realize how tall he is and how long he is, and how big that leverage is in wrestling. You dont have to be the strongest guy, but that leverage is everything.

We want him to go compete (at Escape the Rock), and we want him to get some college looks. We know hes good enough to compete there, and its just going out and performing.

Petracci will finish his career on the state podium, and Hoopes is looking forward to his first postseason. He went 11-1 as a freshman but was left out of the postseason by the committee that selected the 24 wrestlers 16 who actually competed for the Super Region.

These were no districts last year and the districts 7 and 8 were combined because of the COVID shorter season. This year, there will be a full tournament starting with districts, so its just a matter of where Hoopes will be seeded, rather than if.

Hoopes said he was upset about (being left out), but he did not cut it. If we had districts, I would have done well and made regions, maybe not states, but thats certainly my goal this year.

As it turned out, the Hoopes' postseason might have been shortened anyway as he was forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy last April.

It might have happened to me during the match, I dont know how it would have panned out, said Hoopes. I was watching the tournament (on-line) in the hospital, but still wished I could be there. (Being left out) definitely motivated me.

If Township performs as it did Friday, it might bring a large group to Region 8 like Petracci, Hoopes and Ethan Wilson .

We have a nice little core for sure, said Esposito. We were the same thing Wednesday (against Cherry Hill West).

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