BETHLEHEM - The Northern Lebanon wrestling team took a step up in class this week when it competed in the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic.
The annual tournament is loaded with top-quality Class AAA teams, but it did not deter the Vikings from placing sixth in the 27-team event and crowning a champion, Luke Funck, at 182 pounds.
Northern Lebanon took 12 wrestlers to the tournament and nine placed in the top eight.
"This is the first time we've been to this tournament, but we think we have a team that we wanted to test the waters with," Vikes coach Rusty Wallace Jr. said. "There are some of the top AAA schools in the state there, and we finished only three points out of fourth place. The kids really battled and competed well and every kid won at least a match."
Nazareth captured the team title with 234.5 points, followed by Council Rock South, Central Dauphin, Phillipsburg, N.J. and Liberty.
Funck was the No. 1 seed at 182 and he justified it, rolling through the bracket with four pins, including a stick in 2:16 of the final over Devon Krammes of Blue Mountain.
Quinn Blatt was the next-highest placer, going 4-2 with two pins and two majors, to take fourth at 170. Trevor Leonard placed fifth at 132 with a 6-2 mark.
Also placing for the Vikings were three in sixth place (Zach Kelly at 138, Luis Negreiros at 160 and Matt Vines at 220) and three in eighth place (Dustin Breidegan at 113, Colin Leonard at 120 and Hunter Wallace at 195).
Rusty Wallace said, "This was good because is simulates what it's like in the postseason - if you lose you have to come right back and beat some good people to move on. It was a really good weekend and the kids can focus on the things they did not do well and work on them. We got some weaknesses exposed."
That learning process will continue this weekend when Northern Lebanon travels to compete in the Virginia Duals against some of the top teams in the east coast.
Bethlehem Holiday Classic
1.Nazareth 234.5, 2.Council Rock South 192, 3.Central Dauphin 184.5, 4.Phillipsburg, N.J. 138, 5.Liberty 136.5, 6.Northern Lebanon 134.5, 7.Stroudsburg 132.5, 8.Saucon Valley 100.5, 9.Blue Mountain 100, 10.Northampton 94.5.
Northern Lebanon Results
106 — Kyler Anspach, 2-2. 113 — Dustin Breitegan, 9th place, 3-3. 120 — Colin Leonard, 8th place, 2-3. 132 — Trevor Leonard, 5th place, 6-2. 138 — Zach Kelly, 6th place, 4-3. 145 — Stephen Herb, 1-2. 152 — Blaise Bressler, 1-2. 160 — Luis Negreiros, 6th place, 2-3. 170 — Quinn Blatt, 4th place, 4-2. 182 — Luck Funck, 1st place, 4-0. 195 — Hunter Wallace, 8th place, 2-3. 220 — Matt Vines,m 6th place, 3-3..